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Peers for Promotion

Promotion in rank is a marker of academic success that reflects a faculty member’s accomplishments, scholarship, and reputation. But many faculty who are eligible for promotion do not have the knowledge or time to compile the materials necessary to seek academic advancement. The goal of the Peers for Promotion program is to prepare faculty to submit materials for promotion to  Associate Professor. 

The Peers for Promotion program is intended for UMass Chan Medical School faculty members who:

  • have been at the rank of Assistant Professor for 5-10 years in the non-tenure track
  • are seeking academic advancement
  • have the potential to meet criteria for promotion to Associate Professor within 1-2 years
  • have support to participate from their Chair or Division Chief

The program will consist of six monthly 90 minute sessions with between-session assignments. Participants are expected to attend the sessions and complete all assignments.
Download the AY2020 program schedule as an example of the curriculum.

Objectives: by the end of this program, participants will

  • have a plan for promotion with a defined timeline that includes steps to address any gaps in their academic record
  • have created and received feedback on the materials for promotion (CV, narrative statement, teaching evaluations, list of evaluators)


The Peers for Promotion program was originally designed, implemented and evaluated by Dr. Judith Ockene and Dr. Joanna Cain. The OFA sponsored four annual Peers for Promotion programs between 2013–17 with a total of 61 participants. A comprehensive evaluation was conducted for the first two years of the program (2013–15; 32 participants) using a Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model. The evaluation demonstrated the success of the program at all four levels of assessment:

  • Level 1 (Reaction). Participants were highly satisfied with the program as shown by surveys and session evaluations.
  • Level 2 (Learning). Participants reported significantly increased confidence in their skills and knowledge related to all aspects of the promotion process compared to their level of confidence before the start of the program.
  • Level 3 (Behavior). Skills and knowledge were translated into behavior/practice: as of March 2017, 22 of the 29 participants who remained at UMass Chan Medical School submitted their materials for promotion and 21/29 (72%) were approved for promotion to Associate Professor.
  • Level 4 (Results). The program has had a profound impact on academic advancement at UMass Chan Medical School. The rate of promotion to Associate Professor of program participants (72%, 21/29) is more than twice that of equivalent non-participants (32%, 61/188), a statistically significant difference. Promoted participants accounted for 29% (21/73) of all promotions of non-tenure track faculty members to Associate Professor since 2014, including 33% (12/36) of all women faculty members promoted.


Peers for Promotion: Achieving Academic Advancement through Facilitated Peer Mentoring.  Ockene JK, Milner RJ, Thorndyke LE, Congdon J, Cain JM. Journal of Faculty Development 31: 5-14 (2017).