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GFA Leadership Guide for Faculty Affairs Professionals

The “GFA Leadership Guide for Faculty Affairs Professionals” is a collection of articles covering topics central to faculty affairs professionals. It provides practical information to enhance professional development and advance work at home institutions.

Co-editors: Jane Gibson, PhD; Emily Freeman, MHSA; Betsy Ripley, MD, MS, RAC; Jacqueline Hill, PhD, MPH, CHES; Chantal Brazeau, MD; Michael Rowland, PhD; Bob Best, PhD; Jeffrey Love, MD, MHPE; Christina Runge, PhD.

Overview: Faculty Affairs Functions

Faculty affairs is a foundational function in any academic institution and encompasses a broad array of activities. There is no single model for how institutional faculty affairs offices and functions should be arranged. As a result, each office can be structured quite differently.

This collection of essays by seasoned faculty affairs professionals provides insights into common faculty affairs functions, including faculty and leadership recruitment, human resources basics, principles of academic life (academic appointments, promotion, tenure), managing troubling faculty behavior, compensation models, faculty workplace policies and processes, and unique faculty population considerations. If your office is not directly responsible for these activities, determine which offices and individuals are performing these functions and reach out to them; they will become key resources and partners for you as a faculty affairs professional. You will also want to network with similar offices and leaders in other schools at your institution, as well as the provost’s office.

Many resources are available for faculty affairs and development professionals, and you can find some of the most widely used on the AAMC Group on Faculty Affairs webpage. Many institutions also share their faculty affairs policies, processes, and instructions on their websites. Because of the diverse structure of faculty affairs functions within institutions, a good approach may be to identify institutions structured similarly to your institution and review their faculty affairs webpages. Additionally, many faculty affairs offices may be open to sharing their experiences if you contact them directly.

Understanding the Role of the Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development Professional

Offices of faculty affairs provide collaborative support and oversee several essential functions within medical schools. Learn more about these roles and how they function with other departments in an organization. 

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Developing Positive Relationships With Key Stakeholders

Success as a faculty affairs professional hinges on the quality of the relationships. The principles and practical tips in this article outline an evidence-based approach to develop positive relationships with the diverse groups of stakeholders. 

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Faculty Data, Assessment, Benchmarking, and AAMC Tools and Resources

Fostering excellence in faculty affairs requires an understanding of the underlying data related to faculty recruitment and retention, promotion and tenure, and other key areas.

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Mentoring programs have been linked to recruitment, engagement, beliefs in the institution’s commitment to its faculty, professional wellness, retention, and career success. Improving the availability and quality of mentoring experiences for faculty is an important role for faculty affairs and development officers. This article focuses on the nature and structure of mentorship programs and their development.

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Initiating and Managing Organizational Change

Although academia is typically associated with stability and tradition, the reality in most academic medical centers is closer to continuous change with fits of rapid change. This article provides an overview of the eight steps of change management and common points of resistance. It also reviews the four most common challenges and sticking points. 

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Faculty Exit Interview

Faculty attrition continues to be a significant problem for many medical schools. Exit interviews of departing faculty are one mechanism to determine why faculty leave your institution. Learn more about how and why this data can be important.  

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Advocating for and Managing Resources — Money, Time, and Team

In offices of faculty affairs and faculty development, money, time, and people are the building blocks for getting work accomplished. The ability to advocate for and manage these resources will enable your office to meet responsibilities and opportunities facing academic medical centers. Learn more about how to advocate for the resources your organization needs to be successful.  

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General Career Development: Maximizing the Success of Your Faculty

As an office providing faculty services, define whom you are expected to serve and where the greatest needs lie. Learn what questions to ask and more.

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Managing Career Transitions and Succession

There are many career transitions in the life of an academician, including being appointed as a first-time faculty member; earning academic rank promotions; serving as principal investigator on a grant; holding various leadership appointments; and, ultimately, transitioning out of full-time employment. This section summarizes various career transitions in academic medicine and points to resources and references for more in-depth exploration.

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Faculty and Leadership Recruitment

Faculty and leadership recruitment is one of the most important processes in a medical school. Recruiting diverse faculty members and leaders who stay in the organization is critical to creating the intellectual and inclusive environment necessary to fulfill research, teaching, and clinical missions.  

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Human Resources Basics

Faculty affairs deans are tasked with a variety of responsibilities, often including human resources. Learn more about how to approach issues and where to find assistance.  

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Principles of Academic Life: Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure

Faculty affairs deans serve as the on-campus experts for helping faculty successfully navigate academic life at their institution. Many schools now offer a variety of professorial tracks that better reflect the day-to-day duties and promotion expectations of clinical and teaching faculty. Learn more about how to become a valuable resource to faculty, chairs, and the dean.   

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Managing Troubling Faculty Behavior

Faculty affairs offices need to work with other administrative leaders at their institutions to develop policies that define standards of professional behavior and procedures to follow when someone fails to comply with the code of conduct. Learn more about developing these policies. 

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Compensation Models

Faculty affairs offices may assist with salary determinations as part of an offer for employment, changes in salary for merit and productivity, and bonuses.

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Faculty Work Policies and Processes

Faculty should have clear expectations and goals at the beginning of an academic year as detailed in the work assignment.

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Unique Populations

It is important to recognize that unique populations among faculty will vary in different institutions.

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Faculty Vitality and Well-Being: Overview and Significance

This section on faculty well-being reviews effective communication about this topic; pertinent benefits and policies to support faculty; key concepts in developing faculty well-being programs; and resources about faculty well-being for faculty affairs, faculty development, and human resources professionals.

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Communication About Faculty Vitality and Well-Being

Faculty vitality and well-being is an important and prominent issue being widely discussed within academic medicine.

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Wellness Benefits and Programs

This summary reviews the shifting landscape in the workforce related to work/life and the impact it has on benefits, programs, and policies that promote faculty well-being and vitality.

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Conceptualizing Programs to Support Faculty Well-Being

Effective faculty programs on well-being should address the many dimensions of professional fulfillment. Using a conceptual model of professional fulfillment or well-being can help plan a balanced menu of activities and guide a comprehensive approach to faculty well-being programs.

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Well-Being and Resilience Resources

Concerns regarding burnout in health care have received attention from many different and diverse stakeholders: individual health care providers, various health care associations, specialty associations, the AAMC, and numerous others.

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Starting on the Right Foot: Faculty Onboarding With a Purpose

This brief overview will explore how to build institutional culture through onboarding and how to set up your faculty for success by helping them create a sense of identity in their new position.

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Conflict Management

One of the most challenging aspects of the role of the faculty affairs professional is the need to address interpersonal conflict.

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