Professional Matters

Medical faculty members at different professorial levels

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 22 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1530

How can we recognise certain distinguishing features of professors at different levels?


In academic medicine, the process of professorial promotion has previously proceeded in a predictable pattern. Senior faculty members have now become alarmed by the thought that a competency based approach might be applied to the world of academic medicine.1 2

The competencies and “meta-competencies” of senior faculty are complex and reflect such higher order thought processes that they cannot be meaningfully assessed by the demeaning use of superficial checklists. Given that a reductionist system of assessment may nevertheless be attempted, it might be useful to depict the general characteristics and competencies of medical faculty at different professorial ranks. While this snapshot relies on generalities and stereotypes, it at least allows an observer who is unfamiliar with the system to recognise certain distinguishing features of faculty at different levels.

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  • Competing interests None declared.


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