Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Academic Biomedical Career Customization (ABCC)

Changing workforce demographics and family structures have led many institutions to step away from a "one size fits all" model for career development and advancement. In academic medicine, the shrinking pool of physician scientists, the growing representation of women and minority scientists, the prevalence of dual-career families, the aging of the current workforce, and the shift in values of physician scientists from a younger generation underscores the importance of adapting organizations to the needs of a diverse workforce. Drs. Hannah Valantine and Christy Sandborg created and convened a faculty Task Force to identify how these trends manifest at the School of Medicine and explore potential solutions.

In contrast to a traditional "ladder" model of career development, a new lattice model is emerging across sectors to achieve career-life fit at different points in time - a successful example is Deloitte's Mass Career Customization model (Benko and Weisberg, 2007; Anderson and Benko, 2010). The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity is adapting this method to faculty career development under the umbrella of Academic Biomedical Career Customization (ABCC).

ABCC encompasses a set of initiatives to enhance, complement, and increase the use of current flexibility policies, and demonstrate that career flexibility is an integral part of faculty career advancement. The elements of ABCC include curated career tracks where faculty plan their desired work distribution and progression in collaboration with their chairs, division chiefs, and teams, as well as enhanced human capital support to create more time for faculty to focus on what they are uniquely qualified to do and increase personal time. A series of practical home solutions such as housework benefits and meals delivery will also be implemented. 

OFDD is starting a proof-of-concept pilot with a number of teams across the school in clinical and basic science departments. The main goals of this first round of pilot are proof of concept, adaption of the model to the specific needs of each division, and assessment of short-term benefits such as career satisfaction and perceived productivity. A second round of pilots will follow to assess longer-term impact such as academic advancement and research and clinical productivity.

We are grateful for support from the School of Medicine, the Stanford University Office of the Provost, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in partnership with the American Council on Education.

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