Counseling for Career Advancement

For the Professoriate + the Clinician Educator


Faculty Mentoring

We highlight practices, evidence, suggestions, and programs that facilitate effective mentoring experiences, in order to support and advance faculty success at the Stanford School of Medicine. 

Annual Counseling

Annual Counseling is required for all members of the Professoriate and for all Clinical Assistant Professors and Clinical Associate Professors with an FTE of 50% or more. Your chair, division chief or designate should schedule a meeting with you annually. If they do not, it is your responsibility to request the meeting.

At this meeting the chair or chief should:

  • Be familiar with your history at the school
  • Describe the reappointment/promotion process
  • State the criteria for the next upcoming action (from the School of Medicine Faculty Handbook)
  • Complete and sign an annual counseling documentation form explaining what was discussed

Topics your chair or chief should discuss with you:

  • Criteria and timeline for reappointment or promotion
  • Scholarship, teaching and clinical activities appropriate to your role
  • Administrative and/or scholarly activities (if applicable)
  • Percent time of appointment and proportionality of effort as applicable to your role
  • Academic/professional support (e.g., availability of mentors, opportunities for learning, resource availability)
  • Achievement of career goals
  • Professional development
  • Any planned leaves
  • Financial issues

Counseling after Reappointment or Promotion

During a reappointment or promotion review, the department will assemble a set of information, which may include a draft counseling memo based on the information collected. This memo offers guidance on next steps, whether an expected reappointment or further promotion, and is reviewed by the School and the University.  Once the action has succeeded, the memo is finalized and delivered to the faculty member.

If you have been recently reappointed or promoted and have not received a counseling memo from your department, request it from your chair or your Faculty Affairs Administrator.


Mentoring means on-going advice and support regarding your scholarship, teaching, and/or clinical activities, any administrative activities, and work/life balance. Mentoring is required for all Assistant Professor in the Professoriate and for all Clinical Assistant Professors with an FTE of 50% or more.

If you are an Assistant Professor, your offer letter will include the name of your mentor.  You may change mentors, or add additional mentors, at a later date.

Your mentor should be reasonably available to meet with you on an ongoing basis.

A single mentor may lack expertise in certain areas. Ideally, there should be multiple resources inside or outside your department in the event that there are issues which you cannot discuss with your mentor. This can be particularly important in interdisciplinary fields.

It is your responsibility to ensure that mentoring takes place.  You may wish to have an initial meeting with your mentor and discuss expectations for the mentoring relationship, including how often you should meet.

Topics you may cover with your mentor:

  • Criteria for reappointment/promotion.
  • Publication expectations within the particular field
  • Balance between scholarly activities, clinical care and teaching activities and any administrative activities, as applicable
  • In the Professoriate lines in particular, grant funding, its importance in the particular field, and potential sources for such funding
  • Building a reputation in the field (e.g., conferences to attend, editorial boards, becoming known to the leaders of the field [these are the referees who will later write evaluation letters for the reappointment/promotion review])
  • Strategies for managing time and balancing service
  • Importance of being proactive in managing one’s career (i.e., seeking help and information)
  • Resources for additional guidance on teaching strategies (e.g., Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning)
  • Any matters of concern.
  • Guidance when you are going through life/family transitions that may affect productivity (opportunity to take leaves/tenure clock extensions)

If you are not receiving what you need from your mentor, you can ask for that mentor to provide what you need or change or add mentors as you decide. If you want guidance on choosing another mentor, possible sources are your chair, your division chief, senior faculty within your department, or one of the Associate Deans of Academic Affairs.