The purpose of this information is to guide assistant and associate professors, fixed-term faculty, and those in post-tenure review in documenting and recognizing team-based research and scholarship for the development of a successful application for promotion and/or tenure.

Tips for Highlighting Team-Based Research and Scholarship in Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Packages

A pdf of these guidelines is also available for download.

Purpose

The purpose of this information is to guide assistant and associate professors, fixed-term faculty, and those in post-tenure review in documenting and recognizing team-based research and scholarship for the development of a successful application for promotion and/or tenure.

This information highlights several key elements that can be used to emphasize the value and relevance of team-based research and scholarship in preparation for advancement. The information can be used at any stage of career advancement.

This information is not meant to be exhaustive in terms of examples, nor does it cover the breadth of possibilities that exist for translational research and scholarship. It is instead meant as a suggestive guide for you to prepare and plan for success and engage those who can help and advise you in your career advancement.

Guidance on approaching mentors, department chairs, deans, and other stakeholders

It is important to inform mentors, department chairs, deans and other administrative stakeholders about the significance of your team-based contributions to research.

Since much of the work that is considered worthy of tenure is related to the role of corresponding author or principal investigator, it is important that these leaders also understand the contributions of your team-based endeavors. Contact them early in your career or when you start team-based work so that they appreciate its worth and understand how you plan to make it part of your portfolio.

As appropriate, you may communicate with the APT committee that will review your package to inform them of your plans and to ask for advice they may have about implementation.

Approaching collaborators

It is a good idea to establish, as early as possible in a developing collaboration, the roles and responsibilities and anticipated distribution of credit for any work that will be done (e.g. should the project yield publishable data; who is/are likely first author(s), corresponding author(s), etc.).

In addition, strategize how and when to present or to publish. Document this discussion and update this strategy as the project proceeds. All of this should be done with consideration of the eventual notation of this activity in your promotion and tenure package. Collaboration agreements may be written or verbal.

Written agreements may be best when the number of collaborators on a project is high, perhaps when there are four or more. Also, as collaborations advance, conditions change, e.g., if your collaboration has broad disciplinary reach, each investigator might have a different perspective on which work has highest priority and is most important to complete in case of reduced resources or time.

If it is critically important for a segment of work to be completed from your perspective, it is best to write conditions related to that segment of work in a collaboration agreement to assure its completion. In general, longer spans of time between ideation, writing, and implementation may warrant having a written guide to return to in order to remind people of what they intended to provide or do.

Documenting your activity

One option to assure that critical information is available when needed, is to use something like a SharePoint site to document your work activity. Update this resource continually so that no important annotations are overlooked.

A site like this will enable having all of the documentation for any activity in one place that would be included in your package. This documentation should show that your collaborators acknowledge the value added to the work by your contribution.

Items that you could save include:

  • Email messages acknowledging work performed or material support provided. Relevant emails can be forwarded to the SharePoint site using its email address.
  • Establish folders to help organize correspondence such as checklists, letters of support, letters of recommendation, or accolades received. Use folders to keep track of different versions of your CV and biosketch.
  • Invite mentors, deans, department chairs, collaborators or others who are key to your advancement to sign up to view or contribute to your documentation. As members of the SharePoint site, they will have ready access to anything you wish to share with them.
  • Establish a section to store summaries of projects that provide more detailed information about your work if needed.

Note: For help setting up a SharePoint site, visit help.unc.edu.

Annotating your CV

Annotate your CV to highlight the type of team-based research or scholarship you are doing. Communicate the type of work, the importance of your contribution to science, and the contribution of this work to science. Consider pointing out that the work could not have been accomplished without your expertise.

Bibliography and Products of Scholarship – After each publication emerges from collaborative team-based projects, add a statement about your role in the research. For example:

  • "I was the lead biostatistician [or informatics expert, radiologist, computational chemist, structural biologist, clinician, etc.] and I contributed [brief description of the contribution] that was critical to the innovation and impact of the work."

Grants – In your list of awards, add a statement similar to the one below to describe your contribution.

  • "I contributed to the experimental design proposed relative to the inclusion of the [equipment or methodology] which was key to the feasibility of the research described. In addition, I was the only one on the team who supplied this particular expertise."

Research Statement – Define your team-based contribution as an essential part of the work that you have done. Place emphasis on the fact that you and your team members had roles that were interdependent, but you had an independent contribution to scholarship within an activity. Also, take credit for having acted as a leader for your part in this project.

These suggestions on how to annotate your CV are only examples. In terms of which items to annotate, or how many should depend on your rank, your field, and the relative amounts of team-based research or scholarship and independent research or scholarship you might have in your portfolio. You also may want to limit yourself to annotate the strongest examples of team-based work you have vs. annotating everything.

Additional Information for CV Annotation

Evaluating Academic Scientists Collaborating in Team-Based Research: A Proposed Framework. Academic Medicine 90 (10): 1302-1308, 2015.

A Final Word

As mentioned earlier, this document is not exhaustive. If you have additional examples about how you would prepare for promotion and tenure, emphasizing your team science role, please forward them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for possible inclusion in the next draft of this tip sheet, or use in auxiliary materials that may be developed.

Created by the NC TraCS Team Science Liaison Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Sub-Committee

Linda Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, Co-chair, and Assistant Dean and Professor, School of Nursing
Ceib Phillips, PhD, Co-chair, and Associate Dean and Professor, School of Dentistry
John Preisser, PhD, Research Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Karen Demby, PhD, Administrative Director, NC TraCS
Kirsten Kainz, PhD, Research Professor, School of Social Work
Leigh Callahan, PhD, Distinguished Professor, School of Medicine
Stephen Frye, PhD, Distinguished Professor, School of Pharmacy

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