Purpose: To develop and demonstrate the usefulness of quantitative methods for assessing retention and academic success of junior faculty in academic medicine.
Method: The authors created matched sets of participants and nonparticipants in a junior faculty development program based on hire date and academic series for newly hired assistant professors at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine between 1988 and 2005. They used Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards survival analyses to characterize the influence of covariates, including gender, ethnicity, and program participation, on retention. They also developed a new method for quantifying academic success based on several measures including (1) leadership and professional activities, (2) honors and awards, (3) research grants, (4) teaching and mentoring/advising activities, and (5) publications. The authors then used these measures to compare matched pairs of participating and nonparticipating faculty who were subsequently promoted and remained at UCSD.
Results: Compared with matched nonparticipants, the retention of junior faculty who participated in the faculty development program was significantly higher. Among those who were promoted and remained at UCSD, the academic success of faculty development participants was consistently greater than that of matched nonparticipants. This difference reached statistical significance for leadership and professional activities.
Conclusions: Using better quantitative methods for evaluating retention and academic success will improve understanding and research in these areas. In this study, use of such methods indicated that organized junior faculty development programs have positive effects on faculty retention and may facilitate success in academic medicine.