Article 1: Preamble

1.1 Purpose of Bylaws

These Bylaws describe the responsibilities of faculty and key administrative officers of the UA School of Medicine, and the relationships among the various administrative units of the School. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Faculty Handbook sets forth the policies and procedures that apply to all UAB faculty members, including those in the School of Medicine. Statements from the Faculty Handbook will be referenced in these Bylaws where they address issues relevant to faculty in the School of Medicine.

1.2 School of Medicine Goals

The mission of the UA School of Medicine, as articulated in the AMC21 strategic plan is as follows:
• Educate the next generation of physicians and biomedical scientists who are leaders in their fields
• Undertake research to elucidate mechanisms of disease and to improve the care of patients and populations
• Provide outstanding, compassionate medical care for our patients utilizing the knowledge gained from leading-edge science 
• Serve our community through actively engaged faculty, trainees/students, staff and alumni in Alabama and around the globe 
• Become the “Preferred Academic Medical Center of the 21st Century”

Article 2: Administration

2.1 Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean, School of Medicine

Position Description: The Senior Vice President (SVP) and Dean of the School of Medicine serves as the Chief Academic and Executive Officer of medical education in the University of Alabama System, leads the school’s biomedical research enterprise, facilitates and supports the delivery of outstanding patient care, and serves as the Vice Chair of the UAB Health System Board of Directors. He or she also works with the President and the Provost in building close  and collaborative relationships between the medical school and other schools and departments on campus, including promotion of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and research. As Vice Chair of the UAB Health System Board, this individual provides leadership to assure that the operations of the Health System support the clinical, research and educational missions of the medical school. He or she also serves on the President’s Cabinet, the Academic Programs Council (APC) and the Executive Committee of the APC. The Dean holds primary responsibility for all personnel, financial, educational and student matters for the School of Medicine, which, in addition to the programs at UAB, includes third and fourth year programs in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. He or she also has educational and fiscal responsibility for the Graduate Medical Education Programs (residents and fellows) in Birmingham, Huntsville, Selma and Montgomery.  The Dean provides leadership and holds responsibility for the educational and research effectiveness of the Clinical Departments of the School of Medicine and, with the Dean of the School of Dentistry, the Joint Health Sciences Departments. The SVP & Dean serves as one of three members of the Joint Operating Leadership (JOL) group of UAB Medicine, which includes the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Health System and the President, Health Services Foundation (HSF). The JOL operationalizes the Joint Operating Agreement, which establishes the Health System and supports the clinical, educational and research mission of UAB Medicine. Appointment: The dean is appointed by the UAB President. 

Reporting: The Senior VP and Dean of the School of Medicine reports to the President of the University, who is also Chair of the UAB Health System Board, on matters of vision, strategic planning, oversight and investment for biomedical research and education in the School of  Medicine. As Dean of the School of Medicine, this position also reports to the Provost on routine academic and operational matters.

Direct Reports: Reporting directly to the Dean are the Joint Health Science Department Chairs (jointly with the Dean of Dentistry), Clinical Department Chairs, Medical Education Department Chair, Senior Associate Deans, and Regional Campus Deans.

2.2 Senior Associate Deans

The dean will appoint senior associate deans in the areas of administration and finance, research, medical education, and faculty development. These individuals will report to the dean and have responsibility for development and implementation of policies and initiatives and allocation of resources in their respective domains, with specific duties defined by the dean. They may, together with the dean, recruit additional administrative officers to carry out their responsibilities.

2.3 Regional Campus Deans

The dean will appoint Regional Campus Deans to oversee the academic programs in the School of Medicine in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa (dually appointed with the Provost of UA), and Montgomery. They will be responsible for ensuring that programs at these sites are committed to high quality medical education in a manner compatible with the aims, goals, and mission of the UASOM and the University. They are also responsible for maintaining positive relationships between community physicians, regional medical centers, the medical center affiliated with the regional campus, and to work collegially with UAB’s branch campuses on issues of statewide concern. Regional campus deans are expected to hire the highest quality faculty to provide the highest quality health care and education possible.

2.4 Standing Administrative Committees

2.4.1 Joint Operating Leadership

Background. The Joint Operating Leadership (JOL) was formed in calendar year 2009 with the creation of UAB Medicine. It is comprised of the Dean of the School of Medicine, the president of the Health Services Foundation and the CEO of the Health System. It is the administrative leadership of UAB Medicine and is responsible for ensuring resources are allocated to benefit all three missions (clinical, research, and education). The JOL is not a legal entity but a cooperative decision making body. UAB Medicine consists of the School of Medicine, the Health Services Foundation, the academic components of the UAB Health System, the Ophthalmology Services Foundation and Valley Foundation.

Purpose: To manage all three missions of UAB Medicine (research, education, and clinical) as one unit of UAB; to ensure that resources are allocated to maximize all three missions; to resolve conflicts that may arise between entities of UAB Medicine; to approve the UAB Medicine Strategic Plan.

Membership: Dean of the UA School of Medicine, President of the Health Services Foundation, and CEO of the UAB Health System.

Meetings: Weekly; monthly with the President of UAB.

2.4.2 Faculty Council

Duties: The Faculty Council is responsible for making recommendations to the dean on appointments, promotions and tenure awards for all clinical and basic science faculty members.

Authority: The Faculty Council is advisory to the dean.


  • Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development (ex officio; nonvoting)
  • Nineteen (19) full-time faculty members
  • Fourteen (14) members are elected by the faculty; the dean will construct a ballot of eligible full-time faculty members for distribution to and vote by the regular faculty.
  • Five (5) members are appointed by the dean; department chairs may not serve as members.
  • The Faculty Council will recommend a Vice-Chair who will be appointed by the Dean.

This individual must have previously served as a regular member of the Faculty Council for at least one three-year term. This prior service may have occurred in an early appointment to the Faculty Council. With the endorsement of the Faculty Council membership and the approval of the Dean, the Vice-Chair will become the Chair. The term of service for the Vice-Chair and Chair is three years. The individual selected as the Vice-Chair should alternately be from a Joint Sciences and Clinical Department. Terms of appointment for faculty are three (3) years with one possible three (3) year renewal. The term of the Vice-Chair shall be extended so that they may serve one term as Chair.

2.4.3 Executive Committee

Duties: The Executive Committee is the ultimate advisory committee to the dean on issues related to the mission and vision of the School of Medicine.

Authority: The Executive Committee is advisory to the dean and at the dean’s discretion may serve as a decision-making body.

• Dean (ex-officio, non-voting)
• All Clinical and Joint Health Sciences Chairs
• Regional Deans
• Senior Associate Deans (ex officio; non-voting)
• Other members of leadership as requested by the Dean

The Dean serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee. Members serve throughout the period that they are a Chairs, Regional or Senior Associate Deans, or as requested by the Dean.

2.4.4 Medical Education Committee

Duties: The Medical Education Committee (MEC) has primary responsibility for the undergraduate medical education curriculum, course and clerkship oversight, monitors program implementation, and assists in program evaluation. In addition, the MEC serves as an information clearing-house by which the UASOM faculty, students, and administration are informed about curricular and educational activities at all four campuses and elsewhere.

Authority: The MEC has final authority on the content of the medical school educational program and is advisory to the dean on medical educational resources.

• Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex officio, non-voting)
• Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education (ex officio, non-voting)
• Immediate Past-Chair (ex officio, non-voting)
• Associate Dean for Students (ex officio, non-voting)
• Representative from Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences (ex officio, non-voting)
• Immediate Past Chair (ex officio, non-voting)
• One representative from each of the regional campuses selected by their respective
Deans (ex officio, non-voting)
• Chair
• Vice Chair
• Preclinical Module Directors (2)
• Course Director for Introduction to Clinical Medicine, or his/her designee
• Course Director for Scholarly Activity
• Director of Academic Data Management and Analysis
• Clerkship Directors, at least one from each campus
• At-large faculty, including representatives of Joint Health Sciences Departments and Clinical Departments, with one to three faculty members from each regional campus 
• Students to represent all campuses and years
• Student MSTP representative
• All members are appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Education. Faculty terms are three (3) years and medical student terms are one (1) year. All terms are renewable. 

The Chair and Vice Chair serve two-year terms.

2.4.5 Dean’s Council on Graduate Medical Education

Duties: The Deans’ Council on Graduate Medical Education (DCGME) works in collaboration with the Designated Institutional Official (DIO) and has authority and responsibility for the oversight and administration of all University Hospital-sponsored ACGME-accredited and ACGME-approved programs.

Authority: The DCGME is advisory to the Dean, the Executive Vice-President for Inpatient Services and the UAB Health System Chief Executive Officer.

• The Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education (ex officio, voting)
• The Designated Institutional Official (ex officio, voting)
• A representative from the Office of the Chief of Staff, UAB Hospital (ex-officio, voting)
• Associate Chief of Staff for Education, Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (exofficio, voting)
• Officers of the House Staff Council (ex officio, voting)
• Four at-large members of the House Staff
• Senior Associate Dean for Education (ex officio, voting)
• A representative group of the residency training program directors
• A representative group of at-large teaching faculty members
• The Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education serves as the Chair; a member of the Executive Committee serves as Vice Chair; and the Designated Institutional Official serves as Secretary
• Regular members of the DCGME are appointed by the Chair for three-year terms
• Two Program Coordinators, appointed by the Chair, serve two-year terms.

2.4.6 Admissions Committees

Admissions Executive Committee

Duties: The Admissions Executive Committee is responsible for developing and revising all policies and requirements related to admission to the School of Medicine.

Authority: The Admissions Executive Committee is advisory to the Dean.


  • Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management
  • Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex-officio, non-voting)
  • A minimum of five (5) faculty members, with representation from all campuses
  • Members appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education

Admissions Committee

Duties: The Admissions Committee conducts initial application evaluations, interviews and evaluates applicants for admission.

Authority: Advisory to the Admissions Selection Committee


  • Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management
  • A minimum of 50 members appointed by the Admissions Executive Committee

Admissions Selection Committee

Duties: The Admissions Selection Committee is the decision-making body responsible for all decisions related to medical student admissions.

Authority: The Admissions Selection Committee has final authority for all admissions decisions


  • Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management
  • A minimum of eight (8) members of the Admissions Committee, with representation from all campuses
  • Majority of committee members should be faculty
  • Members appointed by the Admissions Executive Committ

2.4.7 Student Academic Standing Committee

Duties: To uphold a uniform standard for academic promotion and standing, the School of Medicine utilizes a single committee, the Student Academic Standing Committee (SASC), charged with determining medical student academic standing, progress, promotion, remediation and dismissal. This committee will review all pertinent information regarding student academic standing and promotion, and determine student academic standing and progress throughout all four academic years at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Authority: The SASC has the authority regarding student promotion, dismissal, and remediation, but the dean has the authority to override decisions of the SASC.

• Chair
• Representatives of the Joint Health Sciences Departments (six)
• Representatives of the Clinical Departments (twelve), with two members from each regional campus
• Medical students (two)
• Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex-officio, non-voting)
• Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education (ex-officio, non-voting)
• Associate Dean for Students (ex-officio, non-voting)
• Registrar (ex-officio, non-voting)

Article 3: Departments

3.1 Organizational Chart

Org Chart

3.2 Purpose

Departments are administrative units with the School of Medicine, serving as the academic home for faculty who carry out the clinical, research, and educational missions of the School of Medicine.

3.3 Forming or Disbanding Departments

Formation of new departments or disbanding of existing departments requires action by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. Proposals are made by the UAB Provost following approval by a majority vote of the SOM Executive Committee and recommendation of the dean.

3.4 Chair

Position Description: The department chair is appointed by the dean, serves as chief executive and academic officer of the department, and is responsible for promoting and maintaining excellence and integrity in teaching, research, and patient care (for clinical departments). The chair oversees recruitment, retention, and promotion of an appropriate number of high quality faculty and staff to carry out the mission of the department and the School of Medicine and oversees assessment of faculty and staff performance. The chair is responsible for the financial management of the department and ensuring compliance with UAB, UAB Health System, UA School of Medicine, and Health Services Foundation policies and procedures. The chair leads strategic planning for the department and participates in strategic planning for the School of Medicine and the University. The chair is expected to participate in the Executive Committee of the School of Medicine, to provide timely advice to the dean on School of Medicine matters, and to communicate strategic direction of the School of Medicine, the University, and UAB Medicine to faculty of the department.

3.5 Departmental Review

Departmental reviews are conducted on a 5-8 year cycle and led by the dean. A committee consisting of UAB faculty members and external reviewers will be appointed and charged by the dean. The dean will appoint a chair of the review committee, generally a chair of another department in the School of Medicine. The chair of the department under review will prepare of summary of accomplishments and strategic directions for the department prior to the visit of the external reviewers. The external reviewers will meet with members of the department and others designated by the dean or the review committee chair and then submit a confidential report to the dean. The review committee will submit an internal report to the dean after the external reviewers visit the department. The internal and external reports will be combined to produce a comprehensive report.

3.6 Department Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Review Committees

Duties: Department Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Review Committees (APT Committees) review all candidates as proposed by the chair for appointment, promotion, or tenure award. All tenure-earning faculty members should be proposed for review by their department committee for award of tenure prior to one year before the end of the specified maximum tenure-earning period.

Reporting: Department chair

Professor/Associate Professor: Tenure-earning or with tenure award requires prior review and approval of the department APT committee, chair, faculty council, and then must be reviewed by the dean, provost, and president.

Instructor/Assistant Professor: Non-tenure earning or tenure-earning requires appropriate department review and approval as established by School of Medicine policy, then review and approval of the dean, provost, and president. Such appointments and/or promotions do not require prior review or approval by the Faculty Council prior to submission to the dean for review and approval. Promotions from the rank of Assistant Professor must always be at the same tenure status unless the department can provide documentation at the time of the promotion proposal establishing that original recruitment for the position was to be tenure-earning but was appointed to the non-tenure earning track instead. Changing the tenure status from non-tenure-earning to tenure-earning without supporting documentation is considered a “new appointment,” not a promotion, and can only be accomplished as such following the Phase I/Phase II recruitment process (see Faculty Handbook).

Department Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee will:
• Assess the candidate’s strength and weakness within the established guidelines for appointments, promotions, and tenure of the school and university 
• Adhere to UAB guidelines for review of tenure decisions, including external and internal reviews of scholarly productivity 
• Assess non-tenure earning faculty for promotion based on established school criteria
• Forward proposals for appointments, promotions, and/or awards or tenure by the deadlines established, accompanied by the department committee’s written assessment, recorded vote, and recommendation to the department chair

Article 4: Faculty

4.1 Designations (academic ranks)

Faculty ranks are defined in the UAB Faculty Handbook, Article 2. The general criteria for appointment or promotion to each rank are described below. The faculty titles listed herein may be used for tenure-earning or tenured faculty, and each faculty rank may be used with or such descriptive terms as Adjunct, Clinical, Research, Teaching and Visiting for non-tenure-earning faculty.

4.1.1 Instructor

Appointment as Instructor is non-tenure-earning and usually requires training beyond the baccalaureate degree. In some special cases, demonstrated technical proficiency or professional experience may serve in lieu of formal training or an academic terminal degree.

4.1.2 Assistant Professor

Appointment as an Assistant Professor usually requires a terminal degree and potential to make significant academic contributions.

4.1.3 Associate Professor

Associate Professor is a rank that usually requires a terminal degree and service as an Assistant Professor for at least three years at UAB or equivalent service elsewhere. The individual holding this rank should have demonstrated the ability to make significant contributions in academic duties. Such contributions should be of high quality and should be nationally recognized. Further, the individual should show promise of continued professional growth.

4.1.4 Professor

Professor is the highest academic rank granted at UAB except for a limited number of University professors, distinguished professors, or endowed professorships. The rank of Professor requires the demonstration of nationally recognized excellence in the conduct of academic duties. The rank of Professor usually requires academic service as an Associate Professor for at least three years at UAB or equivalent service elsewhere.

4.2 Promotion and Tenure Procedures

Criteria for promotion include contributions in the areas of research, teaching, and service. Individuals appointed in a tenure-earning track are expected to demonstrate excellence or potential for excellence in at least two of these three areas; those in a non-tenure earning track are expected to demonstrate excellence or potential for excellence in any one area.

4.2.1 Assistant Professor

Promotion to this rank usually requires the following:
• Two or more years of experience following receipt of Doctorate
• Academic credentials and demonstration of level of specialized accomplishment appropriate to the mission of the Department and the UASOM
• An expectation of collegiality and participation in service in the Department and/or SOM
• Demonstration of potential for scholarly achievement in areas of research, teaching, and/or service, as appropriate

4.2.2 Associate Professor

Promotion to this rank usually requires the following:
• Three or more years in the rank of Assistant Professor
• Academic credentials and demonstration of level of specialized accomplishment appropriate to the mission of the Department and the UASOM
• Demonstration of collegiality and involvement in the Department and/or UASOM
• Evidence of scholarly achievement in areas of research, teaching, and/or service, as appropriate, documented by peer recognition at a national level

4.2.3 Professor

Promotion to this rank usually requires the following:
• Distinguished performance as an associate professor, at least 3-5 years in rank.
• Academic credentials and demonstration of level of specialized accomplishment appropriate to the mission of the Department and the UASOM.
• Demonstration of collegiality, involvement, and leadership as a citizen of the Department and/or UASOM.
• Evidence of sustained scholarly achievement and productivity in the areas of research, teaching, and/or service, as appropriate.
• Demonstration of nationally recognized excellence in the conduct of academic duties.
Examples of activities that are consistent with the above guidelines follow for each of
the three academic activities:

1. Continued demonstration of initiative, independence, and sustained activity in basic science, clinical, outcomes or population research.
2. Sustained productivity as author of papers reporting independent research findings in peer-reviewed journals.
3. Record of sustained ability to obtain grants and contracts for support of research.
4. Receipt of recognition of excellence in research by professional or scientific institutions or organizations.
5. Continued critical contribution(s) to large research team(s).
6. Receipt of invitations to preside over sessions at national or international or scientific meetings.
7. Participation in external review committees, study sections, or service as editor of scientific or professional journals.

1. Sustained and outstanding performance in the examples cited for the associate professor level.
2. Leadership through design, organization, coordination, and evaluation of a course(s).
3. Administrative responsibility at the school or departmental level for curriculum.
4. Leadership in continuing education or other professional programs; invitations as visiting professor at other institutions.
5. Supervision of staff teaching within a course, division, department, or within the school.
6. Sustained productivity in publication of papers and/or presentations at professional meetings on topics related to education.
7. Sustained innovation and leadership in production of texts, educational software, or courseware.
8. Record of sustained ability to maintain external funding to support innovative educational projects.
9. Sustained recognition as an exemplary scientist, teacher or clinician whose activities provide an outstanding role model for students.

1. Continued demonstration of excellence in patient care and/or service in critical administrative, core laboratory, or committee roles that augment the missions of the Department and/or UASOM.
2. Senior staff responsibility for a service or specific area of patient care or clinical teaching.
3. Recognition as an authority by other schools and departments within UAB and by local, state, regional and national organizations or institutions.
4. Appointment to responsible position(s) within the institution or its affiliates (e.g., chairs a committee, department, or division; membership on major Department or UASOM committees).
5. Engages in mentoring of faculty colleagues.
6. Continued service on committees to develop clinical practice guidelines or to formulate regional or national healthcare policies.
7. Election to responsible positions on civic boards or organizations concerned with health care issues at the local, state, regional, national or international levels.

4.2.4 Tenure Guidelines

Any faculty member appointed to a tenure-earning position shall have a maximum of ten years to earn tenure. If tenure has not been award prior to one year before the end of the specified maximum tenure-earning period, the final year shall be a terminal appointment. Tenure decisions should be made separately from appointment or promotion decisions. These decisions may be made at the same time or at separate points in time. Criteria for granting tenure include the following:
• Achievement of rank of at least Associate Professor;
• Academic credentials consistent with the missions of the department and the SOM;
• National reputation reflected by peer recognition, presentations at national professional
meetings, and productivity in published works;
• Evidence of positive institutional citizenship, manifest as effective participation in service activities, mentoring of more junior colleagues, support of University missions and values, collegiality and leadership initiative;
• Evidence of sustained, significant scholarly achievement in at least two of three areas, including research, teaching, and service.

Article 5: Planning and Policy Development

5.1 Strategic Planning

The dean is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date strategic plan for the School of Medicine, including statement of mission, strategic initiatives in clinical service, education, and research, and identification of metric of performance. This strategic plan should be conducted in concert with the UAB Health System strategic plan and coordinated with that plan.

Article 6: Communications

6.1 Written Communications

Formal written communication must be provided to all faculty members from the dean or department chairs at least seven (7) days prior to enactment of new policies approved by the dean or the Executive Committee.

6.2 Faculty Meetings

Departments or departmental divisions will hold regular faculty meetings, preferably monthly, to inform faculty of important developments at the level of the department, the School of Medicine, or the University.

Article 7: Amendments

Amendments to these Bylaws may be made following a vote by the Executive Committee, requiring a 2/3 majority for enactment.