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April 04, 2018

Dr. Benveniste’s leadership message: 2018 AMC21 Research Retreat provides strategic guidance

Written by

TikaDear School of Medicine,

On January 19, 2018, the School of Medicine assembled nearly 100 faculty representing departments, centers and institutes as well as other campus leaders for its annual AMC21 research retreat. AMC21 is UAB Medicine's strategic plan to become the Preferred Academic Medical Center of the 21st Century. Our original plan for this initiative launched in 2011 when strategic initiatives were developed across our four AMC21 “Pillars”—Quality, Satisfaction, Finance, and Advancement of Knowledge.

The theme of the 2018 retreat was “Strategic Recruitment,” and the purpose of the retreat was to engage our leaders in a highly collaborative recruitment plan necessary for the continued growth of our research enterprise. During facilitated small group sessions at the retreat, those in attendance shared specific recommendations along four themes for executing this new recruitment strategy.

The first theme focused on Best Practices. Establishing school-wide best practices for recruitment will require evaluating current barriers and identifying opportunities for improvement—many of which involve developing processes or providing support. Successfully implementing one or more of the recommendations that were discussed will elevate our current recruitment process in order to more effectively recruit top talent.

Second, the research retreat took a close look at Search Committees. These committees are absolutely critical to the successful execution of strategic recruitment. The research retreat group addressed many aspects of the committees—including diversity (in race, gender, rank, scientific area, and more), roles and responsibilities, and the core purpose of the committees themselves.

The third theme addressed was the Use of the Dean’s Office. The office has many opportunities to successfully facilitate a collaborative recruitment approach. This would include providing adequate training and developing guidelines, processes, and policies regarding all aspects of recruitment. These activities should seek to balance the autonomy of the primary department in their role of ongoing “ownership” of the recruit and the expectations for process and collaboration.

Last, the group evaluated Package Development—or the ability to create individualized offers for recruits. To do so will require a substantial amount of information gathering, and once again, this presents a perfect scenario for collaboration between departments, centers and institutes with the Dean’s Office.

I am happy to share that the AMC21 2018 Research Retreat was highly successful in bringing our key leaders together to have an in depth discussion about strategic recruitment. The Dean’s Office believes that advancing the reach of the school means bringing the very best and brightest to our campus, so we plan to provide support and implement many of these recommendations to create the appropriate environment to reach our goal of recruiting top scientists and growing our research enterprise.

Thank you to everyone who attended for your collaborative spirit and willingness to help us establish some best practices regarding strategic recruitment. Please let me know if you have any questions or further ideas.


Etty (Tika) Benveniste, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Research Administration, SOM
Associate Vice President for Medicine and Basic Sciences