Teaching: What counts and how much does it count?

PSOM Committee on Teaching and Educational Service:

Defining and Quantifying Teaching and Educational Effort


A major role of PSOM faculty is the dissemination of knowledge through teaching. The ability to value teaching is critically important for faculty reappointments, promotions and teaching awards as well as to formally document the level of teaching engagement by our faculty. The purpose of this document is provide a common language and value system for teaching across the school.

This definition will be effective September 1, 2018

  1. Definition of Teaching

  • The broad framework for teaching activities includes teaching directed to the broad Penn Community (including CHOP) as well as non-Penn audiences.

  • The broad Penn community includes teaching provided to any group affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and any educational programs or activities sponsored by Penn including:

    • Undergraduate, professional and post-baccalaureate students

    • Medical students

    • Residents and fellows

    • Post-doctoral fellows (or trainees)

    • Graduate students

    • Preprofessional students (NP’s, PA’s, Pharmacists etc)

    • Peers when taught on behalf of PSOM Advance Faculty development programs

    • Attendees at CME programs sponsored by Penn or CHOP

    • Students at secondary schools, local/regional community and 4-year colleges and universities when teaching occurs on behalf of Penn

  • Evaluation data must be available to receive credit for teaching to non-Penn audiences; teaching for the Penn community receives teaching credit whether or not evaluation data are available


  1. Annual Teaching expectations

  • Tenure/CE/AC- minimum of 100 credits per year

  • Clinical faculty appointments-minimum of 50 credits per year

  • PSOM faculty are expected to devote at least 50% of their minimum requirement to the broad Penn community.

  • While it is the intention of this policy that all faculty meet their annual teaching requirements in order to maintain their faculty appointment, department chairs will have discretion to modify teaching assignments for individual faculty to ensure that a department meets its teaching responsibilties and for other compelling reasons.

  • As is current practice, faculty will be responsible for tracking and reporting their teaching activities using a PSOM or CHOP-provided standard template.


  1. Teaching Value:

  • The value, or relative worth, of teaching activities will be expressed as credits.

  • The numbers of credits assigned to specific teaching activities are defined by PSOM as outlined below rather than by individual teachers, course directors, or departments.

  • Credit will also reflect the time spent in preparation, exam grading/feedback, and evaluation of teaching activities. It will not reflect the number of students reached by teaching activities.

  1. Categories of Teaching Activities:

  • Lecture: Presentation given in-person or electronically (e.g., online class, podcast, webinar) that is intended to teach and is delivered to an audience of any size.

  • Facilitated Learning Activity (FLA): Individual or group activity conducted in-person, electronically or through simulation in which the teacher engages the student(s) through discussion, cases, questions, etc. to enhance learning such as small groups, faculty precepted case conferences (e.g., pathology case conferences, radiology case conferences, mental health supervision conferences), directed journal clubs, scholarly pursuit, etc.

  • Clinical teaching: Supervision and teaching of one or more trainees in clinical settings including outpatient practices, inpatient services, procedure units, diagnostic sessions such as sign out, operating rooms, etc.

  • Supervised Scholarship: Supervision of a trainee scholarly project that leads to a product such as a manuscript, abstract, poster, platform presentation, lecture, workshop, curriculum, grant proposal to an external funding agency, etc.

  • Mentorship: Longitudinal mentoring relationships are intended to facilitate trainee career development such as advising of students on selections of courses and rotations, capstone projects, thesis committee chairs, qualifying exam (“prelim exam”) membership, etc.


  • Lab rotations/Pre-thesis research, and Short-term research-related teaching: this specifically applies to BGS where students rotate through different labs for a predetermined period of weeks, where post-baccalaureate students, undergraduates and high school students are mentored on research projects for defined durations, and where graduate students and postdocs receive formal training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

  • Masters Programs: Applies to courses requiring weekly one on one meetings between students and instructors.

  • Assessment: applies to faculty who spend time grading exams or participating in various assessments of trainees (ie direct observation)

  • Educational Service and Leadership: applies to faculty serving in director level roles for UME courses, GME, BGS and masters programs and those participating on key educational committees.

  1. Teaching credits: Lecture and Facilitated Learning Activities (FLA) Teaching credits for direct teaching activity (incorporates prep time):

    • 4 credits per lecture/FLA hour:

      • New, revised and old lectures/FLA are equivalent.

6. Teaching credits: Clinical teaching

  • There will be no difference in credit for number or level of trainees present.

  • There is no credit for nighttime phone calls & advice.

  • Credit will be given based on total number of sessions in the ambulatory, diagnostic and procedural areas, total number of days for OR and inpatient service time, and being called in from home:

  • 1 credit for a half-day clinic, half-day procedure session, half day diagnostic session, weekend inpatient service day spent and being called in from home with trainees.

    • Ex: 40 credits for 40 weeks of a weekly half-day clinic or diagnostic session.

    • Ex: 1 credit for being called into the hospital overnight and spending at least 4 hr with a trainee

  • 2 credits for an inpatient service weekday or an 8-12 hour shift in the ED.

  • Ex: 144 credits for a faculty member who is on an inpatient service 12 weeks per year with various trainees will receive 2 credits per weekday of service time and 1 credit per day for weekend/holiday service time.

    • Ex. 80 credits for 40 weeks of a weekly full day in the operating room or procedure suite

  • Ex: 60 credits for 30, 8-12 hour ER shifts in a year.

  • 3 credits for an 18 hour shift.

  • 4 credits for a 24-hour period spent in-house on clinical service with trainees.

  • Ex: 40 credits for ten 24-hour days in an ICU.

7. Teaching credits: Supervised scholarship

  • Faculty who work directly with trainees and participate heavily in the design, conduct, analysis and drafting of the scholarly products of trainees are eligible for credit as follows:

    • Accepted abstracts, posters, oral presentations (internal or external): 5 credits each/year

      1. submission of a manuscript: 10 credits.
    • Thesis/Postdoc advisors: 50 credits annually

    • Grant proposal to an external funding agency: 10 credits

  • Each product can only be claimed once, for the year in which it is published whether epub ahead of print or print version, even if the trainee has left Penn. If a faculty member works with a trainee during a given academic year and there is no product, they may claim “mentorship credit” for the relationship if it meets the criteria in #8.

  • Multiple faculty can take credit for a trainee’s scholarly product as long as each has participated heavily in the design, conduct, analysis and drafting of the scholarly products of trainees

  • Trainee must be an author.

8. Teaching credits: Mentoring trainees

  • The following types of mentoring don’t count for teaching credit: informal mentoring, which involves occasional meetings with trainees as this is considered part of being an academic faculty member; and, mentoring performed in the context of a supported role in medical education (i.e. course director, program director, etc) is assumed to be part of the responsibilities of such a role.

  • Credit for longitudinal mentoring and scholarship cannot be claimed in the same year.

  • Faculty to faculty mentoring is not eligible for teaching credit

  • Each longitudinal mentoring relationship with a trainee of >8 hours per year: 5 credits.


  1. Teaching credits: Lab Rotations/Pre-Thesis Research, and Short-term Research-Related Teaching

    • Applies to the direct supervision of trainees in the following setting:

    • graduate students on lab rotations: 25 credits per student

    • undergraduates performing longitudinal research projects for at least 3 months or as part of a summer program: 25 credits

    • post-bac students for 1 year: 50 credits

    • RCR training > 4 hours: 4 credits.


  2. Teaching Credit: Assessment

    • Applies to classes in which learning is evaluated by exams involving problem-solving (i.e. not multiple choice), or research proposals, and where grading is performed by the lecturer.

    • Assessment credit may be granted in addition to credit for Lecture/FLA’s

    • Applies to situations where faculty members are serving as direct observers such as occurs during remediation or coaching of a trainee, or assessment of peer teaching with documented evaluations.

    • 2 credits/assessment hour.


  3. Teaching Credit: Educational Service and Leadership

  • This category is meant to recognize the administrative contributions related to education in BGS, Masters programs, UME and residency and fellowship programs. For course and program directors, this credit is meant to recognize contributions above and beyond their course/program administrative responsibilities.

  • Education service

    • There are certain educational committees that require substantial investment of time that are eligible for 5 credits per activity per year:

      • Curriculum committees

      • PSOM, BGS, Masters programs admissions committees

      • Residency and fellowship selection committees

      • Program level evaluation, graduate group reviews and clinical competency committees

  • Education Leadership activities

    • Year-long courses or programs (ex-doctoring, program director, clerkship director, BGS director, graduate group chair)

      • Directors: 50 credits

      • Co-Directors: 50 credits

      • Associate Directors: 25 credits

    • Non yearlong courses (ex-course in module 1, 2, elective directors (when trainees have been enrolled in the elective during the AY), master’s directors, T32 program directors)

      • Directors: 25 credits

      • Co-Directors: 12 credits

      • Associate Directors: 12 credits

    • Clinical electives: 25 credits