Junior Faculty Development Program

JFDP Graduation 2018

Junior faculty are an essential resource for an academic institution. If the institution is to grow and flourish, these individuals must be nurtured, mentored, and retained. Junior faculty are recruited with excellent training in research or clinical practice but they often lack the skills—beyond the ability to perform in the laboratory or the clinic—that are critical for a successful career in academic medicine. Furthermore, most junior faculty are expected to teach but many have little training in designing and delivering an educational program. The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) is designed to address these needs of junior faculty and provide a foundation for their success.

The JFDP was first developed and implemented at Penn State College of Medicine in 2003. It was established at UMMS in 2010 under the sponsorship of the OFA. The program continues at and similar programs have since been established at and the . It is considered a national model for the development of junior faculty in academic medicine.

The goals of the JFDP are to

  • promote the development and advancement of faculty through a program targeted to and tailored to the specific needs of junior faculty
  • nurture and cultivate junior faculty to become the next generation of academic leaders
  • support the retention of native faculty talent through opportunities and support to continuously build and expand professional skills

The Program

The JFDP is an intensive, year-long faculty development program that consists of two components:

  • A comprehensive curriculum in topics on research, education, and academic/career development.
    Download the 2018–19 JFDP curriculum as a representative example.
  • A project conducted under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor. The individual project is identified by the participant, approved by their chair, and completed with the assistance of a senior faculty mentor.

Each yearly program at UMMS consists of a cohort of 20–25 participants, typically Assistant Professors within 1–3 years of their first faculty appointment. Program participants are selected through an application process, which includes a description of their proposed project. Each participant is matched with a mentor identified by the participant with the help of the program faculty and based on their needs for guidance on their project.

To complete the program, participants have to attend at least 80% of the class sessions, participate in teaching workshops, and present progress on their project at the end of the program. A Graduation Ceremony is held each year to recognize the graduates for completing the program and the mentors for their service. Clinicians received Continuing Medical Education credits for participating in the program.


The 2018–19 JFDP class is currently in progress. A call for applications for the 2019–20 class will be announced in March 2019.


A total of 160 junior faculty completed the JFDP in the eight classes held between 2010–18. Over 100 senior faculty served as mentors, many more than once.
Download a list of the UMMS graduates, projects and mentors.

JFDP participants at UMMS have a substantial record of achievements ince completing the program, including:

  • over 500 publications
  • $35M in grant funding obtained by 33 graduates (2010–16)
  • a higher rate of retention at UMMS: 80% of JFDP graduates (2010–17) have remained at UMMS compared to % of all Assistant Professors for the same years
  • a higher rate of promotion: 65% of graduates in the first two classes (2010–12) have been promoted to Associate Professor compared to 30% for all Assistant Professors for the same years
  • appointment to leadership positions, including Department Chair, Division Chief, and Residency Director

Based on this evidence, the JFDP has achieved all the goals set for the program at its original foundation.


Thorndyke LT, Gusic ME, George JH, Quillen DA & Milner RJ. Academic Medicine 81: 668–73 (2006).

Thorndyke LT, Gusic ME & Milner RJ. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 28: 157–64 (2008).

Gusic ME, Milner RJ, Tisdell EJ, Taylor EW, Quillen DA and Thorndyke LT. Academic Medicine 85: 1484–91 (2010).