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Sloan Foundation Funds $1.3 Million in Faculty Career Flexibility Awards for Medical Schools

August 16, 2011


ACE, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has announced the fourth round of Sloan Awards for Faculty Career Flexibility, which will focus on schools of medicine. The awards will recognize institutions that demonstrate policies and promising practices in providing unbiased opportunities for work/life balance.

"Medical schools are facing tough challenges in recruiting and retaining a new, increasingly diverse generation of faculty," said Claire Van Ummersen, senior advisor and project director in ACE's Office of Institutional Initiatives. "These institutions are searching for best practices in career/life flexibility that take into account their unique funding needs and complicated structures. The Sloan Foundation continues to provide support to help solve this pressing and complex issue."

ACE previously explored the need for research on faculty career/life flexibility with a pilot group of eight medical schools, which included focus groups of faculty and administrators. Those site visits and the feedback from ACE's advisory committee for the project assisted in identifying the challenges medical schools face in making changes within a complex structure with multiple sources of funding. The advisory committee was composed of professional staff from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and senior administrators from a diverse set of medical schools.

"The AAMC is very pleased to collaborate with ACE and the Sloan Foundation on this important initiative. Collecting data about best and promising practices in career/life flexibility will help AAMC member medical schools recruit, develop and retain talented faculty and staff," said R. Kevin Grigsby, AAMC's senior director for leadership and talent development.

ACE will open the year-long competition to all medical schools in September. A unique aspect of this award program is that institutions will be able to survey their faculty regardless of whether they advance to the second stage of the competition.

"Past award programs had an unexpected effect of encouraging the adoption of best practices at other colleges and universities which did not win in their institutional category. We believe many of the participating medical schools will incorporate best practices identified through the competition to advance change throughout academic medicine," said Van Ummersen.

The winners and project findings will be announced in September 2012. In addition to five awards of $250,000, the foundation will provide two smaller awards of $25,000 for innovative programs, promising practices, and/or models that can be adopted by a larger number of medical schools. These awards comprise the fourth round of ACE's Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Faculty Career Flexibility, previously given to research universities, master's large schools and liberal arts colleges.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, established in 1934, makes grants to support original research and broad-based education related to science, technology, and economic performance; and to improve the quality of American life. It has played a vital role in developing the field of work-family scholarship through its Workplace, Work Force and Working Families program and it is launching a new grant making program on Aging and Work.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ginnie Titterton ▪ 202-939-9368 ▪

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