Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Hopin’ to Move Up!

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 26, 2013

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry sounds pretty good, I think, but apparently, I am eligible to apply to become a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (voluntary), and so I did. I wrote about my various and sundry teaching experiences, supervising, case conferences, journal clubs, along with my administrative work of representing the sole female on the Voluntary Clinical Faculty Board of Directors. Most uncomfortably, I listed ten folks who could affirm my work, and yet, I was told I was not to give them a heads up. Now, I wait many months as the committee forms an ad hoc committee to decide whether I qualify for a new title, which, in point of fact, means a lot and a little at the same time. It means a lot in that my peers will be evaluating me, and I would like to think that they think highly of me. It means a little in that my daily life remains. I see patients and I teach. That combination is independent of my title, for the good and bad of that. Many of my posts have my rant about the lack of transparency in mental health. The public does not know what they get when they walk into psychotherapy. That I am affiliated with UCLA may impress some, but the exact nature of that affiliation hardly seems to matter, as the nuances of my title are not relevant. In a way, that makes sense. Patients and students should evaluate me based on how I make them feel, and not necessarily where I went to school or whether I got honors or not. On the other hand, my academic record demonstrates a hard-working value which has lasted over many decades. This potential advancement is further evidence of my commitment to teaching, to giving my time, to help the next generation of psychiatrists hold on to the old notion of the value of history-taking and the doctor-patient relationship. I want to pass this on, both with my blog postings and my face to face contact with my students. Luckily, this is not threatened by this application. Volunteering seems to be an open position, at least for now. Still, I hope I pass.

5 Responses to “Hopin’ to Move Up!”

  1. Jon said

    The academic ladder has three major rungs – Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Full Professor. Obviously, or perhaps not so obviously, it is better to be higher up this ladder, for many reasons. While what is most important is quality of your work, the peer recognition of that quality is also gratifying. As a member of a Board of Trustees, I have had the opportunity to review and pass final judgment on academic promotions brought from final committee. From my outside perspective of this situation, the title of Clinical Professor of Psychiatry is well deserved. May the review committees be clear sighted.

    • Thanks, Jon. I can’t help but think of the hierarchy as a need to reach higher and higher, as is so often done in sports. The human brain, some more than others, seems to need a metric to reach and then once that is achieved, there needs to be another goal. After Clinical Professor, where shall I go? I am going to have to start running marathons…hee.

  2. Shelly said

    YAY, Shirah!!! So proud of you!!! My fingers are crossed!!! When will they let you know?????????

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