Download ACRA (Oct 2018 version)

  • Get on our mailing list (only used for ACRA-related announcements: ACRA updates, faculty application material samples related to ACRA, other online resources related to ACRA).
  • Remember to give us quick feedback on the tool here: this will allow us to get further funding to keep improving the tool.
  • If you plan on using this tool in a training session, or plan on disseminating to other, it is important that you email us to let us know first.
  • New! Want to help us improve the tool? Here is what you can do:
    • Send an email out to your alumni or faculty in your network and help collect data so we can improve the ACRA. You can simply copy our email template.
  • Coming up! (updated 6/26/19)
    • In the near future, we will make a survey available for you to send to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Email us for more details at [email protected].
    • A manuscript with the detailed quotes of the faculty and analysis of the interviews will also be posted here. Get on our mailing list if you'd like more details.

What is ACRA?

The Academic Career Readiness Assessment (ACRA) framework is a tool developed by the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with a grant from Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The goal of this tool is to provide graduate students and postdoctoral scholars with the information they need to explore, plan for and apply to faculty positions at different types of institutions, regardless of their understanding of the intricacies of the U.S. education system and independently of the mentoring they receive.

How was ACRA developed?

The ACRA is the result of a qualitative study involving eighteen biology and biochemistry faculty across the country. It aims to describe the qualifications (such as publications, teaching experience, or commitment to diversity) that contribute significantly to hiring decisions for life science faculty positions at three broad categories of institutions: research-intensive institutions with limited teaching requirements (R1 institutions, referred to as R institutions in this study), institutions with both research and teaching requirements (including Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) and Liberal Arts Colleges (LACs), referred to as RT institutions in this study), and teaching-only institutions (such as Community Colleges, referred to as T institutions here). The tool also defines the minimum hiring level for each qualification and for each type of institution.

  • Category R: the study involved five R1 institutions represented by four faculty members;

  • Category RT: two R2, two R3, two M1, one M2, and three Baccalaureate Colleges (two of the Baccalaureate Colleges were represented by one faculty member) ;

  • Category T: four Associate’s Colleges. One was excluded from the analysis.

Reference: Faculty positions in the life sciences: Improving trainees' awareness of hiring criteria. J.B. Dorman, T.A. Nguyen, N. Saul, R. McGee, A.C. Goldfien, L. Clement. American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting. December 2016. Poster Presentation.

How can I use ACRA?

The ACRA framework can be used to:

1) Explore faculty careers

Each of the 3 ACRAs represents the significant contributors to hiring decisions at three broad types of institutions: R, RT, and T institutions. These categories have different levels of tenure requirements when it comes to research, teaching, mentoring and support of diversity. The ACRA can be used as a tool to develop informational interview questions when exploring careers in academia. Find out more about our Exploring Faculty Careers workshop. Email us for our slide deck!

2) Prepare for faculty careers:

The ACRA can be used to define specific professional development goals, the first step to planning one's training. These goals can then be used to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP). For a great online resource co-developed by our office, visit the myIDP website.

3) Apply to faculty careers

The ACRA tool can be used to develop and tailor materials to different types of institutions. For samples of faculty application materials corresponding to the ACRA framework, visit our corresponding resources page.