Faculty Membership FAQs
There appears to be no way to modify the application so the information fits into the sheet. I also have many more grants than the spreadsheet allows, and I can’t enter any extra rows. What are my options?
To help fit the information on the sheet, you can list the grants being held in the past 5 years and add a note in your letter that there are others detailed in your CV (listing them there). Please also remember to include information on the application regarding the grant funding that will be designated to graduate student stipends.
I supervise medical resident and student research. Where would I list these individuals on the application? Would they be considered "Additional graduate students", "Post-doctoral graduate students" or not included?
Those supervisory experiences are important but medical residents are not graduate research students. The information can be included in the CV. They can also be listed as undergraduate students in the application.
Faculty Appointments and Memberships
What are the different membership categories at the IMS and what can an individual do and not do under each category?
There are four categories of graduate membership:
- Associate Member
- Associate Member Restricted to PACs and/or Teaching
- Full Member
- Member Emeritus
For a full description of responsibilities, eligibility criteria and engagement expectations, refer to our Membership Categories page.
What is the difference between an academic appointment and a graduate appointment?
At the University of Toronto, there are two tiers of membership: Academic Appointments and Graduate Faculty Memberships.
- An academic appointment (or professorial/university appointment) dictates a faculty member’s rights to teach in an undergraduate program and their involvement in other associated activities with an academic unit.
- A graduate faculty membership (or also referred to as a graduate appointment) dictates a faculty member’s rights to teach in a graduate program and their involvement in associated activities (including student committee membership, participation in defense exams, etc.).
Common graduate appointments held by clinical faculty members are in:
What is a cross-appointment/secondary appointment?
A cross-appointment means that the individual is already a member of graduate faculty in some other graduate unit, and the appointment now being proposed is in addition to that primary graduate appointment. Anyone who already holds a graduate appointment in another graduate unit can apply for a cross-appointment in the IMS.
How difficult is it to update my SGS Appointment? Is there a minimum criterion for being approved for renewal/promotion?
There is a full-review process based on the application. Depending on the membership type, the appointments committee will be looking for evidence of experience relevant to graduate supervision such as supervisory experience, sufficient funding, classroom teaching, committee membership, and lab training. These areas will be reviewed and the committee will determine the most appropriate membership level.
I am a faculty member currently holding a primary graduate appointment as Associate member. I am interested in applying to the IMS as a cross-graduate appointment. Which application type should I complete?
Since you are new to the Institute of Medical Science (IMS), you should follow the New Membership Application Process, which you can find here:
I’m currently an associate member of IMS and have 2 masters students. Both have expressed interest of continuing to work with me and do a PhD. Given my associate status, I cannot currently serve as sole mentor for PhD Students. Am I going to be obliged to find co-mentors for them or is it possible to move to full member this early (my initial appointment was less than 2 years ago)?
PhDs require supervision by full members. As an Associate Member, you can co-supervise along side a Full IMS member, or you may be ready for promotion to full member. The application can be found here: https://ims.utoronto.ca/promotionchange-status
The IMS appointments/membership committee will review your application, focusing on demonstration of supervisory experience at the graduate level and availability of funding to support student stipends at the PhD level. It is highly recommended that you have supervised one MSc student to successful graduation or transfer exam to PhD prior to submitting a promotion application.
Can an individual who holds an appointment in a faculty outside of the TFOM, apply for cross appointment in IMS?
We do have faculty members from other departments who are cross-appointed to IMS. The applicant however will need to convince the committee of the reasons why they desire a cross-appointment. They can communicate this in the letter of intent.
If a faculty member from ObGyn gets a Restricted Associate Member status with IMS does this grant them to work with students from the ObGyn department only, or could they supervise an MA student from another department (i.e. Peadiatrics, Anesthesia, etc.)? Also, would they require an additional cross-appointment with that other department, or does every department have their own rules as to whether they let faculty from other departments supervise their grad students?
These departments (ObGyn, Pediatrics, Anaesthesia) do not have SGS status so many members seek appointment at the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) to supervise graduate students. The student will be admitted to IMS for their graduate degree program and the supervisor will have IMS appointment. Please find details of IMs appointment types on the IMS website.
There are other university departments that do have SGS status and thus can admit graduate students. An IMS member (Full, Associate, Associate-Restricted to PACs) can be on a PAC of a student in one of these departments but they would need cross appointment to supervise.
As an “Associate Member restricted to PACS” it is my understanding that I am able to sit on a committee for an MSc student, which I currently do. The student’s primary supervisor is leaving U of T for another role and has asked me to supervise this same MSc student, and join a PhD committee which I assume I can. However, based on my appointment, it seems I cannot supervise or co-supervise. Is this correct?
Yes, your appointment allows you to participate as a member of Program Advisory Committees (PACs) but not to be the primary supervisor or co-supervisor of graduate students. Promotion to Associate Member would allow primary supervision of MSc students and co-supervision of PhD students. In reviewing promotion applications, the IMS appointments/membership committee typically looks for evidence of support for the graduate student research, funding for their stipend, and prior graduate student mentorship (such as PAC membership for students who have completed their degree or successfully transferred from MSc to PhD).
With my restricted membership, am I able to sit as an examiner for a MSc to PhD transfer? I understand I cannot as an Associate Member with restrictions sit as a chair on formal defenses but does this apply for transfer exams?
No, the same rules don't apply for MSc transfer exams. Associate members restricted to PACs can't be a chair for a PhD Final Oral Examination (FOE), or a supervisor. But for MSc and transfer exams, they can act as an examiner/appraiser or examiner/chair. There are fewer restrictions for MSc and transfer exams than there are for PhD exams.
Can I clarify if membership of PACS for other graduate students other than IMS also counts towards transitioning to Associate Member? (e.g. pharmacology, as I am helping with pharmacology grad students in our lab)
As an Associate Member – Restricted to PACs you can sit on a PAC for students in departments outside IMS, this is not specific to IMS students. The experience of participating on PACs for students in all departments is considered in promotion applications. Other research supervision experience (post-docs, MDs, undergraduate students) is also considered.
Can I apply for promotion at any time, or should I wait until I have served at my current level of appointment for the specified term years? If I can apply sooner, what kind of criteria will the appointments committee be looking for?
Members can apply for promotion at any time. However, when reviewing promotion/change of status applications, the IMS Appointments/Membership Committee will typically look for three things:
- Evidence of support for the graduate student research;
- Funding for their stipend, and;
- Prior graduate student mentorship (such as PAC membership for students who have completed their degree or successfully transferred from MSc to PhD).
If you feel that you cover the above areas, when ready, you can submit an application for promotion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application process for promotion can be found here: https://ims.utoronto.ca/promotionchange-status
Letters of Support
I am a new assistant professor and I'm preparing my dossier in anticipation of the application deadline. For any supporting documents, like the letter of support, I'm not entirely clear on who should write this letter. Should I be contacting the VP or Director of my department or does it have to be the Chair?
While you can add letters from VPs and Directors as additional supporting letters, we will require a letter of support from the Chair of the academic department in which you hold your primary academic appointment.
What if I don’t know who the Chair of my department is, who can I contact to find this out?
You can find a list of departments and their respective Chairs on the Temerty Faculty of Medicine website here: https://temertymedicine.utoronto.ca/departments-institutes-centres-and-other-units
What is the process for supervising a student?
The steps involved in securing a supervisor rest with the student. All prospective students must confirm an appropriate IMS faculty member as their research supervisor before initial registration in the IMS graduate program.
IMS Faculty members who wish to supervise a prospective MSc student must send an email to the Admissions Officer by the application deadline, to confirm that they have met with the student and have agreed to be their supervisor. They should also include confirmation that they are able to provide funding for a MSc student for at least 2 years through a specified funding source (i.e. grant).
For PhD students, an email is not necessary as students would have needed to include a confirmation letter identifying their supervisor as part of their application package.
For more information on the student-process following an IMS admissions offer, please visit our After Acceptance webpage.
How do I let students know I am available to be their supervisor?
Each application cycle, we compile a list of IMS faculty members that are actively recruiting students, which includes information about the specific research project they would be working on.
All IMS graduate faculty members will be sent an email with the link to our Call for Supervisors form, for the upcoming academic year. New IMS members will be provided with the link to the form in their graduate faculty appointment congratulatory email.
For questions or concerns, please contact the IMS Admissions Officer at email@example.com
Can 2 full members co-supervise an IMS student together or can co-supervision only happen with one Full member and one Associate Member? Also, does the co-supervisor have to be an IMS member?
Yes, Full Members can supervise MSc and PhD students or co-supervise MSc and PhDs with either full or associate members. Both supervisor and co-supervisor need to have a membership with IMS.
I am reviewing my agreement form for my new IMS appointment. Under the “U of T Appointment Type” what is the difference between “status only” vs. Clinical? I am an associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics and a full SGS member associated with IHPME and now IMS.
In general, “clinical” faculty are hospital-based MDs and everyone else (including other types of clinicians), are “status-only”. So, if you're not a hospital-based MD, then you would indicate "status-only".
For the Date UofT Appointment Attained: I assume this is the date I obtained my initial appointment as assistant professor (i.e., 2015) as opposed to when I was promoted to associate professor, correct?
The UofT Appointment Date Attained is the start date of the present appointment. In this case, it is the promotion date.
Do I have to provide my birth date? Is this mandatory information for my appointment?
No, this is not mandatory.
Program Advisory Committees (PACs)
What should I do when I am approached by a student interested in adding me to their Program Advisory Committee (PAC)?
PAC members should be able to provide expertise in the areas relevant to the student’s thesis topic and should complement their supervisor’s own research interests. Committee members assess, encourage, and motivate, as well as provide guidance and mentoring.
If a student approaches you about being added to their PAC, and this is your first graduate student supervision, students should ensure that they have another experienced IMS graduate faculty member on the PAC.
All IMS students are also required to submit the proposed membership of their PAC to the IMS using the PAC Approval Form by December 1st for September entry students, and April 1st for January entry students. They must then submit the completed form to their Graduate Program Assistant (firstname.lastname@example.org for PhD students or email@example.com for MSc students) for approval. Students can expect to hear whether their PAC was approved within 2 weeks of submission.
If your name is not added to this form, you are not officially on the PAC for the student. Therefore, please ensure your name is added and the form is submitted to the IMS for approval.
Note: It is a requirement that students notify the IMS Office of any potential changes to their PAC, as any changes need to be recorded and approved by the IMS Office.