Graduate Faculty Expectations

In addition to student supervision, our graduate faculty members are required to participate regularly in IMS activities, such as sitting on student program advisory committees, judging IMS Scientific Day student competitions or being an examiner for students' final oral exams. Failure to do so over a prolonged period may lead to termination of appointment.  

As an IMS Faculty member, you play a vital role in graduate education at the Institute of Medical Science. We hope that you will make the most of the opportunities afforded to you with membership. Your involvement will enhance your own career development as well as contribute to an enriching experience for IMS students. Below is a list of the different activities in which you can be involved. 

Click here to see the various time commitments for each activity.

Student Supervision

As a supervisor or co-supervisor, you will act as a mentor to graduate students. Students look to you for guidance and support throughout their program. Genuine interest and enthusiasm, as well as kind, critical appraisal is highly valued. Students also meaningfully contribute to your research. Student supervision is reserved for Associate and Full IMS members. Associate members can supervise MSc students and Full members can supervise MSc and PhD students. If you are currently recruiting new students, please get in touch with the Student, Faculty Affairs and Awards Officer to update your Faculty profile  on our website. 

Program Advisory Committee (PAC) Member

Serving as a PAC member gives you the opportunity to provide guidance to a graduate student’s research project and connect with other faculty members. Supervisors and/or students will reach out to you directly about sitting on a PAC. PAC meetings are held every 6-8 months throughout a student’s program and are a vital part of the graduate student experience. 

PhD Examination Chair

IMS regularly solicits chairing requests for SGS Final Oral Examinations and, less frequently, PhD Departmental Oral Examinations. The non-voting examination chair is responsible for:

  • Running the examination proceedings - “keeping the peace”
  • Representing the IMS and SGS administration and conducting the examination according to the rules of procedure
  • Protecting the student’s interests
  • Ensuring that all examiners needed to achieve quorum are present, instructing those present as to their duties, instructing the Supervisor to carefully document items for revision and modification, discussing and finalizing the result of the exam, and reporting the outcome to IMS and SGS
  • The Exam Chair does not need to review the thesis

Chairing is a requirement of your IMS appointment, and is included as part of your participation inventory during departmental review for renewals and promotions. All Full and Emeritus-level Faculty are expected to serve annually as an Examination Chair for at least one PhD examination.

Examiner for Student Oral Examinations

You bring your own unique perspectives and critical evaluation to students’ research. This help us ensure the quality of our graduate programs. IMS supervisors will approach you directly to serve as an examiner, often in a dual capacity as either an examiner/chair or examiner/appraiser, for their students’ oral exams.

NB: IMS exam processes may differ from exam practices in other departments.

IMS Scientific Day – Judge

IMS Annual Scientific Day is the academic highlight of our year. The event celebrates student achievements, teaching excellence and provides opportunities for faculty and students to interact. We need faculty to participate as judges for our student competitions. Being a judge for our Alan Wu Poster Competition is a great way to learn more about the diverse research carried out by our students and to engage with other faculty members. If you are not able to attend the event, you can still participate as a volunteer to review manuscripts for the Laidlaw Manuscript Competition. If you would like to take part in Scientific Day please email

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

SURP is one of our most popular undergraduate programs. Undergraduate students from across Canada and internationally participate in this summer program where they conduct biomedical research in  laboratories across the city. We encourage all our faculty to serve as supervisors for these budding young researchers. The program includes weekly lectures (June – August) given by eminent researchers from U of T and culminates in SURP research day, which is held in mid-August each year.  Judges are needed for both the oral and poster presentations at our reseaerch day. Participating in SURP is a great way to recruit potential graduate students to your labs. Please contact the SURP Coordinator if you would like to participate in the SURP program. 


The IMS provides opportunities to gain teaching experience required for academic promotion. These include lecturing in existing courses, or developing and directing your own course.  IMS hosts full year, half year, and even quarter year course offerings, so you can tailor courses to the needs of students and to your own availability.  Teaching gives you exposure to potential PhD graduate students or post-doctoral fellows, and IMS also rewards teaching excellence with anual Best Lecturer and Best Course Director awards. If you are interested in contributing to course development, please get in touch with Prof. Nicole Harnett, Director, Curriculum. 


The IMS provides many opportunities to serve on committees, allowing you to bring your own vision to the IMS, contribute to the department’s strategic direction and advance your own career. The committees include the following: Awards Committee, Admissions Committee, Curriculum Committee, SAFE Committee, Student Recruitment Committee and the Graduate Faculty Appointments Committee. 

Career Mentorship Program 

The IMS Career Mentorship Program (CMP) matches upper year doctoral students with an alumni or faculty mentor in their desired career or field. Mentors provide one-on-one support and guidance for students in their professional development and career goals. CMP is also complemented by exclusive graduate professional development and social events for mentees.

Your involvement as a mentor will enhance your own career development, contribute to an enriching experience for students and positively impact the IMS community. Find out more here.