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Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

The Meeting

The Program Advisory Committee (PAC) meetings are documented meetings of the student, supervisor and other members of the supervisory committee.
The purpose of the meeting is to review the student’s research and progress in the graduate program. The student circulates a short report PAC Research Report and their previous PAC report to each of their PAC members one week (seven calendar days) in advance of each PAC meeting. The PAC meeting commences with an overview of research and other academic activities, followed by discussion.

Do NOT wait for experimental results before setting up a meeting! At the first meeting, the student should present an outline of their proposal including the course work to be undertaken. At the second meeting (near the end of the first year), the student should present a review of the pertinent literature, an update on course completion, and an overview of the hypothesis and experimental approach to be undertaken as well as results obtained. Subsequent meetings should monitor progress.

The meeting should be attended by the student, supervisor and at least two members of the PAC. A PAC member, other than the supervisor/co-supervisor, will act as the designated “Chair” of the committee. However, if there are scheduling difficulties for a single member, the meeting should proceed without that member so long as it is not the final PAC meeting (at which all members must be present). In the case of repeated instances of scheduling difficulties, the student and supervisor should consider replacing that member (please meet with a Graduate Coordinator to discuss).

Students are required to submit the PAC forms and related minutes (as a PDF) to the Student, Faculty Affairs and Awards Officer (sf.medscience@utoronto.ca) and to every member of your thesis committee within office within 2 weeks of each meeting. The subject line of the email: Next Committee Meeting: October 1, 2019 @2 p.m. (or whatever date you agreed upon).

The IMS office will confirm receipt of your submission once it has been reviewed and approved. This will take approximately two weeks.

FrequencyMembers PAC Report

To remain in good standing, a documented PAC meeting must be held every 6 months at a minimum. Failure to meet this requirement could jeopardize a student’s standing in the program. PhD students who have not had at least 4 meetings within the first 3 years of their program may not achieve candidacy.

  • A student who has failed to meet with the supervisory committee within a given year will be considered to have received an unsatisfactory progress report from the committee.
  • The first meeting must take place within the first six months after admission (by February for September entry students, and by June for January entry students).
  • Students are also encouraged to meet informally with committee members as often as necessary.

All IMS students are required to submit the proposed membership of their PAC to the IMS using the PAC Approval Form by December 1 for September entry students, and April 1 for January entry students. The student and supervisor jointly choose the supervisory committee, which MUST be approved by IMS BEFORE the first committee meeting is arranged. This form must also be submitted if PAC membership changes during the student’s program. Students and committee members will be notified by email of approval.

The PAC members’ function is to provide expertise in the areas relevant to the thesis topic and should complement the supervisor’s own research interests. The committee members assess, encourage, and motivate the student, as well as provide guidance and mentoring. If this is the supervisor’s first graduate student supervision, an experienced IMS graduate faculty member must be included on the PAC.

The PAC must include at least two other faculty members (in addition to the supervisor and co-supervisor) with graduate appointments in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Only SGS appointed faculty are permitted to serve on a PAC. Not all U of T faculty members have a graduate appointment with SGS.  Any faculty member without a graduate (SGS) appointment cannot attend meetings, sign paperwork or act as an official member on the PAC.   Only approved PAC members are eligible to participate in PAC meetings.

Of these two committee members:

  • At least one of these must be a Faculty member who has an arm’s length relationship with the supervisor and the student (i.e. not a collaborator, spouse, etc.)
  • At least one of these must have expertise different from that of the Supervisor.
  • Please note that one committee member may fulfill multiple (or even all) of these criteria. The choice of additional committee members is not restricted with respect to their research, departmental affiliation, or arm’s length relationship with the student/supervisor.
  • A PAC member, other than the supervisor/co-supervisor, will act as the designated “Chair” of the committee.

Disagreements among PAC members should be brought to the attention of the Chair of the Committee.  If necessary, an IMS Graduate Coordinator can attend a student’s PAC meeting.

You can determine the graduate faculty status of a proposed PAC member by checking with :

(a) the faculty member;

(b) the SGS Graduate Faculty listing;

(c) the IMS Faculty Search Tool;

(d) the IMS Student and Faculty Affairs Coordinator at sf.medscience@utoronto.ca

The IMS PAC Report (or ITER form for students enrolled in the Clinician Investigator Program within a Faculty of Medicine clinical department) should be obtained by the student ahead of the meeting. Please note that if you are in the CIP stream of the seminar course but are not enrolled concurrently in the CIP program, you must use the IMS PAC report form. PAC forms and any related minutes must be forwarded by the student to the IMS office within 2 weeks of each meeting. All PAC reports are reviewed by IMS office staff and the IMS Graduate Coordinators. Documentation (IMS PAC Report or CIP ITER form) of the meeting is an essential part of the student record, and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the documentation is provided to the IMS office in a timely fashion. Students and supervisors must retain a copy of the form for their own records.

Students are required to submit the PAC forms and related minutes (as a PDF) to the Student, Faculty Affairs and Awards Officer (sf.medscience@utoronto.ca) and to every member of your thesis committee within office within 2 weeks of each meeting. The subject line of the email: Next Committee Meeting: October 1, 2019 @2 p.m. (or whatever date you agreed upon).

If a student receives two consecutive unsatisfactory reports, the IMS may recommend termination of the registration and eligibility of that student according to the SGS guidelines.