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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 graduate program progress. The formality of the meeting can range from an informal discussion to a more formal presentation of research findings and ideas. Usually, the student circulates a short report, and begins the meeting 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. Subsequent meetings should monitor progress.

The meeting should be attended by the student, supervisor and at least two members of the PAC. 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).

PAC forms and any related minutes must be forwarded by the student to Kaki Narh Blackwood in the IMS office either in person or by email (sf.medscience@utoronto.ca)  within 2 weeks of each meeting.


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 with 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. This form must also be submitted if PAC membership changes during the student’s program. Students 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 compliment 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 individuals (in addition to the supervisor and co-supervisor) with graduate appointments in the School of Graduate Studies. 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.   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

Only approved PAC members are eligible to participate in PAC meetings.

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

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.

PAC forms and any related minutes must be forwarded by the student to Kaki Narh Blackwood  in the IMS office either in person or by email (sf.medscience@utoronto.ca)  within 2 weeks of each meeting.

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