Academic Offices, Policy on Assignment and Usage of [February 14, 2002]

University of Toronto  
Governing Council  

Policy on  
Assignment and Usage of Academic Offices  

February 14, 2002

To request an official copy of this policy, contact:

The Office of the Governing Council
Room 106, Simcoe Hall
27 King’s College Circle University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1A1



As faculty office space is in very short supply it is appropriate to affirm policy as it relates to the assignment of offices to faculty members and ensure that a consistent and fair approach exists for the implementation of the policy across the St. George, UTM, UTSC and Downsview campuses. The policy is essentially to assign, as should normally be the case, a single office to each full-time academic faculty member. Only under exceptional circumstances should a second dedicated office be assigned.

All tenured and tenure-stream academic staff members, all full-time lecturers as well as full-time academic staff working under contract are assigned an office for their use to carry out academic responsibilities. All academic offices will be assigned to an individual on the particular campus, either St. George, UTM, UTSC, or Downsview, where their major academic appointment is held and from where their salary is paid. Academics who perform functions such as teaching, research and or administration duties on a second or even third campus will not be assigned a second office on these campuses, but can request the use of shared office facilities. Shared academic offices will typically contain 2-3 desks within the standard 13 nasm [net assignable square metre] faculty office; sometimes it will be possible to assign a specific desk to an individual when such space exists, otherwise all desks will be communal and available on demand or time scheduled to facilitate the maximum usage. The precise assignment of office space should depend on the anticipated contribution that each occupant will make to that unit. This will be determined by the academic head of the unit. Lockable filing cabinets will be available within shared offices as space permits.

Cross Appointments: Similarly, when an academic is cross-appointed within two or more faculties or colleges on one campus, only one dedicated office will be assigned within that faculty or college where the major share of the appointment is held. Furthermore, when an academic is active within an institute or centre, only one dedicated office should be assigned, either within the institute/centre or in the home department/faculty. The analogous situation exists when a faculty member is assigned an office within a department but is also a fellow within a federated or constituent college.

Adjunct Appointments and Professors Emeritus: Individual offices will not be assigned to adjunct appointees, and/or individuals who contribute through stipend teaching; in these cases a shared office(s) will be assigned by the department/faculty which will typically accommodate more than three individuals within a standard office. Furthermore, offices are not automatically assigned to Professors Emeriti; individual requests should be considered by departmental chairs and assessed in the context of the total contribution to the department/faculty; typically, such offices would be shared by three individuals.

Research and Unpaid Leave: Every effort should also be made to ensure that the offices of faculty members, currently on a research leave and away from campus, are sensibly used during any extended absence. Typically, should an office be available, even for a very short period of time of a few weeks, the goal should be to use such offices for visitors, or possibly stipend teaching staff with heavy single term assignments etc. Individuals on unpaid leave of absence are not automatically entitled to a dedicated office and can be assigned shared office accommodation [depending on their contribution to the unit during this period] or rent space if such is available.

Implementation: Exceptions to these principles, which might allow for a second dedicated office being assigned to a faculty member, will require the approval of a Dean, or Deans when two faculties are involved, or a Dean and a college Principal when faculties and colleges on the same campus [St. George specifically] are linked by an appointment, or a Dean from the St. George campus and the Principal of either UTM and or UTSC.

This policy, once approved by Governing Council, should be implemented immediately with no grand-parenting provisions. Certain situations will understandably take a brief while to sort out the appropriate solution, yet even these should be moved forward to ensure fair conformance with the intent of the policy.

All members of the University are encouraged to be cognizant of the urgent need to use all space effectively over extended hours to maximize the substantial investment in these facilities. Whenever possible we need to improve our space utilization and seek ways to free up space that will minimize new capital project expenditures and allow these funds to be directed to support the operating costs of the University.