Promotions, Policy and Procedures Governing [April 20, 1980]

University of Toronto Governing Council

Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions

April 20, 1980

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

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Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions


1.    The University policy with respect to academic promotions is set out in the following paragraphs as approved by the Governing Council on April 20, 1978.

2.    The awarding by the University of a given rank confers a status which, in a general way, is acknowledged and respected both inside and outside the academic community. That this status is important to the academic community is evident from the fact that the Memorandum of Agreement between the Governing Council and the Faculty Association stipulates the preservation of the existing rank structure. There is a need to protect the qualifications for the rank in order that the status not be regarded as empty, once attained. These considerations require that the diversity of promotion practices among the various disciplines across the University be kept within reasonable limits. However, it is not necessary that all disciplines be forced into an absolute lockstep in their promotion policies. The policy herein allows for some degree of leeway in determining the point in a career when promotion is appropriate to permit flexibility in responding to competitive pressures for outstanding staff. It includes sufficiently broad criteria to allow a discipline to bring into play, in the assessment of its faculty, attributes which it considers particularly relevant for performance of its own academic role.

3.    In general terms the goal is to ensure, as far as is possible in a diverse community, that persons of a given rank may fairly be taken to possess certain attributes in common although not necessarily always in the same proportions. In what follows these attributes, and how the promotion process can be structured to safeguard the interests of both the individual faculty member and the University community, are discussed.

4.    Individual promotion decisions should not be influenced by preconceptions about a desirable pattern of rank distribution. With the skewing of faculty age distributions, caused by the present fiscal restraints following a period of rapid expansion, a discipline should not be alarmed at there being an unprecedented proportion of senior ranks among its faculty. This is exactly what a discipline blessed with a strong faculty should be experiencing, and any tendency to protect some historical distribution pattern should be resisted.

5.    This policy shall be implemented for all teaching staff on July 1, 1978.

6.        This policy applies to both full and part-time teaching staff with the exception noted in No. 9 below concerning promotion from Lecturer to Assistant Professor, and concerning promotion from Tutor as to Senior Tutor set out in Section 30 of the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments.

Criteria for Promotion and Their Assessment


7.    Promotion to Professor will be granted on the basis of the criteria outlined more fully below in paragraphs 11a, 12a and 13a. The greatest weight will be given to scholarly achievement or, where appropriate, creative professional work, and to high quality in teaching.

The successful candidate for promotion will be expected to have established a wide reputation in his or her field of interest, to be deeply engaged in scholarly work, and to have shown himself or herself to be an effective teacher. These are the main criteria. However, either excellent teaching alone or excellent scholarship alone, sustained over many years, could also in itself justify eventual promotion to the rank of Professor. Administrative or other service to the University and related activities will be taken into account in assessing candidates for promotion, but given less weight than the main criteria: promotion will not be based primarily on such service. Promotion to

Professor is not automatic, but it is expected that the majority of full-time tenured faculty at this University will continue to attain this rank.

Associate Professor

8.    The same criteria apply to the promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, with a lesser level of accomplishment to be expected. Because the criteria for the granting of tenure and the promotion to Associate Professor are so similar, and because the two decisions are usually made so closely in time, the granting of tenure should be accompanied by promotion to Associate Professor. The only exception to this policy is promotion to Associate Professor prior to the tenure decision. Proposals for promotion to Associate Professor prior to the tenure decision should be approved only in exceptional circumstances and must be justified in writing to the Dean1 of the Faculty in multi-departmental divisions and in all cases to the Vice-President and Provost. For promotion to Associate Professor not linked with a tenure decision (ie., early promotions and promotions in clinical departments), the procedures followed should be those outlined below for promotion to Professor in order to ensure an equivalent level of assessment of a candidate's abilities.

Assistant Professor

9.    Promotions from Lecturer to Assistant Professor are covered by Section II, 7 of the report "Policy and Procedures in Academic Appointments" and are not further considered here.

Promotion Criteria

10.    Promotion decisions will be based on the candidate's accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and service to the University. These criteria are discussed below in paragraphs 11a, 12a and 13a and recommendations on their assessment are set forth in paragraphs 11b, 12b and 13b.

Attributes of Scholarship

11a. Scholarly Activities. Scholarly activities to be considered in promotion decisions include research work and certain kinds of professional or artistic activity. Successful research leads to the advancement of knowledge through contributions of an original nature. It is expected that it will be communicated through the publication of books, articles, papers, reviews and other scholarly works. Creative work in professional and artistic fields may be expressed in other ways: these may include, for example, original architectural or engineering design, important artistic contributions, and original techniques in clinical or professional areas. In every case, evidence of originality and importance to the field is sought.

Assessment of Scholarship

11b. To assess his or her scholarly activity, the candidate's publications or other evidence must be evaluated. The evidence of scholarship will be listed in the candidate's curriculum vitae (see paragraph 15). The candidate is responsible for providing copies of his or her published work, and giving information about non-written work in an appropriate form, to the Chairman or Dean, who should arrange for its assessment by specialists in the candidate's field. The candidate may choose to provide unpublished work and work in progress for consideration but such work will not be communicated without the candidate's permission to those not involved within the University in the promotion decision. Confidential written assessments of the candidate's work should be obtained from specialists in the candidate's field from outside the University and whenever possible from inside the University. When a faculty member is or recently has been cross- appointed to another division, assessments of scholarship should be sought from the other division. The candidate will be invited to nominate several external referees. The Dean or Chairman and the Promotions Committee (see paragraph 18) will whenever possible add to the list of referees. The Dean or Chairman will solicit letters from at least three external referees and where possible these should include at least one referee suggested by the candidate and one referee suggested by the Promotions Committee. Where the Chairman solicits the letters, the referee should send a copy of the response to the Dean. The external referees will be asked to
compare the candidate's contributions with those of persons at a comparable stage in their careers. All referees' letters will be transmitted to the Promotions Committee and held in confidence by its members.

1 For Scarborough College, read Principal for Dean and read Division for Department throughout this policy. Scarborough academic staff appointed prior to January 1, 1972, who chose to remain members of an undergraduate department in the Faculty of Arts and Science, will continue to be considered for promotion by the Departmental and Decanal Promotions Committees in the Faculty of Arts and Science and recommended for promotion by the Chairman of the Department and the Dean.

For the School of Physical and Health Education, read Director for Dean throughout this policy.

Attributes of Good Teaching

12a. Teaching. Teaching includes lecturing, activity in seminars and tutorials, individual and group discussion, laboratory teaching, and any other means by which students derive educational benefit. Teaching effectiveness is demonstrated by the degree to which the candidate for promotion is able to stimulate and challenge the intellectual ability of students, to communicate academic material effectively, and to maintain a mastery of his or her subject areas. It also involves maintaining accessibility to students, and the ability to influence the intellectual and scholarly development of students.

Assessment of Teaching

12b. Written assessments of the candidate's teaching effectiveness will be prepared, in accordance with guidelines approved for the relevant department or division, and presented to the Promotions Committee. These guidelines specify the manner in which the division will provide the committee with evidence from the individual's peers and from students, and will offer the candidate the opportunity to supplement his or her file. Changes to divisional guidelines must be approved by the Vice-President and Provost and reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee.

Attributes of Service

13a. Service to the University and Similar Activities. Service to the University means primarily administrative or committee work within the University. Consideration will also be given to activities outside the University which further the scholarly and educational goals of the University. Such activities might include service to professional societies directly related to the candidate's discipline, continuing-education activities, work with professional, technical or scholarly organizations or scholarly publications, and membership on or service to governmental committees and commissions. Outside activities are not meant to include general service to the community unrelated to the candidate's scholarly or teaching activities however praiseworthy such service may be.

Assessment of Service

13b. When appropriate, written assessments of the candidate's service to the University and to learned societies or professional associations which relate to the candidate's academic discipline and scholarly or professional activities will be prepared and presented to the Promotions Committee. When a candidate for promotion is or has been cross-appointed, assessments will be sought from all of the divisions in which the candidate has served and should be taken fully into account by the Promotions Committee.

Clinical Appointments

14.    Full-time Faculty in clinical departments in the Faculty of Medicine shall be covered by the sections above. For part-time clinical appointments in the Faculty of Medicine the following policy applies:

Clinical part-time Appointments

14a. In clinical departments of the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, the following policy should be followed for part-time staff:

i. The same criteria of promotion shall be considered for part-time staff as for full-time staff. These include teaching, scholarship and creative professional development, and University service. In addition, the calibre and extent of the part-time staff member's clinical function may be considered.
ii. While expected calibre of achievement should be similar for part-time and full-time staff members, the expected extent of achievement shall differ.
iii. Recognizing that part-time staff may have less opportunity for, or expectation of, involvement in creative professional work or clinical research, greater weight might be assigned to teaching and University service in judging accomplishments.
iv. The relative weight to be given to scholarship and creative professional development should increase with the level of promotion under consideration. For promotion to full professor, there should be no distinction in the expected calibre of achievement in this area between part-time and full-time staff.
v. The procedures to be followed in considering part-time staff for promotion should be the same as for full-time staff except that the extent of required documentation may be reduced commensurate with the nature of the appointment. It shall be sufficient to permit a judgement of the calibre of achievement.


15.    The fullest possible documentation should be made available to the Promotions Committee for each candidate to be given detailed consideration (see paragraphs 20 and 21). The responsibility for assembling the documents will be taken by the Chairman of the department in multi- department divisions, otherwise by the dean of the Faculty.

Curriculum Vitae

16.    The preparation of a curriculum vitae will be the responsibility of the candidate. The curriculum vitae should include:

(a) The academic history of the candidate giving a list of all teaching and research appointments held, other relevant experience and achievements, and a list of all research or other contracts and grants obtained during the preceding five years.
(b) a list of the candidate's scholarly and/or creative professional work. This should include books, chapters in books, research papers, articles, and reviews, including work published, in press, submitted for publication, completed but not yet published, and in progress. It should also include such scholarly or creative professional work as the 
presentation of papers at meetings and symposia, original architectural, artistic or engineering design, or distinguished contributions to the arts or in professional areas.
(c)    A list of all courses taught by the candidate during the preceding five years. If the candidate has had major responsibility for the design of a course, this should be stated. A list of students whose research work has been supervised should be included, together with their thesis topics and the dates of the period of supervision.
(d)    A list of administrative positions held within the University, major committees and organizations in which the candidate has served within the University, and participation in learned societies and professional associations which relate to the candidate's academic discipline and scholarly or professional activities. The list should indicate in each case the period of service and the nature of the candidate's participation.

Procedural Matters

Responsibility for Recommendations

17.    Initiation of the promotional review of an academic staff member will be the responsibility of the division in which the individual holds his or her major appointment. Chairmen and Deans must ensure that Promotions Committees are established and consulted as described below. Paragraphs 18 through 24 below are written for Chairmen in the multi-departmental faculties, of Arts and Science, Applied Science and Engineering, Medicine, Architecture and Landscape Architecture. In divisions without a departmental structure the Dean will have the responsibilities described. In these instances, Faculty should be read for Department and Vice-President and Provost should be read for Dean.

Curriculum Vitae on File

18.    Each Department will maintain a curriculum vitae file for each academic staff member who is tenured or in the tenure stream. Chairmen should remind staff members to revise their curricula vitae annually. It is thus a joint responsibility of the Chairman and the staff member to ensure that this file is kept current. An academic staff member may revise his or her curriculum vitae at any time.

Promotions Committee

19.    There will be no fewer than 5 members of the academic staff on Departmental Promotions Committees. Normally the Chairman of the Promotions Committee will be the Chairman of the department or his or her designate. A committee member who is being considered for promotion will withdraw from that part of any meeting in which he or she is being discussed. The membership of the Promotions Committee will be made known to the academic staff of the Department and where possible should change in membership over the years. The deliberations of the Committee, and the appraisals presented to it, will remain confidential. In non-departmental divisions the Promotions Committee will be augmented by the appointment of a non-voting assessor appointed by the Vice-President and Provost. In multi-departmental divisions this assessor will be added to the Decanal Committee referred to in paragraphs 25 and 26 below.
A clear written record shall be kept by all promotions committees of the basis for each recommendation.

Annual Consideration

20.    Each year the Department Chairman will place before the Promotions Committee for preliminary consideration the names of all Associate Professors in the Department, together with their curricula vitae. The Committee will advise the Chairman as to which staff members should receive more detailed consideration for promotion.

Requests for Consideration

21.    Associate Professors may request that they be considered for promotion in any given year. Such requests are to be made in writing to the Chairman of the department on or before October 15 of the calendar year preceding the possible promotion. In this case, the Promotions Committee is obliged to give the faculty member detailed consideration along with any other candidates under consideration.

Assembling of Information

22.    When a candidate is to receive detailed consideration for promotion, it is the responsibility of the Chairman in multi-departmental faculties to provide the Dean of the Faculty with a list of external referees. The Dean or Chairman will then solicit the appraisals. Where the Chairman solicits the appraisals the referee should send a copy of the response to the Dean. It is also the responsibility of the Chairman to assemble information as described in paragraph 11b, 12b, and 13b. When a candidate is cross-appointed to another division of the University, the Chairman of the home division will solicit the list of external referees from the Chairman of the other division to which the candidate is appointed.

Submission of Recommendation

23.    The Departmental Promotions Committee will recommend candidates for promotion to the Chairman of the Department, who is responsible for making recommendations with respect to promotions to the Dean of the Faculty. Along with the names of those recommended for promotion, the Chairman will forward the files on which the Departmental decision was based. If the Chairman of the Department does not follow the recommendations of the Promotions Committee in submitting his or her recommendations to the Dean, the Chairman must report the reasons in writing to the members of the Promotions Committee and to the Dean. A substantial disagreement within the Promotions Committee concerning the recommendation forwarded from the Committee will also be reported to the Dean. The submissions must be made at least five months before promotion is intended to take place. The Dean will then forward the divisional recommendations to the Vice-President and Provost as described in paragraph 26 below.

Informing Candidates

24.    Each candidate who was given detailed consideration by the Departmental Promotions Committee will be informed by the Chairman of the Department of the recommendation in his or her case. Candidates who received detailed consideration and who were not recommended for promotion will be given the reasons. If the Chairman did not accept a positive recommendation from the Promotions Committee, the candidate shall be informed of this fact.

Decanal Committee

25.    Paragraphs 25 and 26 apply only to multi-departmental faculties. The Dean of such a faculty, in consultation with Chairmen, will establish annually a Decanal Promotions Committee to consider recommendations for promotion. The membership of the Decanal Promotions committee will be made known to the academic staff of the Faculty. The Decanal Promotions Committee may obtain additional information about or appraisals of the candidates as it deems necessary. The deliberations of the Committee and the appraisals will remain confidential except among the
Vice-President and Provost, the Dean and the Chairman of the candidate's Department. The Decanal Promotions Committee is advisory to the Dean.

Decanal Recommendations

26.    The Dean will inform the Chairmen of the Departments of the names of those to be recommended for promotion. Department Chairmen have the right to appear before a subsequent meeting of the Decanal Committee to support the case of any candidate they have recommended but who has not been included in the Dean's recommendations. The Dean will submit to the Vice-President and Provost the names of all those he or she is finally recommending for promotion and will inform his or her Promotions Committee and the Departmental Chairmen of these recommendations. The Chairman will inform the candidates who were considered by the Decanal Promotions Committee of the Dean's recommendations. The Chairman will be given the reasons for decanal decisions not to recommend promotions which were recommended by the Chairman and the Chairman in turn will inform the candidate of the reasons. The Dean's recommendations for promotions must be forwarded to the Vice-President and Provost at least three months before promotions are to take place. The Dean will make available to the Vice-President and Provost upon request any information used in reaching the decisions to recommend at the departmental and faculty levels.

Provost's Review

27.    The Vice-President and Provost, advised by the Decanal Promotions Committee assessors, will examine all recommendations to ensure that a reasonable and equitable standard for promotion is applied across the University, taking into account the differing patterns of activity which characterize each division. The extent of the review at the provostial level may vary and may be more extensive for candidates who have not already been considered by both Departmental and Decanal Committees. Recommendations approved by the Vice-President and Provost will be submitted to the President of the University for final approval. If either the Vice-President and Provost or the President do not approve a recommendation for a promotion, the reasons shall be given to the Dean who in turn will inform the Chairman of the Department and the candidate. Recommendations approved by the President will be reported to the Academic Affairs Committee for information. The promotion will take effect July 1 following the approval unless otherwise specified by the President and the new rank will apply to all academic appointments held by the individual in the University.

Appeal Procedures

Grounds for Appeal

28.    Appeals against the denial of promotion may be launched on either or both of two grounds:
(a)    that the procedures described in this document have not been properly followed, or
(b)    that the scholarship, teaching and service of the candidate have not been evaluated fully or fairly.

Appeal for Reconsideration

29.    Appeals against the denial of promotion will follow the Grievance Procedure set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Governing Council of the University of Toronto and The University of Toronto Faculty Association dated June 28, 1977 amended from time to time, except as follows: at Step No. 2 and Step No. 3, the Dean and the Vice-President and Provost respectively will have thirty (30) working-days to notify the grievor in writing of the decision; if a grievance which involves promotion contains issues other than promotion, these other issues will also be subject to the time limit of 30 working-days at both the decanal  and  provostial levels. Appeals against the denial of promotion at the departmental level will  commence  at Step No. 1 of the Grievance Procedure; those against denial at the faculty level at Step No.2; and those against denial at the provostial level at Step No. 3. Appeals against the denial of  promotion  at  the presidential level will commence with Step No. 4 of the Grievance Procedure.

RELATED DOCUMENTS (Added for reference by the Secretariat, March 6, 2020)

Memorandum of Agreement between the Governing Council and the Faculty Association

Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments