Promotion to Professor

Process Overview

Multi-department Faculty (MDF)Single-Department Faculty (SDF)UTM/UTSC – Graduate Department in MDFUTM/UTSC – Graduate Department in SDF
First-Level Review Departmental Promotions Committee Faculty Promotions Committee Departmental Promotions Committee Departmental Promotions Committee
Second-Level Review Decanal Promotions Committee Office of the Vice-President and Provost Tri Campus Arts & Science Promotions Committee Membership includes:
  • Dean and Vice-Principal UTM
  • Dean and Vice-Principal UTSC
  • Provostial Assessor
Tri-campus Decanal Promotions Committee Membership includes:
  • Dean and Vice-Principal UTM
  • Dean and Vice-Principal UTSC
  • Dean of Relevant Single-Department Faculty (or designate)
  • Vice-Provost, Graduate Education (Chair and Provostial Assessor)
Approval Path Notification to Provost’s Office Provostial Approval Required Notification to Provost’s Office Notification to Provost’s Office
Notification Chair informs Candidate Dean informs Candidate Chair informs Candidate Chair informs Candidate
For Information Academic Board Academic Board Academic Board Academic Board

Relevant Policies

The information in this manual provides guidance on implementing policy but in all instances, the policies are binding and take precedence over the information provided in this manual.

Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions

Levels of Review

In all situations, there are two levels of review of dossiers for promotion before the list of names of those recommended for promotion are approved by the Provost and submitted to the Academic Board for information. In each case, the membership of unit level and division level committees should be made known.

Multi-departmental Faculties

In multi-departmental faculties, the first level of review occurs at the unit level, followed by review and approval at the divisional level. At the unit level the committee is chaired by the Chair or Unit Head, while at the Faculty or Division level, it is chaired by the Dean. Divisional Promotions committees can obtain additional information about or appraisals of the candidates as it deems necessary. All deliberations of the Committee are confidential. The Divisional Promotions Committee is advisory to the Dean.

In May of 1996, responsibility for the final review of promotion dossiers was devolved to the divisions for Arts & Science, UTSC, UTM, Applied Science and Engineering, Medicine, and OISE. Once the final divisional review has been accomplished, the following details are sent to the Provost for information:

  • Membership of the divisional promotions committee
  • Number of faculty considered for promotion
  • Number recommended for promotion
  • Number who were recommended unanimously
  • Number who were recommended with more than one negative vote
  • Number who were recommended on teaching alone
  • Number of cases in which creative professional practice played a key role.

In addition, an updated copy of the relevant guidelines on teaching and creative professional practice should be submitted.

UTM/UTSC With Graduate Departments in a Multi-department Faculty (e.g., Arts & Science)

As in multi-department Faculties, the first level of review occurs at the unit level. The second level of review occurs through the mechanism of the Tri-campus Faculty of Arts & Science Decanal Promotions Committee. Membership of this committee includes:

  • Dean and Vice Principal of UTM
  • Dean and Vice Principal of UTSC
  • Provostial Assessor

The relevant Dean acts as Chair of the committee for the consideration of candidates from their division for promotion.

UTM/UTSC With Graduate Departments in a Single-Department Faculty (e.g., Management, Humanities)

As in multi-department Faculties, the first level of review occurs at the unit level. The second level of review occurs through the mechanism of the Tri-Campus Decanal Promotions Committee. Membership of this committee includes:

  • Dean and Vice-Principal of UTM
  • Dean and Vice-Principal of UTSC
  • Dean of relevant single-department Faculty (or designate)
  • Vice-Provost, Graduate Education

The Vice-Provost, Graduate Education acts as the Provostial Assessor and Chair of the committee.

Single-Departmental Faculties

In single-department Faculties, the first level of review is the Faculty Promotions Committee which includes a Provostial Assessor and is chaired by the Dean. The second level of review is conducted by the Provost.

Establishing the Promotions Committee


Promotions committees should be established no later than September.

To facilitate the early review of CVs, you may choose to begin this process much earlier (e.g., in April/May to coincide with the submission of CVs for PTR).


Promotions committees must consist of at least five members of the academic staff. In single department faculties this membership will be augmented by the appointment of a non-voting Provostial Assessor. The membership of the Promotions Committee will be made known to the academic staff of the unit and where possible should change over the years. It is preferable to have a majority of faculty at the rank of professor on the committee. Any committee members who are being considered for promotion must withdraw from that part of the meeting in which they are being discussed.

You may want to consider having at least six members on the committee so that in the event that a member is unavailable, you will still have quorum.

An internal Teaching Evaluation Committee should be established to assist the Promotions Committee in reviewing the materials submitted in regards to teaching evaluation, conducting teaching observations, analyzing the course evaluations and preparing a report to be included in the dossier. Where an internal Teaching Evaluation Committee is used at the first level of review, it is not necessary to submit all the course evaluations or teaching materials to the committee which conducts the second level of review (e.g., at the divisional or Provostial level).

Preliminary Consideration by the Promotions Committee

The names and CVs of all Associate Professors in the unit should be brought forward by the Chair for preliminary consideration by the first-level promotions committee. In considering each Associate Professor, reference should be made to the criteria for promotion as outlined in sections 7 and 8 of the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions. In the case of individuals being considered for promotion on the basis of excellent teaching alone, special reference should be made to divisional guidelines for the evaluation of teaching activities.

If you choose to conduct the initial review of CVs in conjunction with PTR, you will need to allow for the potential of a second meeting if there is a change to the CVs of eligible faculty members (e.g., receipt of a grant, new manuscript).

Associate Professors may also request consideration for promotion. Such requests should be submitted in writing to the Chair prior to October 15. The individuals should be requested to supply the documentation required and be given full consideration by the Promotions Committee.

Deliberations of the Promotions Committee

The deliberations of the Committee, and the appraisals presented to it are confidential. Once a promotion dossier (see below) has been compiled for each candidate, the Promotions Committee meets again to deliberate. Recommendations for promotion are then submitted to the second level committee for approval.

The Promotions Dossier

Promotion dossier checklist

*Please note that some MDF’s have supplemental checklists based on faculty-specific processes. Please be sure to read this checklist in accordance with any faculty-specific requirements/documentation.

Each case for promotion must be supported by a fully documented dossier on the candidate’s achievements. A well-constructed promotion dossier should be divided into six major sections. Translations must be included for material submitted in languages other than English or French.

Chair’s Report

A report or covering letter recommending the promotion should be submitted by the Chair of the Promotions Committee for every candidate. In order to fairly reflect the evidence, the Chair’s comments should reflect both adverse and positive statements appearing in the documentation. A factor such as the candidate’s having a book coming out in the near future or a manuscript in press should be noted. In these cases a publisher’s review or assessment should be appended. In cases where matters are unclear in the documentation, for example, the quality of the journals in which the candidate has published or the qualifications of the referees, the Chair should take the opportunity in their report to comment on their significance.

Curriculum Vitae

The preparation of the CV will be the responsibility of the candidate. The CV should include:

  • 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 since the previous promotion.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Internal Assessments

Wherever possible, assessments should be received from individuals within the University with expertise in the candidate’s field. These should be drawn from the unit and from divisions in which the candidate has been appointed. Assessors should normally be Professors. Opinions should not be solicited from persons who are not familiar with the candidate’s work. Neither should the candidate’s former thesis supervisor, co-authors and former students be assessors, although letters of support from such individuals are often valuable.

External Assessments

According to the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions, a minimum of three external appraisals are required. As in the case of internal assessors, external referees should normally be Professors. Former supervisors, co-authors, and former students should not act as external referees. The candidate should be asked to nominate external referees and, wherever possible, at least one of the candidate’s nominees must be chosen. The names of all external referees should be listed in two categories — persons suggested by the candidate and those suggested by the Chair. This list should be included in the dossier with the letters of appraisal from the external referees. The Chair should include a short statement describing the qualifications of each external referee.

It is not necessary to send a complete portfolio to external reviewers. The Chair and the candidate should choose a few (perhaps five) best works to send to external reviewers.

When writing to prospective referees it is important to outline the criteria for promotion applied at the University of Toronto (please refer to and include a copy of the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions, sections 7 to 13b in the information sent to reviewers). Since it takes considerable time for referees to review a candidate’s work and submit their assessment letter, the process of deciding on and writing to external referees should begin as soon as possible after it is known that the candidate is being put forward for promotion.

Teaching Evaluation Criteria

The Policy requires that “written assessments of the candidate’s teaching effectiveness will be prepared, in accordance with guidelines approved for the relevant department or division.” This is most easily facilitated by the use of an internal teaching committee who prepare a report based on the relevant guidelines and who would review the courses taught by the candidates, pay classroom visits where possible, analyze the teaching evaluations, and prepare reports to be included in the dossiers. All Promotion Committee members should receive a copy of the divisional guidelines for the evaluation of teaching in tenure and promotion.

All candidates for promotion must be shown to demonstrate effectiveness in teaching. The Policy requires that “the fullest possible documentation should be made available to the promotions committee.” At the least, promotion dossiers should include course evaluations for every course taught by the candidate over the past five years — including those taught in cross-appointed units/divisions. In the case of candidate’s being put forward on the basis of “excellent teaching alone sustained over many years,” evaluations should be obtained on their teaching throughout their entire career at the University. Moreover, such candidates must demonstrate excellence in more than classroom performance.

Student Opinion

In all cases, student opinion should be solicited following the process set out in the divisional guidelines for the assessment of teaching. Opinions should be sought from a representative sample of graduate students named in the candidate’s CV. All letters received must be included in the dossier but should not be circulated to external reviewers. These letters should be treated as confidential.

Decanal Review

Multi-department Faculties

In multi-department Faculties, the Unit Head is responsible for making recommendations with respect to promotions to the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean will be responsible for notifying the Provost of those who have been promoted.

The Dean informs the Unit Heads of those who are to be recommended for promotion. The Unit Head has the right to appear before a meeting of the Decanal Committee to support the case of any candidates they have recommended but who has not been included in the Dean’s recommendation. In most cases, the Dean submits a list of those approved for promotion as per section 1D.2.1.

Recommendations for promotion must be submitted to the Provost’s Office at least three months before the promotion is intended to take place (e.g., submit by April 1 for normal promotion date of July 1).

Single-Department Faculties

In single-department Faculties, the dossier for each candidate selected for detailed consideration is submitted for review to the decanal committee. The Dean will be responsible for making recommendations to the Provost. Along with the names of those recommended for promotion, the Dean will forward to the Provost the files on which the decision of the decanal committee was based. If an internal Teaching Evaluation Committee is used, it is only necessary to submit the report of the Teaching Evaluation Committee and the student opinion (it is not necessary to submit the bulk of the teaching materials or five years’ worth of course evaluations). If the Dean does not follow the recommendations of the Promotions Committee, they must submit their reasons in writing to the members of the Committee and to the Provost.

The Dean submits promotions dossiers to the Vice-President and Provost of all those who are being recommend for promotion and informs the Promotions Committee of these recommendations. The Dean’s recommendations for promotions must be forwarded to the Provost at least three months before promotions are to take place.

Provost’s Review

The Provost examines all recommendations to ensure that reasonable and equitable standards for promotion are applied across the University, taking into account the differing patterns of activity which characterize each division. Recommendations approved by the Provost will be submitted to the President of the University for final approval. If the Provost or President does not approve a recommendation for promotion, the Dean will be given reasons. It is the Dean’s responsibility to inform the relevant Unit Head and candidate. Recommendations approved by the President will be reported to Academic Board. Unless otherwise specified by the President, all promotions will take effect as of the July 1 following approval.

Informing Candidates

Each candidate who is given detailed consideration by the Unit-level Promotions Committee will be informed by the Unit Head of the recommendation in their case. Candidates who received detailed consideration and who were not recommended for promotion will be given reasons. If the Unit Head did not accept a positive recommendation from the Promotions Committee, the candidate will be informed of this fact.