Graduate Faculty Appointment Procedures

From the Department’s perspective, the primary purpose of a Graduate Faculty appointment is to enhance the Department’s breadth and depth of expertise for the supervision of graduate student thesis projects, the teaching of graduate courses and the provision of additional elements of the Department’s graduate program requirements. The Department therefore feels that the quality of the students’ graduate training experience and of the Pharmacology Graduate Studies program as a whole must be preserved through careful consideration of the qualifications and contributions of candidates who wish to receive and maintain Graduate Faculty membership status. 

Investigators with appropriate training and experience may apply for appointment as Members of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Suitable applicants will normally hold a doctoral degree in their field of research, possess several years of relevant post-doctoral and other self-directed research experience, and show ample evidence of independence, excellent research productivity and interpersonal attributes consistent with effective student supervision. 

Revised November, 2014

Overview of Graduate Faculty Membership Responsibilities

Supervision of graduate students is both a privilege and a responsibility. Because of the important role that a graduate supervisor plays in the student’s successful completion of a graduate program, it is important that full-time tenured faculty, cross-appointed and status-only staff must all meet the same qualifications for either new or renewal Membership in the Graduate Faculty of the Department. External applicants from other University of Toronto departments, affiliated institutes or teaching hospitals must first apply for and receive from the Departmental Chair either a cross-appointment or a status-only appointment in the Department before they can be considered for appointment to the Graduate Faculty. Adjunct faculty status, which is reserved for investigators with employment at other universities or in non-academic settings, does not normally include qualification for Graduate Faculty membership. 

Graduate Faculty Members are fully responsible for the salary support of each graduate student to whom they provide supervision, according to minimum stipend amounts as outlined in Departmental policies. They are also required to provide the laboratory operating costs of the student’s research, and must be able to demonstrate and ensure their ability to provide this funding for the full term of the student’s training. Other requirements include evidence of appropriate research space and equipment, student desk and the supervisor’s release time, which normally will include meeting with the graduate student on at least a weekly basis. Students with strong academic records may be encouraged to apply for competitive awards that help to defray the cost to the supervisor for their salary. The Department will also make every effort to equitably distribute University of Toronto Open Fellowship stipends to assist the supervisor in providing student salary support. 

In the case of Graduate Faculty Members employed by affiliated institutions other than the University of Toronto, that institution must comply with the University of Toronto’s policies on intellectual property and ethical standards of research. For applicants not employed by the University of Toronto, all of the above conditions must be specified in an accompanying letter from the appropriate senior institutional officer responsible for the candidate’s activities. Since the essence of graduate training involves publication of the student’s research, this is a requirement for Graduate Faculty appointment. 

Supervisors of graduate students must ensure that their students regularly participate in the normal training and related activities on campus, including required course work, seminars, the annual student research day and other regular interactions with students and faculty in the Department whether the primary training site is the St. George campus of the University or elsewhere. 

In addition to providing direct and regular graduate student supervision and full financial support, all Graduate Faculty have the following responsibilities:

  • participation in graduate course instruction;
  • provision of Ph.D. student tutorial and laboratory practicum module session instruction;
  • membership on students' graduate thesis supervisory committees;
  • service as examiner and/or voting member on M.Sc. and Ph.D. thesis defenses; service as an assessor for 1st year M.Sc./Ph.D. seminars;
  • service as Chair of Senate Oral Examinations for other Division IV departments (full members only).

For the activities listed above, the ability to provide a minimum of twenty (20) contact hours per year is expected from each Graduate Faculty member.  This is in addition to the supervision and direct contact with the Graduate Faculty member's own graduate students. 

Graduate Faculty members are also expected to participate in the following activities: 

  • periodic presentation of a research seminar in the Departmental Seminar Series;
  • attendance at Department-sponsored seminars and research symposia;
  • attendance at regularly scheduled Departmental Staff Meetings;
  • provision of annual research and teaching records for various departmental reports;
  • service on various Departmental administrative committees.

Application Procedure

Investigators interested in Graduate Faculty appointment may have research interests and graduate student training opportunities available in one or more of the following research areas: 

  • Behavioral Pharmacology and Drug Addiction
  • Biochemical and Molecular Pharmacology
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular, Smooth Muscle and Respiratory Pharmacology
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Drug Metabolism, Distribution and Pharmacokinetics
  • Endocrine Pharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Receptor Pharmacology and Signal Transduction
  • Toxicology

A list of current Graduate Faculty members in each of the listed research areas may be found on the Departmental Graduate Studies website. Investigators with research interests that are synergistic with, or complementary to existing Departmental areas of strength are also encouraged to apply for Graduate Faculty membership in order to further enhance the breadth of the student training experience. 

A candidate for appointment will submit to the Graduate Studies Coordinator an application package that contains the following documents: 

1) A covering letter providing the rationale for appointment, particularly indicating:

  • Departmental research group(s) relevant to the applicant’s expertise; 
  • Expected contributions to graduate student supervision and graduate course instruction; 
  • Existing or potential collaborations with full-time members of the Graduate Department.  If possible, this should be discussed in advance with the collaborating members; 
  • Current grant support or alternative sources of revenue for funding graduate students and the operating costs of their research; 
  • In regard to the student’s publication of their research, the applicant’s agreement to comply with the University of Toronto’s policies on intellectual property and ethical standards of research; 

2) A letter from the appropriate senior institutional officer confirming: 

  • The availability of laboratory facilities and equipment described by the appointee as necessary for the student’s research; 
  • The source of funding for student support and research operating costs; 
  • The institution’s agreement to comply with the University of Toronto’s policies on intellectual property and ethical standards of research. 

3) Curriculum Vitae: An up-to-date CV, including: 

  • Previous experience, if any, in undergraduate and graduate student co-supervision and graduate course instruction; contributions to undergraduate teaching will also be taken into consideration. 
  • Research publications: papers in peer-reviewed journals should be listed separately from reviews, book chapters, abstracts and other publications. The names of all co-authors should be listed. Of particular importance are research papers in journals of high quality with the candidate as the first or senior (last) author, published beyond the candidate’s training period without the co-authorship of doctoral/postdoctoral supervisors, providing evidence of independent scholarly activity. 
  • Sources of grant support should be listed, specifying the candidate’s role (principal investigator, co-investigator), and including the full title of the grant and the names of all co-investigators. 

4) Statement of Research Interests: A brief (maximum 2 pages) outline of the candidate’s research program. 

5) Graduate Student Research Project: A one-page description of the research project to be undertaken by the first graduate student, if applicable (see below). 

6) Research Facilities: A one-page, detailed description of the laboratory or other relevant institutional facilities and equipment available for the conduct of research to be carried out by the graduate student. 

7) Three letters of reference 

8)  Letters of support from former students, if applicable

9) Written approval from the primary department: For cross-appointments, permission must be obtained from the Chair or Director of the department where the primary academic appointment is held.

To expedite processing, all documents should be submitted in electronic format (Word documents and/or PDF files), where possible. In the event that the candidate is not seeking to immediately begin co-supervising a graduate student, the application package may omit evidence of guaranteed funding and research facilities adequate to support a graduate student, the research project description and the letter of institutional support affirming adherence to the university policies on intellectual property and ethics. However, this information will be required before the Member is eligible to supervise a graduate student. 

Applications should be communicated for the attention of the Chair, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology in electronic format to:

The Graduate Coordinator
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology 
Room 4207, Medical Sciences Building

The Chair/Graduate Coordinator will forward copies of these documents to members of an Ad Hoc Committee for review. The Ad Hoc Committee, to be struck by the Chair and the Graduate Studies Coordinator, will be composed of a minimum of 3 GEC members plus 3 appropriate Graduate Faculty members in one or more of the Graduate Faculty Research Areas listed on the Departmental Graduate Studies website. Potentially suitable candidates will be invited to give an open Departmental Research Seminar, hosted either by the Department Chair, the Graduate Coordinator, or by a delegated member ofthe Ad Hoc Committee with appropriate knowledge of the applicant’s field of expertise. All members of the Ad Hoc Committee are expected to attend the seminar. Shortly following the seminar, the candidate will arrange to meet with all members of the Ad Hoc Committee, either individually or together in one or more groups. Normally within 2 weeks, the Chair will solicit and obtain written feedback from the members of the Ad Hoc Committee concerning the candidate’s potential for enhancing the Department’s Graduate Studies program, and forward the committee’s recommendations to the Departmental Chair. The Chair will normally follow the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee in making graduate appointments. The Chair will inform the candidate of the final decision in writing.

Appointment, Promotion, and Renewal

There are two levels of Graduate Faculty appointees, depending only on the stage of supervisory experience: Associate Members (junior level) and Full Members (senior level). These levels apply equally to core tenured Pharmacology faculty and to external appointees. Newly appointed tenure-stream faculty to the Department automatically receive Associate Member status in the Graduate Faculty upon appointment, and are subject to the same requirements for promotion to Full Member and subsequent renewal of Graduate Faculty status.

Initial Graduate Faculty appointments at the Associate Member level will normally be for a three (3) year term. At the end of this term, appointees who have demonstrated successful graduate student supervision and have also significantly contributed to both graduate teaching and departmental graduate program requirements may apply to the Graduate Department for renewal of Associate Member status for an additional 3 year term, or for promotion to Full Member status.

Applications for promotion from Associate to Full Member status require submission of a standardized report that provides details of productivity, funding status and ongoing contributions to the Graduate Program. First-time appointments of successful applicants with an existing Full Member graduate appointment in another department will be reviewed for renewal after 3 years.

Only Full Members of the Graduate Faculty are allowed to independently supervise students at the Ph.D. level.

Full Member appointments for all staff are for a 5 year renewable term. Renewal will require submission of a standardized report that provides details of productivity, funding status and ongoing contributions to the Graduate Program.

Associate Members with less than 3 years of graduate supervision in the Department may have the opportunity to become Full Members after one year. This will be based on a modified application process after demonstrating funding and experience and an interview with the Chair and the Graduate Coordinator. The decision would ultimately be made at the discretion of the Department Chair. The Supervisory Committee of any PhD students supervised by a graduate faculty member who is appointed in this manner must include at least one least full Pharmacology graduate faculty member who can act as a guide and resource for the student and supervisor.