Tenure Stream / Tenured Appointments

Introduction

Appointments in the tenure stream can be made at the following ranks. 

  • Assistant Professor (Conditional)
  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor without tenure
  • Associate Professor with tenure
  • Full Professor

The process for each of these appointments is outlined below:-

 

Assistant Professor (Conditional)

Template Letter of Offer

General Appointments Checklist

Appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor (Conditional) should follow the general search and hire processes as outlined above.  The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments states that ‘any member of the teaching staff enrolled in a doctoral programme at any university and appointed with the expectation that the PhD degree or its equivalent will be conferred must remain at the Assistant Professor (Conditional) rank until the degree is conferred’. 

Assistant Professors (Conditional) should receive annual contracts (terminable on not less than six months written notice) and should not serve more than six years (including the terminal year) at this rank. 

Upon successful completion of a doctoral programme (or other equivalent scholarly or professional work) the faculty member becomes eligible for an appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor the following July 1.  Their tenure clock does not begin until they are appointed in the tenure stream as an Assistant Professor.  A new letter of offer (see below – Assistant Professor) and terms of conditions of employment for the appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor should be prepared and a copy provided to the Provost’s Office.

Assistant Professor

Template Letter of Offer

General Appointments Checklist

Appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor should follow the general search and hire processes as outlined in the section on Recruitment and is the normal starting point for a person beginning a University career.

Assistant Professors receive an initial three-year contract and their performance should be reviewed ‘no earlier than May 1 of the second year of the contract’.  For further details please see Third Year Review.  For compelling academic reasons (e.g. the need to set up new research facilities) and with the approval of the Provost, an Assistant Professor can be given an initial appointment of up to five years, with a performance review no earlier than May 1 of the penultimate year.  Upon completion of a successful review, the faculty member’s contract is renewed for an additional two years, leading up to his/her tenure review.

At the time of making an appointment to the Assistant Professor rank, it is the responsibility of the Unit Head to reach an explicit understanding with the member of the teaching staff as to the time at which tenure will be considered.  The tenure review process is discussed in the section of the manual on Tenure .

The Tenure Clock

In most cases, the tenure clock for an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto is five years, that is they are reviewed in the final year of their contract and notified of the recommendation to the President by April 15 of that year.  In some circumstances there is some variation to the timing of the tenure review as discussed below.

Variable Start Dates

The PPAA assumes a July 1 start date for all new faculty but many faculty now begin their career at the University of Toronto at other times in the year.  The ‘start’ of their tenure clock will be determined by calendar year whereby any new faculty member starting at any point during the calendar year (e.g. January 1 to December 31) would have their tenure clock start from the July 1 of that same year. 

January 1 to December 31 -----> Clock starts July 1 -----> Tenure review in 5th year of appointment

‘Stopping the Clock’

Paragraph 10 of the PPAA allows for tenure to be ‘delayed for one year but not more than two years, to accommodate a maternity, or for reasons of severe personal circumstances such as a serious illness’.  Faculty members make this request to their Unit Head at any time prior to the formation of the Tenure Committee and it must receive the approval of the Provost. 

The delay in the tenure clock for reasons of maternity (for mother and/or father, and in circumstances of adoption) is independent of whether the faculty member actually takes a maternity (or parental or adoption) leave.  That is, a faculty member may choose NOT to take a maternity/parental or adoption leave but still request that their tenure review is delayed by a year for reasons of maternity/parental responsibilities/adoption.

Further details on ‘stopping the clock’ and ‘tenure delays’ can be found in the section on Tenure Review  and in the Manual of Staff Policies for Academics/Librarians under section 2.02.11 to 2.02.13.

Requesting an Early Tenure Review

In exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Division Head and the Provost, a candidate may be considered for tenure early.  If a request for an early tenure review is likely, this should be noted in the letter of appointment signed by the candidate as follows:-

Your appointment is to the rank of Assistant Professor, in the tenure stream, effective [DATE].  This initial appointment is for a period of three years from [DATE] to [DATE].

Your probationary review will take place after May 1 [YEAR], with a decision by September 25 [YEAR].  If the review is positive, you will be offered an additional contract of two years until June 30 [YEAR], and you will be considered for tenure by April 15 [YEAR].  However, assuming your probationary review is successful and upon the mutual agreement of you and your unit Chair/Director, your Chair/Director may ask the Dean to recommend to the Provost that you be considered for tenure early.  You should be aware that if permission for an early tenure review is granted by the Provost and tenure is denied by the President, the candidate cannot revert to the original timing.

Early review cases will be treated as all tenure cases and no allowance will be made for a shorter time period.

Associate Professor without Tenure

Section 11 of the PPAA requires "the regular procedures and composition of committees for consideration of tenure shall be followed" in awarding tenure in these cases.

Template Letter of Offer

General Appointments Checklist

Recruitment of Associate Professors without tenure should follow the process outlined above for Assistant Professors.  Faculty appointed at the rank of Associate Professor without tenure should receive a three-year contract.  He or she should be considered for tenure in the third year of the contract.  In a similar manner to Assistant Professors, Associate Professors without tenure may request a tenure delay due to reasons of maternity or severe personal circumstances, or, upon their request be reviewed early as discussed in the section on tenure delay above.

Associate Professor with Tenure

Template Letter of Offer

In addition to the general search and hire process outlined above, appointments with tenure at the rank of Associate Professor require a tenure review that follows the regular procedures established by policy (see section in the manual on Tenure.  This means that there is no difference in the process for tenure consideration for faculty members already here in the tenure stream and the tenure process for initial appointments at this rank. In particular, in reviewing tenure files, the President will expect evidence of teaching effectiveness from the candidate’s previous institution, and letters from external independent appraisers who have been chosen by the Chair according to the stipulations set out in the Policy and Procedures Governing Academic Appointments. These appraisals will be different from the letters of reference in support of the candidate’s application. The Tenure Committee will be distinct from the search committee (although there maybe overlap in membership), with the requisite membership as set out in the Policy and will meet as a tenure committee to consider the evidence assembled by the Chair.

Unit Heads and candidates should be aware that it may take several weeks to gather evidence beyond the appointment file and to assemble the Tenure Committee. It is very important that searches be conducted in a timely fashion and in anticipation of the length of the process after the selection of a candidate for appointment with tenure. The pressures of time will not excuse departures from normal procedures. In order to ensure adequate time for a thorough review, it is recommended that completed tenure files should arrive in the Provost’s Office at least two months before the effective date of the appointment.

Only after the President has approved a recommendation for appointment as Associate Professor with tenure may the candidate be given a formal written letter of offer.

A letter of reference is solicited by the candidate. An appraisal is solicited by the Chair and requests specific assessment by the referee of the candidate against the University’s tenure criteria. Referee’s can be nominated by the candidate but cannot be collaborators or supervisors.

In some cases, a candidate may request a conditional letter of offer before the tenure review is conducted.  The following changes must be made to the cover letter and conditional letter of offer:-

Cover Letter
I am writing with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of [FACULTY] and the Provost of the University to offer you a position in the Department of [DEPARTMENT] at the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, effective [DATE].  Should you accept this offer, I will immediately establish a committee to consider the award of tenure to you.  This offer is contingent upon a favourable recommendation with respect to the granting of tenure to you by the Tenure Committee, subject to the final approval of the President of the University of Toronto.

Letter of Offer
Your appointment is to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1, [YEAR].  This offer is contingent upon a favourable recommendation with respect to the granting of tenure to you by the Tenure Committee, subject to the final approval of the President of the University of Toronto.’ 

Full Professor

Template Letter of Offer

Checklist for Appointment at the Rank of Full Professor.

In addition to following the recruitment process outlined above, appointments at the rank of Full Professor with tenure must be approved by the Division Head, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the Vice-President and Provost and the President.

In practice, once a search committee recommends that an appointment be made at full rank, the Dean of the Faculty forwards the entire appointment file, including the C.V. and letters of appraisal, to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and to the Provost. The file must contain sufficient evidence to support the recommendation that the President appoint the candidate with tenure. On research and scholarship, there must be a minimum of six letters solicited by the Unit Head from referees who are individuals of international stature in their field and who will normally be distinguished senior members of the faculty of universities which are major centres of activity in the candidate's field. The referees will assess the candidate’s publications and comment specifically on the candidate’s standing in the field. These appraisals will be different from the letters of reference in support of the candidate’s application. A statement on the status in the profession of the referees themselves should accompany these letters, along with a copy of the letter requesting the appraisal.

On teaching, the file must address both undergraduate teaching and graduate teaching and supervision, in at least two letters specifically written for this purpose, with other supporting documentation as appropriate in the circumstances. If for reasons of confidentiality it is not possible to obtain material directly from a candidate’s current institution, the Unit Head should prepare a statement on teaching incorporating comments from former students and colleagues.

Only when the Provost’s Office has received the written approval of both Deans, will the Provost review the appointment file and forward it to the President. Incomplete files will be returned for remedy. In order to ensure adequate time for a thorough review, it is recommended that completed files should arrive in the Provost’s Office at least two months before the effective date of the appointment.

Every appointment at the rank of Professor requires the approval of the President. The candidate is not to be given a formal written offer of the position until the President has approved the recommendation for appointment as Professor with tenure.

Special Opportunity Appointments

PPAA Section 1:5 permits the Provost to waive some or all of the procedural requirements 'in exceptional cases'.

The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments permits the Provost, in exceptional cases, to waive some or all of the procedures that govern searches. Where there is an opportunity to hire an outstanding individual and a regular search is not feasible, the Provost will consider waiving the search requirement. It is important that requests to proceed under the waiver are made only where there is an opportunity to make a significant contribution to advancing our academic mission. Note that immigration requirements are not waived in the case of such appointments nor are they automatic. A full explanation and rationale need to be provided.  Non-Canadians appointed through such provisions should be world-renowned and should be at the rank of Full Professor.

CRC Appointments

The Canada Research Chairs Program offers Canadian universities the opportunity to nominate researchers for Tier 1 (senior, world leading researchers) or Tier 2 (outstanding emerging researchers) professorships in areas that will further the institution's overall research priorities. Full details of the nomination process, including forms and links to the CRC website, are available through the Research Services Office.

The Canada Research Chairs program conducts a national biannual recalculation to allocate CRCs across eligible Canadian universities on the basis of a three-year rolling average share of research grant funding received by the institution from the three granting agencies. A similar formula is used to allocate CRCs within U of T; hence participation in tri-council programs is essential to the maintenance of institutional and divisional CRC count.  All proposed CRC nominations for allocated Chairs require the prior approval of the Vice-President Research.  Principals and Deans seek nomination approval by submitting a Request for Nomination Approval (available at the above-noted URL), along with a copy of the proposed nominee's CV, to the Vice-President Research via the Research Services Office well in advance of the semi-annual CRC submission deadline.

Since the inception of the CRC program, it has been the University's position that, like all faculty at the University, there is an expectation that those holding CRC’s will teach at the both undergraduate and graduate level.  This and other important responsibilities of Chair holders are set out in the "offer of CRC nomination" letter, which should be discussed with, issued to and signed back by the proposed nominee after the nomination has been approved by the Vice-President Research and before the nomination is submitted via the Research Services Office to the CRC Secretariat for adjudication.

A Dean should notify the VP Research in writing well in advance of the date on which a CRC will become vacant (either due to the pre-arranged end date of CRC tenure, the incumbent's departure from the University, or other reasons).  Divisions may relinquish the CRC, or propose a new nominee for approval by the Vice-President. 

CRC External Appointments

Foreign nationals hired for Canada Research Chairs (CRC) positions are exempt from provisions applied to other foreign academic hires if their appointment has been approved by the CRC program prior to the Chair holder’s entry into Canada. No immigration caveat (see advertising section) is required in any advertisement, although the “Canadians first” policy still applies.

Therefore, if you anticipate that the appointment could be offered to a non-Canadian and employment will commence before the CRC nomination has been approved by the federal government, then the normal immigration requirements must be met and the HRSDC ‘Canadians first’ and equity statement must be included in all advertisements. The Provost’s Office recommends that the statement be included in all ads for CRCs. If a non-Canadian is hired, you must then fill out the Foreign Academic Recruitment Summary form so that a positive labour market opinion from Service Canada can be obtained.