Graduate Faculty Membership FAQs

Scholars Who are Not Members of the U of T Faculty

Q. Are there any special rules to follow regarding scholars who are not members of the U of T faculty?

A. In order to be a voting member of a doctoral oral exam committee, or to serve as a member of a supervisory committee, an individual must be a member of the U of T graduate faculty.

If you wish an individual to serve in either of these capacities, s/he will first need to have an eligible academic appointment in your department (i.e., Tenure Stream / Research Stream / Status Only / Adjunct Faculty / CLTA). Such appointments are described in the Academic Administrative Procedures Manual.

Such appointments require the approval of your Faculty Dean. Once that appointment is made and entered into the HRIS, he/she can be appointed to graduate faculty. That requires approval of the Graduate Chair and is entered into the HRIS here at SGS using the checklist.

Faculty Members with SGS Appointments Elsewhere

Q. If a faculty member has an SGS appointment elsewhere at U of T:

  • Does the Chair of the graduate unit where the faculty member is about to assume graduate supervision or teaching responsibilities (not necessarily the home academic unit) need to put an application forward to SGS for an appointment in this particular unit, or is the original SGS one (if at sufficient level) enough?
  • Or is it up to the Chair of the graduate unit to decide if s/he wants the faculty member to have a graduate appointment in his/her graduate unit as well besides any other existing ones?
  • Does a faculty member who is a tenured faculty member in another department/Faculty need to have another graduate appointment to supervise a doctoral student in our department?

A. All individuals hold only one University appointment; that is, tenure, tenure-stream, status-only, etc. For teaching and supervision in a graduate unit, an individual should hold a graduate faculty membership (GFM) in that unit. To serve on a thesis committee, it is not necessary to have a GFM in that unit.

“Associate” vs. “Associate with restricted duties”

Q. What is the difference between an “associate” member and “associate member with restricted duties?”

A. Associate means that the person can do anything a full member can do, except serve as the sole supervisor of a doctoral student. Associate with restricted duties means that the person can do some subset of what an associate member can do. The duties should be spelled out explicitly in the letter of appointment. A common example is appointing an individual to serve as a member of a particular doctoral supervisory committee, or to teach a specific course. All three cases (full, associate, and associate with restricted duties) require a University appointment.

Sessional instructors & FOEs

Q. Can sessional lecturers be invited to be part of doctoral comprehensive exam committee if they do not have any University appointments; e.g., adjunct professor status?

A. Stipendary Instructors teaching a graduate course and U of T appointed staff teaching a graduate course can have an associate (restricted) membership.

Master’s Supervision

Q. What faculty members are eligible for master’s supervision?

A. It is best practice to have a faculty member at the rank of associate or full member as the supervisor of a master’s thesis.

Emeritus Status

Q. Is emeritus status for GFM granted immediately upon retirement or must we complete the SGS GFM checklist first?

A. Emeritus status is not granted immediately. You must submit a request to SGS. For emeritus members and associate members with restricted duties, the term of the GFM is limited to the term of the duties assigned. Level of membership should match the duties outlined in the letter of offer and description of duties.

Graduate Student Committees

Q. An individual can sit on a graduate student committee, as long as s/he has a GFM (even if it is somewhere other than our graduate unit). Is this the same when teaching graduate courses?

A. For teaching in a graduate unit, an individual should hold a GFM in that unit. To serve on a thesis committee, it is not necessary to have a GFM in that unit.

Graduate Student Teaching

Q. Can a graduate student teach a graduate course?

A. Only members of the graduate faculty can be instructors in a graduate course at the University of Toronto. To be eligible for a GFM, an individual must hold a faculty appointment at the University of Toronto (tenured, tenure-stream, status-only, visiting, adjunct, etc.). This University appointment must be entered In the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Doctoral-level students at the University of Toronto who are hired to teach are represented by CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and are called “course instructors.” The job posting and hiring criteria as outlined in Article 16 of the collective agreement must be adhered to. All course instructors are assigned an appointed faculty member as a supervisor for the course. In the case of graduate courses, the student cannot teach a course in a program in which s/he is registered, nor can s/he evaluate his/her peers.

A member of the School of Graduate Studies would be the instructor of record — that is, that individual must sign off on the course outline, grades, etc. The letter of appointment must clearly state this. The instructor of record must also be responsible for ensuring that there is no conflict of interest — that is, that the graduate student is not evaluating fellow graduate students within the program (i.e., evaluating other PhD candidates).

Postdoctoral Fellow Teaching

Q. Can a postdoctoral fellow teach a graduate course?

A. Postdoctoral fellows who teach are considered to be part of Bargaining Unit 1, CUPE 3902. As outlined in the Collective Agreement, they are course instructors. Thus, they will be teaching under the supervision of a faculty member who holds membership in the School of Graduate Studies.

Should postdoctoral fellows be engaged for occasional, and limited tasks outside of those described in the Collective Agreement for Local 3902, Unit 1, a postdoctoral fellow can serve as an associate restricted member. In these rare cases, the letter of appointment must clearly state the task for which the appointment is made and the appointment is only for the duration of the task.

Cross-appointments & Secondary Appointments

Q. What is cross-appointment/secondary appointment?

A. Cross-appointment means that the individual is already a member of graduate faculty in some other graduate unit, and the appointment now being proposed is in addition to that primary graduate appointment. Anyone who already holds a graduate appointment can be cross-appointed to another graduate unit. Cross-appointments cannot exceed the level or date of the primary appointment.

Administrator Access to Current GFM List

Q. Can department administrators have access to the current graduate faculty list of associate members through the SGS website? This would help us tremendously in figuring out committee composition and which people need what kinds of cases written for them.

The business officer can run the report. There are two available: one reports all GFMs made to your graduate unit and the other will report all the GFMs held by someone who has a University appointment to a University unit. Both are available in the HRIS. See instructions.

Lecturers and GFMs

Q. Can lecturers have graduate faculty memberships?

A. Yes, generally a U of T appointed Lecturer can have a GFM. A lecturer can hold an associate with restricted duties membership while generally a senior lecturer can hold a GFM at the associate level.

Start & End Dates on GFM Checklist

Q. What start and end dates should appear on the GFM checklist that is sent to SGS for approval?

A. The start and end dates for a GFM must adhere to the Faculty Member’s U of T appointment. The GFM end date must not exceed the individual’s U of T appointment end date, though GFM can end prior to their U of T end date depending on their status and responsibilities at U of T.