Criteria for promotion to Associate or Full Professor

To be promoted to the Associate Professor level, you must supply evidence of an impact (recognition) at a national level.

To be promoted to the Full Professor level, you must supply evidence of an impact (recognition) at an international level. 

On this page, we outline what evidence you need to supply for your:


Successful research leads to the advancement of knowledge through contributions of an original nature.

To be promoted to Associate or Full Professor based on research, you must have a record of sustained and current productivity in research and research-related activities.

To meet the Temerty Faculty of Medicine excellent achievement in research criteria, your research should:

  • result in significant changes in the understanding of basic mechanisms of molecular or cellular function and disease, clinical care, health services delivery or health policy, or the social sciences and humanities as applied to health.
  • present creative insights, ideas or concepts, and must have yielded a significant quantity of information leading to new understanding. The new information may derive from the invention and/or application of new techniques, novel experimental approaches and/or the identification and formulation of new questions or concepts.
  • be communicated through the publication of papers, reviews, books and other scholarly works.

The quality of your scholarship in research will be judged in comparison to peers in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and to others in the same field at peer institutions.

Research funding

Sources of funding may vary depending on the area of research. Not all research requires external funding.

However, as a general rule, if you are seeking promotion on the basis of achievement in research, you should have a strong and continuing record of external funding commensurate with the type and area of research.

Although usually recognition will be given to funding in the form of peer-reviewed grants, other sources may be appropriate. For instance, funding from industry may be a major source available to basic and clinical scientists performing clinical trials, studying new drugs and developing new technologies. This funding is expected to comply with the conflict of interest guidelines in the Temerty  Faculty of Medicine.

Funding from other agencies may be an appropriate source of support for population-based or health services researchers.

Whatever the source of funding, you must be able to show you have played a significant intellectual and administrative role in the research as evidenced by having a role in the design, analysis or publication of the study, or being part of a Steering Committee. For instance, individuals participating in collaborative group grants must be able to provide evidence of intellectual input into the research and not simply a technical contribution.


You must have a sustained record of scientific publications demonstrating your research has led to a significant source of new information in the field.

Publications should appear as:

  • articles in major peer-reviewed journals
  • books and as book chapters published by academic presses
  • published abstracts accepted for presentation at major national and international scientific conferences also provide evidence that the research in progress is being disseminated to the scientific community.

Scientific presentations

You should include:

  • presentations made at national and international meetings recognized as the significant academic venues for presenting research in that area.
  • invited presentations at other venues such as academic institutions, industry settings and outreach lectures to the lay community as these are an indicator of your reputation outside the university. 

Participation, leadership and mentorship in the research community

This category includes a range of additional research-related activities that contribute significantly to the relevant field of study in the scientific community.

Examples of such activities include:

  • organization of international research meetings or symposia
  • leadership in research committees at national or international levels
  • leadership in development or promotion of research infrastructure and support at university, national or international levels
  • leadership in group grants
  • participation on peer review grant panels
  • membership on research ethics or animal care committees
  • membership on editorial boards of scientific publications
  • participation in the peer review of scientific manuscripts
  • membership on consensus conferences, scientific advisory boards and councils
  • support and mentorship of young investigators.

Creative Professional Activity (CPA)

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine recognizes CPA under the following three broad categories.

1. Professional innovation and creative excellence

This may include developing:

  • or making an invention
  • new techniques
  • conceptual innovations
  • educational programs inside or outside the University (e.g. continuing medical education or patient education).

To demonstrate professional innovation, you must show an instrumental role in the development, introduction and dissemination of an invention, a new technique, a conceptual innovation or an educational program.

Creative excellence, in such forms such as biomedical art, communications media, and video presentations, may be targeted at various audiences from the lay public to health care professionals.

2. Contributions to the development of professional practices

  • "In this category, demonstration of innovation and exemplary practice will be in the form of leadership in the profession, or in professional societies, associations, or organizations that has influenced standards or enhanced the effectiveness of the discipline. Membership or the holding of office in professional associations is not itself considered evidence of creative professional activity. Sustained leadership and setting of standards for the profession are the principal criteria to be evaluated. Both internal and external assessment should be sought". (Modified from the Hollenberg Report, 1983)

You must demonstrate leadership in the profession, professional organizations, government or regulatory agencies that has influenced standards and/or enhanced the effectiveness of the discipline. Membership and holding office in itself is not considered evidence of CPA.

Examples of contributions to the development of professional practice may include (but are not limited to):

  • guideline development
  • health policy development
  • government policy
  • community development
  • international health and development
  • consensus conference statements
  • regulatory committees
  • setting of standards.

3. Exemplary professional practice

  • "Exemplary practice is that which is fit to be emulated; is illustrative to students and peers; establishes the professional as an exemplar or role-model for the profession; or shows the individual to be a professional whose behaviour, style, ethics, standards, and method of practice are such that students and peers should be exposed to them and encouraged to emulate them". (Modified from the Hollenberg Report, 1983)

To demonstrate exemplary professional practice, you must show that your practice is recognized as exemplary by peers and has been emulated, or otherwise had an impact on practice.

In assessing CPA in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, you should keep the following mind:

  • Being a competent health care practitioner, while valuable to the public and profession, and for educational role-modelling, is not sufficient to meet the criterion of excellence in CPA.
  • The Faculty expects that most candidates for promotion will be engaged to some degree in CPA as part of their scholarly life. Such baseline activity does not constitute grounds for promotion.

CPA in education can include:

  • instructional innovation/creative excellence: teaching techniques, educational innovations, curriculum development, course planning, evaluation development
  • leadership in the development of professional practice in health professional education

Teaching and education

You need to contribute in a meaningful way to the achievement of the Faculty’s and the University’s educational mission to achieve promotion to Associate Professor or Professor.

The nature, quantity and quality of these contributions are evaluated with reference to:

  • departmental and hospital norms
  • expectations consistent with job descriptions and career pathways
  • academic responsibilities
  • where applicable, clinical responsibilities.

In the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, teaching and education can encompass the following components:

  • formal teaching: situations in which responsibilities and expectations for both the teacher and the learner are set in advance, such as lecturing, activity in seminars and tutorials, individual and group discussions, laboratory teaching, and clinical teaching
  • informal teaching: more spontaneous (e.g. role modelling and mentoring)
  • curriculum and course development, and development of effective educational materials
  • application of information technologies for local and distance education
  • educational leadership and administration
  • faculty development
  • scholarship in education
  • research in education
  • quality assurance and evaluation of educational process and outcomes
  • assessment of learners

You can show evidence of excellence or competence at one or more of the following levels:

  1. Undergraduate education
  2. Graduate education
  3. Postgraduate medical education
  4. Post-doctoral training
  5. Continuing education and faculty development
  6. Patient/public education

Details of teaching and teaching evaluations must be part of your Dossier, because you must be at least an effective teacher to be considered for promotion.

Excellence in education

If you are seeking promotion on the basis of excellence in education and teaching, you must demonstrate significant and high quality contributions to teaching and/or other education related activities in at least one of the following:

  • Sustained excellence in teaching. Generally, a number of years are required to establish a noticeable presence and reputation as a teacher and as a valued contributor to other education activities. No minimum number of years at a specific rank is specified.
  • Participation in educational or curriculum development activities such as the planning of new curriculum or educational programs, and the production of new educational materials such as textbooks, syllabi, videotapes or computer programs. You should have been a significant participant in the planning and development of major curricular or educational offerings and/or in the development of original educational materials (texts, syllabi, video materials, computer programs etc) and/or educational innovation. External educational peer review processes may be utilized to provide evidence to the DPC and DecPC.
  • Contribution to the field of health professional education, through participation in professional associations dedicated to educational development, research in education and contributions to the education literature. For promotion to Professor, you need to evidence a national/international reputation in the field of health professional education due to sustained participation in research in education, contributions to the medical/health professions educational literature or active leadership in professional associations dedicated to educational development.
  • Education leadership in faculty, department, division or hospital. This includes significant roles in educational administration where, under your direct leadership, innovative programmes or curriculum have been developed.

Competence in teaching

If you are seeking promotion on the basis of excellence in teaching, you need to show greater evidence of three or more of these attributes:

  • Mastery of the subject area
  • Skill in one or more of:
    • lecturing to large groups
    • facilitation of small groups
    • one-to-one teaching
    • supervision and mentoring
  • The ability to effectively employ appropriate educational methods
  • The ability to stimulate and challenge the intellectual capacity of learners
  • The ability to influence students’ intellectual development and development of critical skills
  • Be a professional and educational role model
  • Professionalism in teaching that includes respect for students and colleagues, sensitivity to diversity; ability for self-assessment and participation in ongoing professional development and accessibility to learners.

Administrative service

According to the University of Toronto Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions :

  • "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". (paragraph 13a)

Service within the University and to external agencies forms an important, and often time-consuming, aspect of many faculty members’ academic careers.

In providing this service, they contribute to the continued excellence of the academic environment and allow the University a voice and visibility in external agencies.

Although service in itself cannot be the main criteria for promotion, Promotions Committees may consider service as defined above in support of achievements in Teaching and Education or Scholarship (Research and/or CPA).

It is your responsibility to clearly establish the link between such service and your academic mandate and responsibilities.

You may choose to include documentation of service activities in your dossier in one of two ways:

  1. as part of the sections on Creative Professional Activities and/or Teaching and Education, or
  2. as a separate section.

In either case, you should include a detailed description of the service activities as well as an assessment of the impact of these activities on academic, professional, government or other communities.

Significant service contributions may include (but are not limited to) service to:

  • the department that goes beyond what is normally expected of a faculty member
  • the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: committee chair, lead coordinator of a special project, lead developer of faculty policies
  • the university: committee chair, lead coordinator of a special project, significant role in developing university policies or initiatives
  • the professional, clinical or research discipline: president of national or international organizations, committee chair, conference organizer, policy development
  • municipal, provincial or federal governments or non-government organizations.