Department of Surgery Senior Promotions Process

Senior promotions at the University of Toronto pertain to those individuals who wished to be considered for promotion to Associate Professor or Full Professor. All potential candidates are strongly encouraged to meet with the Departmental Promotions Committee Chair to conduct a preliminary review of their application prior to submitting it to the Departmental Committee. 

Additionally, candidates are asked to meet with the Vice Chair, Clinical Teaching and the Director, Evaluations to review and discuss their teaching dossier.

Departmental Academic Promotions Committee (DAPC)

Applicants are also requested to meet with their Surgeon-in-Chief and their University Division Chair to notify them of their intent to apply for promotion.

Please note, the Department of Surgery has established internal deadlines which differ from those of the Faculty of Medicine. Applications for the 2024/25 academic cycle are due in the Department April 15, 2024. If successful, the candidate will be promoted July 1, 2025.

Virtual Senior Promotion Information Sessions 2024

To help faculty members navigate the process more easily, the Department of Surgery will be hosting some virtual promotion information sessions for those who are interested in finding out about what’s involved in being promoted to Associate or Full Professor. These sessions will provide a brief overview of the promotion process; some best practice suggestions for collating material/selecting referees; and answer any procedural questions that individuals may have.

Please contact Sylvia Perry ( to register for one of the February or March sessions.

Registration is open to anyone in the Department of Surgery who is interested in learning more about the process.

For additional information on the Senior Promotion Process, please contact:

Sylvia Perry
Executive Administrator to R.S. McLaughlin Professor & Chair, Department of Surgery
Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
149 College Street, 5th Floor #503
Toronto ON M5T 1P5
Tel: 416-978-2552
Fax: 416-978-3928

Documentation to be Provided by the Applicant

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Creative Professional Activity Statement
  • Evidence of Creative Professional Activity
  • 5 Most Significant Scholarly Publications
  • Research Statement
  • Data Summary Sheets for Research  Awards / Refereed Publications / Research Supervision (since time of appointment or last promotion)
  • Teaching Philosophy
  • Teaching Dossier
  • Teaching Evaluations  (since time of appointment or last promotion)
  • Data Summary Sheet for Teaching (since time of appointment or last promotion)
  • Data Summary Sheet for Mentorship (since time of appointment or last promotion)
  • Administrative Service Documentation
  • Names, Rank, and CURRENT Emails of 10 External Referees
  • Completed Professionalism Form (for departmental use only)
  • Names and Current Emails of 10 Student Referees

Documents are to be submitted electronically (either by USB key or by email) as individual files (preferably in PDF format) to by the April 15th deadline

A Word About Referees

Choosing one’s referees is perhaps one of the most critical aspects (and least controllable) of the promotions process.

Referees CANNOT: be former students, trainees and / or supervisors; have collaborated with the candidate in the past 5 years; have a personal relationship with the candidate. Ideally the names of the external reviewer do not appear in your curriculum vitae.  

Those applying to be an Associate Professor must provide names of individuals who are already at the rank of Associate Professor or higher who are able to comment upon whether or not candidates have demonstrated impact on a national level. Referees would be from institutions other than the University of Toronto.

Those applying for Full Professor status must provide names of individuals external to the University of Toronto, from both inside and outside of North America who are already at the level of Full Professor and can confirm an international impact.

Applicants, in conjunction with their University Division Chair, are asked to provide the Department with the names of 10 external referees along with their current email address, the institution that they are located at (including country) and professorial rank. Failure to provide this information can significantly hinder one’s promotion application.

Applicants (again together with their University Division Chair) are also asked to provide the names and current email address of at least 10 trainees that can be contacted for testimonial letters. Only names of students since an applicant’s last promotion can be contacted for a reference (eg. if a candidate was promoted July 1, 2017, only trainees from July 1st 2017 onwards can supply a letter of support).

The Department of Surgery is responsible for soliciting all letters of reference from external referees, trainees/students, cross-appointed chairs etc.

Any letters that are solicited by the candidate can be added to the candidate’s file but WILL NOT count towards the required letters of references that need to be obtained.

As part of the promotions process, the Department must request letters from the following individuals: the Department Chair, the Chair of the Departmental Promotions Committee, the candidate’s Surgeon-in-Chief, the candidate’s University Division Chair and the Chair(s) of any department(s) that the candidate is cross-appointed to.


  • Keep all of your teaching evaluations to demonstrate effectiveness/ competence in teaching
  • If you develop a website, monitor number of hits to demonstrate impact.
  • Keep an accolades file (e.g.  letters, testimonials, invitations to lecture) to demonstrate recognition for work done. Letters of thanks from patients should not be included.
  • Routinely assess which activities will strengthen your promotion dossier
  • Avoid clustering when considering potential referees and provide names of individuals from different institutions / countries
  • Tell your story – remember that individuals assessing your application may not be experts in your field. Emphasize why your contributions are significant
  • Before submitting your reference names to the Department, do a quick “search and find” in your CV to ensure that the individual’s name does not show up anywhere in the previous 5 years of your work or publications. If it does, it will automatically be negated as a potential referee by the Decanal Committee
  • Don’t assume that you know what someone’s Professorial Rank is – a referee name at an inappropriate rank cannot be used towards the reference letters that need to be submitted.
  • If there are gaps in your story, address them. (For example, reduced publications / funding because of parental leave taken)
  • Be specific about what your specific contributions are in collaborative efforts.  It is not enough to say you led an investigation; stipulate how you led the investigation and why you were an instrumental part of the group
  • When considering your significant publications, consider where your name is – are you Senior Responsible Author? First Author? Somewhere in the middle?
  • Not all publications have high impact factors. Some journals pertain to a small group of readers but may well be the preeminent journal in a particular field. If that is the case for your publications, address this issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are timelines for being promoted?

Applicants typically serve five years at a particular rank before applying for promotion. Faculty members who have served less than five years will be considered an accelerated application and the application must specifically address why an accelerated promotion is warranted.

2. How does one get promoted?

Promotions are usually granted based on accomplishments in scholarship in Research or Creative Professional Activity (CPA), Teaching/Education and Administrative Service to the University.

Applicants going forward for promotion solely on the basis of excellence in teaching require demonstrated and sustained excellence. The Decanal Committee view the terms sustained to normally mean at least 10 years at a given rank.

It is mandated by the University that all applicants must have demonstrated effectiveness (or competency) as a teacher/educator.

Please note that promotions are not granted as a reward for service but rather as recognizing those who have excelled in specific aspects of the University’s academic mission.

3. What exactly is involved in the process?

Applicants are expected to submit their completed application by the specified departmental deadline for consideration by the departmental academic promotion committee. Successful promotions will not take effect until July 1st of the next calendar year (e.g. applicants applying for promotion in April 2019 would not be promoted (if successful) until July 1, 2020).

The Departmental Academic Promotions Committee reviews applications in late May to determine whether the application should proceed to the next stage. Applicants who move forward to the next stage are assigned an advisor with whom they will work with over a few weeks to fine tune their application and catch any inconsistencies. This final (edited) application will be submitted to the Department by June 30th. The Department Academic Promotions Administrator will then proceed to contact referees to assess the application in its entirety.

The Departmental Committee will reconvene in early November to assess the application in its entirety together with the received reference letters to make a final determination as to whether the application should be forwarded to the Decanal Committee. Successful applications will be submitted to the Dean’s office in early January.

The Department will hear back from the Dean’s office about any deferrals in mid to late February. Deferrals are a chance for applicants to provide more documentation to the Decanal Committee for further consideration. Deferral meetings are held at the end of March and a decision is usually provided to the Department sometime early – mid May. While candidates are notified of the outcome by the Department as soon as possible, promotions will not be effective until July 1st to keep in line with the university’s academic calendar.

4. Is everything due April 15th?

Yes HOWEVER, as noted above, candidates will have a chance to work on their applications with an assigned editor/mentor from the Departmental Academic Promotions Committee if the committee is supportive of the application going forward for further consideration.

5. Can I apply for promotion prior to passing my Continuing Appointment Review (CAR)?

Keeping in line with the above-mentioned timelines, applicants are strongly encouraged to wait until after they have successfully completed their CAR. Once applicants have reached this milestone, they will be contacted and encouraged to meet with the DAPC Chair to strategize how to prepare for their promotion.

6. I don’t train students in a traditional didactic setting. How do I demonstrate teaching effectiveness?

Track where your trainees have gone and what they have been doing. Have they been successful? Have they gone on to pursue a career in research? Have you supervised a lot of individuals? Lastly, stay in touch with them so it will be easier to solicit letters when the time comes for promotion.

7. Are there templates available for me to look at?

The Department of Surgery does have various examples of dossiers from candidates who have been successful in their recent promotion for candidates to look at. Contact the Department of Surgery (416-978-2552) for further details.

Data Summary Sheet Templates are available on the Faculty’s Appointment and Promotion webpage (Item 4)

8. I’m here on an Academic License. Should I be aware of anything?

The Senior Promotion application process is identical for everyone. As individuals who are here on Academic License MUST be promoted to the level of Associate Professor PRIOR to their license expiring, it is their responsibility to ensure that their documents are submitted in a time appropriate manner.

Available Resources/Templates


  • The Departmental Promotions Committee Administrator can provide valuable insight regarding the overall promotions process and point you in the right direction of what you need to do, where you can find information and who you need to talk to.
  • Departmental Promotions Committee Members are great resources for providing feedback regarding how best to present your application. 
  • Previously successful candidates may also be able to give advice/guidance in putting documents together.
  • University of Toronto Policy and Procedures Governing Promotion
  • Temerty Faculty of Medicine Promotions manual (2023) 


WebCV, Professionalism Form and Data Summary Sheet (DSS) templates can be downloaded by selecting the links below.

For examples of research/cpa/teaching statements or CPA dossiers, please contact the Promotions Administrator at 416-978-2552.