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Policy on Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies

 

  1. Preamble
  2. Appointment Guidelines
  3. Appointment/Reappointment Procedures
  4. Cyclical Reviews and Quality Assurance

 

1. Preamble

The Policy on Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies affirms the University’s commitment to ensure through peer review the maintenance of high standards in graduate education; the strength and quality of graduate programs; the active participation by appointed faculty in all facets of graduate education; and that graduate students are appropriately supported in their academic activities. These principles inform the guidelines and procedures regarding appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies set out herein.

Depending upon their appointment category, an individual appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies may be eligible to supervise graduate students as a principal supervisor or member of a supervisory committee, teach graduate courses, evaluate graduate students, and/or participate in decision-making processes in accordance with program governance procedures. The assignment of supervision responsibilities from year to year is within the discretion of the graduate program, in accordance with program and Faculty of Graduate Studies procedures. The assignment of teaching responsibilities from year to year is within the discretion of the graduate program, in accordance with program procedures and in consultation with Chairs of affected academic units and Deans of affected Faculties. The primary concern in making of such assignments is the strength and quality of the graduate program.


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2. Appointment Guidelines

2.1 Appointment Categories and Terms: Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies shall be made in one of the following six categories. With the exception of Independent Members, appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies are program-specific.

  • Full Membership: Full Members shall hold a tenure-track/tenured position at York University. They may act as the principal or as a co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations and master’s theses; may serve on supervisory and examining committees; may teach graduate course courses (including supervision of Major Research Papers/Projects); and may participate in decision-making processes in accordance with program governance procedures. Full Members may hold an appointment that is continuing unless (i) a limited term is deemed appropriate, (ii) it is determined that the individual no longer satisfies the conditions for Full Membership, and/or (iii) their tenure-track/tenured position at York comes to an end.
  • Associate Membership – Associate Members shall hold a tenure-track/tenured or contractually limited position at York University. They may be permitted act as a co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations; may act as the principal or as a co-supervisor of master’s theses; may serve on supervisory and examining committees; may teach graduate course courses (including supervision of Major Research Papers/Projects); and may participate in decision-making processes in accordance with program governance procedures. Associate Members may not act as the principal supervisor of doctoral dissertations and may serve as a co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations on the condition that the other co-supervisor is a full member of the graduate program. Based on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and program-specific appointment criteria, the graduate program may place further limitations on the activities of Associate Members. Associate Members may hold an appointment that is continuing unless (i) a limited term is deemed appropriate, (ii) it is determined that the individual no longer satisfies the conditions for Associate Membership, and/or (iii) their tenure-track/tenured or contractually limited position at York comes to an end.
  • Members Emeriti –Members Emeriti may be permitted to act as co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations; may act as principal or as a co-supervisor of master’s theses; may serve on supervisory and examining committees; may teach graduate course courses (including supervision of Major Research Papers/Projects); and may participate in decision-making processes in accordance with program governance procedures. Members Emeriti may continue ongoing principal supervisions of doctoral dissertations begun prior to retirement but normally may not take on new principal supervisions of doctoral dissertations. Should program need arise, Members Emeriti may be eligible to act as principal supervisor of doctoral dissertations, on the condition that another member of the supervisory committee would be willing and able to act as principal supervisor should the need arise, and subject to the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Members Emeriti may serve as a co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations on the condition that the other co-supervisor is a full member of the graduate program. Based on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and program-specific appointment criteria, the graduate program may place further limitations on the activities of Members Emeriti. The appointment term of Members Emeriti is normally for a maximum of five years, and is renewable. Distinguished Research Professors are appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for life. Upon retirement, Distinguished Research Professors are subject to the eligibility conditions of the Members Emeriti category.
  • Independent Membership – Independent Membership applies normally only to tenure-track/tenured faculty at York University for whom there is currently no appropriate graduate program with which to be associated. Independent Members are eligible for graduate teaching and graduate committee service. The appointment term of Independent members may not exceed three years, and is renewable.
  • Adjunct Membership – Adjunct Membership is for individuals who hold academic or professional positions external to York University (including visiting professors and adjunct faculty) and postdoctoral fellows, but whose expertise is relevant to the graduate program in question. Although senior academic qualification (e.g. PhD or equivalent) and experience is desirable for Adjunct Membership, this is not essential and is largely contingent upon the nature of the specific program and activities within the program. Adjunct members may be permitted to serve on supervisory committees but normally may not act as principal supervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations or master’s theses. In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, adjunct faculty may act as a co-supervisor of doctoral dissertations or master’s theses. For doctoral dissertations, the other co-supervisor must be a full member of the graduate program. Adjunct members may be permitted to serve on examining committees but may not act as the Chair of or Dean’s representative on examining committees. Adjunct Members may be permitted to participate in decision-making processes in accordance with program governance procedures. Based on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and program-specific appointment criteria, the graduate program may place further limitations on the activities of adjunct members. The appointment term of Adjunct Members is normally for a maximum of five years, and is renewable. Adjunct faculty, visiting professors and postdoctoral fellows may be eligible for graduate course directorship in addition to and outside of their Adjunct Membership. With respect to appointment procedures, eligibility for principal supervision of major research papers/projects is considered equivalent to eligibility for graduate course directorship.
  • Instructor Membership – Based on program need, a program may recommend for approval the limited term appointment of an individual to teach a specific graduate course or courses. Instructor Membership is for individuals who hold academic or professional positions external to York University (including visiting professors and adjunct faculty) and postdoctoral fellows, but whose expertise is relevant to the graduate program in question. Although senior academic qualification (e.g. PhD or equivalent) and experience is desirable for Instructor Membership, this not essential and is largely contingent upon the nature of the specific program and course. The appointment term shall be coincident with the terms over which the graduate course(s) is/are offered, and is renewable. Recommendations for appointment, including a rationale, are required for each instance in which a course is taught.
  • 2.1.1 An individual may be appointed to more than one graduate program, in which event they shall designate one of the programs as their primary graduate program. Although this designation is intended to signify an individual’s principal, but not exclusive, commitment in relation to graduate supervision, teaching and service, a faculty member may shift their principal commitments over the course of their career.


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    2.2 Appointment Criteria: Each graduate program shall develop program-specific appointment criteria that are consistent with the Faculty of Graduate Studies appointment criteria outlined below and in accordance with procedures approved by the program. The Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee shall be responsible for recommending for approval to Faculty of Graduate Studies Council new and revised program-specific criteria. Approved program-specific criteria shall provide the basis upon which program-specific appointment recommendations are considered. The Faculty of Graduate Studies appointment criteria shall for the basis upon which candidates for Independent Membership are considered. Each individual shall be assessed on the basis of reasonable expectations of person working in the discipline or scholarly field of the relevant graduate program or, for Independent Membership, in the candidate’s discipline or scholarly field.

    2.2.1 Faculty of Graduate Studies appointment criteria: At a minimum, candidates for appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies must:

  • hold a PhD (or equivalent) degree or otherwise have demonstrated achievement as a researcher, scholar, professional or artist in accordance with the expectations of the discipline;
  • demonstrate that he or she is continuing to make a contribution to research or scholarship or professional or artistic activity as evidenced by a clear process of peer review and critical analysis; and
  • where previously engaged in graduate teaching or supervision, demonstrate satisfactory performance as an instructor and/or supervisor.
  • 2.2.2 Program-specific criteria shall include a clear description of the specific characteristics and types of peer-adjudicated work that are relevant and appropriate to the disciplinary or scholarly field. Means of demonstrating contribution to research or scholarship or professional or artistic activity should be based on peer-adjudicated work, examples of which include peer-adjudicated publication, peer-adjudicated research grants, invited presentations at conferences and symposia, curated, critically reviewed or peer appraised exhibitions or performances, and any other mode of presenting work in a public forum which has been subjected to a clear process of peer review.

    2.2.3 Program-specific criteria shall include a clear description as to the emphasis placed on continuing contribution to research or scholarship or professional or artistic activity, including quantitative and/or qualitative guidelines. This emphasis should be consistent with i) the reasonable expectations of a person working in the discipline or scholarly field and ii) the expectations and responsibilities of the relevant appointment category, particularly in relation to eligibility for Full Membership. Insufficient evidence of continued research, scholarship, professional or artistic activity at an advanced level will normally result in an appointment that excludes principal supervision of doctoral dissertations. Program-specific criteria may include a range of emphasis (and corresponding quantitative and/or qualitative guidelines) on continuing contribution that reflects and is consistent with the range of appointment categories and related supervisory expectations and responsibilities. Program-specific criteria may also include limitations regarding eligibility for principal supervision of doctoral dissertations for tenure-track faculty at the rank of Assistant Professor.

    2.2.4 When appropriate, and particularly in relation to eligibility for Full Membership, program-specific criteria shall address the nature of achievement necessary (i.e. completion of a sustained research project or creative project that includes a significant research component, equivalent to a doctoral dissertation), including the possible means of demonstrating this achievement, for individuals who do not hold a PhD (or equivalent) degree.

    2.2.5 Program-specific criteria shall include a clear description of the means of demonstrating satisfactory performance as a graduate teacher. This may include peer evaluation and student evaluation of teaching and curriculum design, taking into account such matters as the scholarly or creative content of teaching materials, the currency of such materials, the application of relevant research methodologies, the effectiveness of the individual's communication as a graduate teacher, and the use of appropriate pedagogic techniques.

    2.2.6 Program-specific criteria shall include a clear description of the means of demonstrating satisfactory performance as a graduate supervisor. This may include student evaluation and peer evaluation by, in particular, members of supervisory and examining committees of students supervised by the individual, taking into account such matters as the availability and effectiveness of the supervisor and his or her relative contribution to the quality of the student's work and its completion within a reasonable time.


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    3. Appointment/Reappointment Procedures

    3.1 Jurisdiction: With the exception of Independent Members, appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies are program-specific and are initiated at the program-level. For Independent Members, the Dean or Principal, or designate, will assume the role of Graduate Program Director with respect to all aspects of the appointments recommendation process.

    3.1.1 Full Members: Final approval of the initial appointment of Full Members shall rest with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee. The committee may delegate responsibility to the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of FGS Council, as appropriate. For faculty members with an approved Full Member appointment, subsequent recommendations from another graduate program for Full Membership shall not require formal approval by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee.

    3.1.2 Associate Members, Members Emeriti and Adjunct Members: Final approval of the appointment of Associate Members, Members Emeriti and Adjunct Members shall rest with the graduate program. The Graduate Program Director (and, for the, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Schulich School of Business, the Dean of the relevant Faculty) shall be responsible for ensuring that appointed faculty meet the Faculty of Graduate Studies and program-specific criteria, in accordance with program procedures. Approval by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee is not required. However, graduate programs shall provide the Faculty of Graduate Studies with updated appointment information, in a manner and on a schedule determined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, to ensure that Faculty records are kept up-to-date.

    3.1.3 Instructor Members: Normally, final approval of the appointment of Instructor Members shall rest with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee. The committee may delegate responsibility to the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of FGS Council, as appropriate. Approval by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee of appointments under the Instructor Membership category does not apply to graduate programs administratively housed in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Schulich School of Business, nor to any of the following professional master’s programs: Master of Design, Master of Financial Accountability, Master of Human Resources Management, Master of Science in Nursing (applicable to Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Field courses only), and Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law. For these programs, final approval of instructors for graduate courses shall rest with the graduate program, in consultation with the Dean of the relevant Faculty and in accordance with procedures approved by the Faculty/program.

    3.1.4 Independent Members: Final approval of the appointment of Independent Members shall rest with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee. The committee may delegate responsibility to the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of FGS Council, as appropriate.

    3.1.5 In the case of a full-time faculty member from another unit who seeks appointment to the a graduate program administratively housed in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School, or the Schulich School of Business, no appointment shall be made unless it is recommended by both the Dean of the Faculty concerned and the graduate program concerned.


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    3.2 Review and Approval at the Program-Level:

    3.2.1 Each graduate program shall name or establish a committee to advise on program-specific appointment criteria, procedures and appointments. The composition of the committee should be known to the program and should change over time. The committee may delegate responsibility to the Graduate Program Director regarding the approval or recommendation for approval of appointments, as appropriate.

    3.2.2 Candidates for appointment or reappointment shall submit to the Graduate Program Director an appointment package, including an up-to-date curriculum vitae, which shall list the information on which the individual relies to satisfy the relevant program-specific appointment criteria. Where a candidate relies on work submitted for publication or on substantial projects that are in progress, they may submit in addition to their curriculum vitae written assessments of their work by recognized specialists in the field, selected in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

    3.2.3 Where the program decides to recommend for appointment in the Full Membership or Instructor Membership category, the Graduate Program Director shall submit an appointment package to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee, in a manner determined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    3.2.4 Where the program decides to approve an appointment in the Associate Membership, Members Emeriti, or Adjunct Membership category, the Graduate Program Director shall report the appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in a manner and on a schedule determined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    3.2.5 Where the program decides to not approve/recommend against appointment or to recommend limitations on the appointment, the Graduate Program Director shall discuss the recommendations with the individual concerned. If the individual concerned concurs with the recommendation, the Graduate Program Director will notify the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the appointment or recommendation for appointment, in accordance with the appropriate reporting procedures.

    3.2.6 If, following discussion, the individual concerned does not concur with the recommendation of the program, the Graduate Program Director shall provide in writing to the individual concerned a rationale for the program’s recommendation. The individual concerned may request reconsideration of the recommendation at the program-level by providing the Graduate Program Director with a written response within ten working days of the delivery of the program’s rationale. The individual concerned may appear before the program-level committee, if he/she requests. The Graduate Program Director shall provide in writing to the individual concerned the program’s final decision.

    3.2.7 After exhausting the appeal procedures at the program-level, the individual concerned may appeal to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee. To do so, the individual concerned shall submit a written statement of his or her reasons to the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of Faculty of Graduate Studies Council within ten working days of delivery of the program’s final decision.


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    3.3 Review and Approval at the Faculty-Level:

    3.3.1 Upon receipt of a recommendation for appointment in the Full Membership category, the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of Faculty of Graduate Studies Council shall confirm the appointment status of the individual concerned. For faculty members with an approved Full Member appointment, subsequent recommendations from another graduate program for Full Membership shall not require formal approval by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee.

    3.3.2 The Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee shall review recommendations for Full Membership and Instructor Membership appointments in light of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and program-specific appointment criteria, and decide whether or not to approve the appointment. The committee may delegate responsibility to the Associate Dean (Academic)/Secretary of Faculty of Graduate Studies Council, as appropriate.

    3.3.3 Written notice of the Committee’s decision shall be provided to the individual and Graduate Program Director. If the Committee’s decision is negative or imposes limitations, the written notice shall include a brief statement of reasons and notice that the individual may request reconsideration within ten working days of receipt of the decision. If the Committee's recommendation differs from that of the program, the Graduate Program Director may request reconsideration within ten working days of receipt of the decision. If reconsideration is requested, the Graduate Program Director and/or the individual may submit additional material and may meet with the Academic Planning and Policy Committee.

    3.3.4 After exhausting the appeal procedures at the Faculty-level, the program and/or individual concerned may appeal to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies to strike a Review Committee. To do so, the program and/or individual concerned shall submit a written statement of his or her reasons to the Dean within ten working days of delivery of the Committee’s final recommendation. The Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies shall then strike a Review Committee to consider the appeal. The Review Committee shall consist of three faculty members, appointed by the Dean, and one student member, appointed by the Graduate Students’ Association. The members of the Review Committee shall have active Full Membership appointments, shall not be from the graduate program concerned, shall not have served on the Academic Planning and Policy Committee at the time the appeal was heard at the Faculty-level, and shall be at arm’s length from the individual concerned. The Review Committee may meet with representatives of the Academic Planning and Policy Committee, the individual concerned and the Graduate Program Director, and may receive and consider such evidence as it deems relevant. In the case of a full-time faculty member from another unit who seeks appointment to a graduate program administratively housed in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School, or the Schulich School of Business, the Review Committee may also meet with the Dean of the relevant Faculty.


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    4. Cyclical Reviews and Quality Assurance

    4.1 Cyclical Reviews: All appointments to a graduate program shall be reviewed in conjunction with a program’s cyclical appraisal. In accordance with cyclical appraisal guidelines and procedures, each member of the program has the onus of establishing that they meet/continue to meet the program-specific criteria for the relevant appointment category. Where an individual does not provide sufficient evidence of meeting the relevant criteria, the program shall approve or recommend for approval changes to the appointment, as appropriate. Submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee of a recommendation for reappointment is not required for Full Members and Associate Members who, upon review by the program, continue to satisfy the conditions of a previously approved continuing appointment.

    4.2   In addition to reviews of appointments done in conjunction with cyclical program appraisals, a graduate program may establish procedures for the review of Full Members and Associate Members with continuing appointments to ensure that they continue to meet the program-specific criteria and, if necessary, to approve or recommend for approval changes to individual appointments, as appropriate.

    4.3 The Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Planning and Policy Committee may at any time, but with reasonable notice, audit a graduate program to determine whether or not members of the program have been appointed in accordance with the Policy on Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, including satisfaction of the program-specific criteria. The objective of such audits shall be holistic in nature, focusing on the consistent application of the program-specific appointment criteria and not the eligibility of any specific individual(s).

    4.4 On an annual basis, the Dean of Graduate Studies shall provide the President with a list of new appointments and reappointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    Implementation Schedule and Transitional Provisions

    The revised policy shall take effect for all graduate programs effective July 1, 2011, although an earlier implementation date is possible for individual program. To ensure compliance with the revised policy, all graduate programs will be required to review their existing program-specific appointment criteria in light of the revised policy and submit revised program-specific appointment criteria for review and recommendation for approval by the FGS Academic Planning and Policy Committee. Programs shall submit their revised program-specific appointment criteria by March 1, 2011, at the latest, to meet the July 1, 2011 implementation date. Programs may submit revised program-specific appointment criteria any time before March 1, 2011, and following approval of their program-specific criteria, may be governed by the new appointments policy.

    In conjunction with the implementation date of the revised policy, existing appointments to individual graduate programs will be converted to the appropriate appointment criteria. For appointments that are converted to the Full and Associate Membership categories, graduate programs will need to consider the length of term for each such appointment.

    Unless the program in question is operating under the revised policy as outlined above, any new appointment or reappointment of an individual whose appointment expires on or before June 30, 2011, will be dealt with in accordance with the existing appointment policies and practices

    Policy on Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies approved by the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies on April 1, 2010, effective July 1, 2011.

    Assumption of authority for FGS appointments by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (including the Policy on Appointments to the Faculty of Graduate Studies approved by FGS Council) approved by Senate on April 22, 2010.


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