What's Behind a Number?

Jun 20, 2018

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young 143. It’s a big number. It represents the number of faculty members promoted to the rank of associate or full professor this spring. You can see a list of all promoted faculty here — it spans most of our departments, but only hints at the diversity of academic activity across our Faculty from 2017 to 2018 — and it says little about quality of work.

So, I would like to take a moment to emphasize the extraordinarily high level of scholarship evident in this year’s promotions process. Application packages are increasingly rigorous and do a better job of showing impact, in at least one — and often more — of the areas that comprise the promotion criteria: research, education and creative professional activity, along with administrative service.

The research accomplishments of our faculty members continue to provide a strong basis for promotion. Whether it’s improving the potential of T-cell immunotherapy for cancer, enabling a better understanding of stigma in the context of rehabilitation or finding that recent immigrants in Ontario are more likely to get aggressive care in the last six months of life — our scientists are addressing society’s biggest challenges.

Creative professional activity again reflects the growing diversity and impact of our faculty members’ work, from health-care quality improvement and cutting-edge technology development, to patents and global data sharing, community and policy work, and social media engagement — which is an exciting new avenue for consideration.

We also had many great applications based on teaching excellence and innovations in education, especially those driven by e-learning initiatives and partnerships with computer science and other U of T departments. And several packages were anchored by extensive administrative service. I’m continually grateful and inspired by how many faculty devote their time and energy to leadership across U of T, in the community and around the world.

I want to thank everyone involved with promotions this year, especially Professor Mary Jane Esplen for chairing our Decanal Promotions Committee, and the many Departmental Promotions Committees and staff. Thanks as well to Chemistry Professor James Donaldson and former Vice President and Provost Cheryl Misak, who as our Provost Assessors brought valued perspectives that helped us apply our criteria in a demanding but consistent and fair way. Both were impressed with the diversity of our academic work and the rigour of our promotions process — I can think of no higher praise.

Congratulations to each of our 143 newly promoted faculty members. We deeply value your commitment to scholarship, teaching and the Faculty of Medicine. 

Trevor Young
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions

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