Promotion Criteria

As defined in the University of Toronto Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions,promotion is based on demonstrated excellence in one or more of researchcreative professional activity [CPA]), or teaching and service to the University.

  • To be considered for the rank of associate professor, the candidate is required to have demonstrated a national reputation.
  • To be considered for the rank of full professor, the candidate is required to have demonstrated an international reputation.

All candidates are expected to be effective teachers. The Department of Medicine Teaching Effectiveness Committee assesses teaching effectiveness for applications where the predominant criteria is achievement in research, CPA or education scholarship.

Academic achievement in teaching - demonstration of teaching excellence - that is sustained over many years can in itself justify promotion.  In this instance, proof of a national/international reputation is not required and the candidate is strongly encouraged to request a Waiver of External Review.

Excellence in Research
Excellence in CPA
Sustained Excellence in Teaching

Teaching Effectiveness
Administrative Service



Successful research leads to the advancement of knowledge through contributions of an original nature. Promotion to associate or full professor based on research requires that the candidate have a record of sustained and current productivity in research and research-related activities.

For the criterion of excellent achievement in research to be met in the Faculty of Medicine, the 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. The researcher’s work should 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.

It is expected that research advances will be communicated through the publication of papers, reviews, books and other scholarly works, and had a demonstrated impact on the field. The quality of the scholarship in research will be judged in comparison to peers in the Faculty of Medicine and to others in the same field at peer institutions.

Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for a full description of requirements and criteria.


Creative Professional Activity (CPA)

Hollenberg Report - Definition of Creative Professional Activity

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

Contributions to the Development of Professional Practices

Innovation and exemplary practice may be in the form of leadership in the profession, in professional societies, associations, or government and regulatory agencies, that has influenced standards or enhanced the effectiveness of the discipline. Membership or the holding of office in professional associations is not in itself considered evidence of CPA. Sustained leadership and setting of standards for the profession are the principle criteria to be evaluated. 

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, and setting of standards.

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.

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

CPA under this category can include:

  • Teaching techniques
  • Educational innovations
  • Curriculum development,
  • Models of care innovations (role of EMR prompts, standardized pathways, pre-printed patient ‘order sets’, on quality and safety of inpatient care or resident experience)
  • Leadership in the development of professional practice (tools to enhance physician communication, professionalism)

Professional Innovation and Creative Excellence

Professional innovation may include the making or developing of an invention, use of digital technologies or other devices to improve care and outcomes, development of new techniques, conceptual innovations, or educational programs inside or outside the University (e.g. continuing medical education or patient education).

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

In assessing CPA in the Faculty of Medicine, the following should be kept in mind:

  • CPA does NOT need to be described under the above three headings. Rather, the University has provided these headings as examples of the types of activities that CPA would encompass.
  • Being a competent healthcare 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 of CPA as part of their scholarly life. Such baseline activity does not constitute grounds for promotion.
  • Contributions must be relevant to the candidate’s U of T appointment and may link to research and/or teaching and education.​

The impact of CPA outside of the local environment may be demonstrated many ways. These include awards and honours, invited presentations,  testimonials/letters of recognition provided by recognized leaders, invitations to consult/advise (e.g., with a quality improvement project or educational curriculum at another institution), appointment to decision making bodies, advisory committees, or task forces related to the focus of one’s CPA.  

Importantly, to have impact through CPA, an individual’s CPA activities should have a thematic connection. For example, if a faculty member has as his/her focus, “addressing low value care" (i.e., something related to Choosing Wisely he/she might list a publication describing a project on this theme, membership on a national committee for his/her specialty related to Choosing Wisely, teaching on this topic, and some invited presentations in other provinces). In total, these activities can provide a substantive picture of impact under CPA because they have a clear thematic connection. 

NOTE: The DoM recognizes that healthcare is funded and delivered at the provincial level. Thus, scholarly activities (Research and CPA) focused on impacting quality of care may require a greater concentration of one’s efforts at the provincial level – e.g., working with the MOHLTC, Health Quality Ontario or other important health-related provincial bodies  - than with national bodies. This will be taken into account by the Promotions Commitee when considering impact and reputation.

Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for a full description of requirements and criteria.


CPA Checklist

How to describe your CPA 

CPA on WebCV 

CPA Workshops are periodically offered by the Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael’s Hospital. Check their website for workshop listings.


Teaching and Education

While all candidates must demonstrate Teaching Effectiveness, academic achievement in teaching alone, sustained over many years (sustained excellence in teaching) may be grounds for promotion.

Excellence in Teaching

An outstanding teacher is a “master clinician-teacher” who has been recognized for their teaching excellence, leadership and/or innovation in education/teaching through honours and awards at the University/divisional, provincial and/or national levels. Candidates seeking promotion and other forms of recognition on the criteria of excellence in education and teaching must demonstrate significant and high quality contributions to teaching and/or other education related activities in at least one of the following areas:

  • 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 – however, ten years is an approximate benchmark.
  • Educational or curriculum development activities such as the planning and development of major curriculum or educational programs, and the production of new educational materials such as textbooks, syllabi, video materials or computer programs, and/or educational innovation.
  • Contribution to the field of health professional education. Evidence is required of 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 the candidate’s direct leadership, innovative programmes or curriculum have been developed.

A Waiver of External Review should be sought when the predominant criteria for promotion is sustained excellence in teaching unless the candidate has a clear national or international reputation in education.

Teaching Effectiveness

All candidates must demonstrate teaching effectiveness through the following:

  • Quantity of teaching/educational activity: documented hours, levels, formal and informal as per the candidate's academic position description.
  • Quality of teaching/educational contributions: demonstrated by teaching evaluations, student testimonials, and students’ achievements
  • Relative activity and evaluations in comparison to peers (of similar position description and stage of career)
  • Educational scholarship – e.g., curriculum development
  • Educational leadership

Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for a full description of requirements and criteria.


4. Administrative service

All faculty members are expected to provide service in the form of committees and other roles and responsibilities to the University and/or their field. However, service in itself cannot be the main criteria for promotion.

Candidates should document administrative or committee work in their CVs, both within the University and to external agencies that further the scholarly and educational goals of the University. Where appropriate, quality and impact of such activities should be noted.

This may include:

  • Establishment of new programs within the Faculty or University
  • Successful fundraising activities that benefit the department, Faculty or University
  • Development of new or revised departmental, Faculty or University policies and procedures
  • Invitations to serve a leadership function in the Faculty or University
  • Representation and active involvement on boards and other organizational committees
  • Significant contributions while serving in a leadership role in discipline or professional organizations
  • Significant contributions to the development of policies or procedures within a discipline, profession or relevant organization

Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for a full description of requirements and criteria.