Friday, February 22, 2013

The PhD is in need of revision

The PhD is in need of revision

Too many students are dropping out of doctoral programs or taking too long to finish, prompting some universities to question what they can do to help them along.

by Rosanna Tamburri

After completing five years of study towards his PhD in English at Queen’s University, Ian Johnston dropped out. To those who have similarly slogged through a doctoral program without success, his reasons will sound all too familiar: his funding had run out; he hadn’t yet begun to write his dissertation; the isolation had become oppressive; and the prospects for landing a tenure-track faculty job in English studies – were he to forge ahead and finish – were dim.

So he left Queen’s in 2009 and enrolled in a master’s program in educational counselling at the University of Ottawa, which he completed in 2012. Now 32, Mr. Johnston is working as a freelance writer while he looks for work in the counselling field. He laments those lost years.
“I think I could have done a lot better. I could have gotten some practical skills, a career of some kind, some earnings; whereas now I’m just starting out.” He puts the blame squarely on his own shoulders – “I didn’t put enough into it,” he says – but adds thoughtfully, “It would have been nice to have had a bit more help.”

For those about to enter doctoral studies, the statistics are sobering. The completion times are long and the success rates, though improving, are dismally low in certain disciplines (see “The latest data on completion rates and times”). Yet, PhD enrolment continues to climb, more than quadrupling over the past 30 years. The increase was spurred by government policies that sought to fill a perceived labour market need for highly skilled workers and to keep pace with the United States and other industrialized countries that outrank Canada in PhD production. Since 2000, almost 200 new doctoral programs were launched in Ontario alone, according to data compiled by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Enrolment growth occurred in almost all disciplines and was strongest at mid-sized institutions.
Some are starting to question this expansion. Maybe “it’s time for a little evaluation of what happened in the recent past … and some sober reflection on what we think we have to do in the future,” suggests Harvey Weingarten, HEQCO’s president. “Why did we make this investment? Are [PhD graduates] getting jobs? Did we expand in the right places?”

These are questions some universities are also starting to ask themselves. “I don’t think we have been as careful or as thorough as we should be at looking at PhD programs,” says David Farrar, provost and vice-president, academic, at the University of British Columbia. UBC, for one, plans to review its PhD programs, examining everything from curricular requirements to completion times, graduation rates, and employment prospects for its doctoral graduates. It plans to post graduation rates and completion times, by program, on its website so prospective students can easily access the data.

In what’s bound to be a more controversial move, UBC is also considering limiting PhD enrolment in some disciplines. “In some areas there is a huge demand for our PhD students,” says Dr. Farrar. However, “I believe there are other areas where we may be producing more PhD students than we need. We need to look at where our graduates are going and then ask questions about how many PhDs we should be admitting.” It won’t be an easy conversation, he acknowledges, “because at some universities we think our mandate is to produce high-quality graduate students.” But, he adds, it’s only fair to students: “They need to know when they get into this where it’s going to take them.”

Queen’s University, as well, is taking a second look at how it runs its PhD programs. Some programs have moved their comprehensive exams to earlier in the process and tried to limit their scope so that students can move on to the research phase of their studies sooner. Last summer, Queen’s launched a week-long dissertation boot camp for students to help them write their theses. “We knew things were good when Friday rolled around and it was time to have a few refreshments, and one of the participants said, ‘I can’t stay. I finished a chapter. I’ve got to get it to my supervisor,’” says Brenda Brouwer, vice-provost and dean of graduate studies. Queen’s continues to follow up with the 26 participants to ensure that they’re still making progress. It also recently surveyed its PhD students for suggestions on additional incentives to encourage them to complete faster, but the results aren’t yet available.

It’s too soon to know whether the changes are having an impact, but Dr. Brouwer says the university’s time-to-completion rates, based on a five-year-rolling average, are “moving in the right direction.” Queen’s aims to have 80 percent of its students complete within a “reasonable time frame,” which will vary by discipline, she says.

It’s in everyone’s interest to do so. Long completion times are costly – not only for students who accumulate debt and delay their entry into the job market, but for institutions, too. Queen’s estimates that it spends twice as much on teaching and research assistantships and other forms of financial assistance to support students beyond four years of doctoral studies as it collects in tuition revenue. (In Ontario, universities receive grants from the provincial government to support PhD students for four years of study.)
Concordia University is offering completion bonuses to students who finish their degrees on time and short-term financial assistance to those who are at the thesis-writing stage but whose funding has expired. “We are trying to use a mixture of the carrot and the stick,” says Graham Carr, Concordia’s vice-president, research and graduate studies, and president of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Along with offering financial incentives, Concordia plans to limit time extensions and is closely monitoring annual progress reports filed by supervisors and students.

In the U.S., Stanford University recently announced it will provide incentives to humanities departments that retool their programs to allow students to complete in five years, via extra financial assistance to students in those departments. The American Chemical Society has called for sweeping changes to graduate education in chemistry, including limiting the completion time for a PhD to less than five years.
The Modern Language Association has forcefully called for reform of humanities doctoral programs. In an address to the 2012 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Waterloo, Ontario, former MLA president Sidonie Smith said the dissertation is one of the major impediments responsible for high attrition rates and long completion times in the humanities. “We cannot afford to lose our students and the funding we have invested in them,” she said.

As president of CFHSS, Dr. Carr has echoed the call to reform the dissertation here in Canada. “The default position has always been that the dissertation should resemble a manuscript that will become a book. Is that the only appropriate vehicle?” he asks. Or are there more innovative forms that would capture the knowledge and expertise that PhD students acquire equally as well and would have more practical applications to careers outside of academia?

There’s no single reason to account for the high attrition rates and long completion times that have long plagued doctoral education. Studies have pointed to various reasons, including inadequate funding, lack of preparation among students, academic isolation and poor supervision. But choice of discipline is undoubtedly near the top. A 2006 study prepared for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (and confirmed by the most recent data from the U15 group of universities) found that students in the humanities and social sciences take about a year longer to complete their degrees and are more likely to abandon their studies than their counterparts in sciences and engineering. Equally worrisome, these students are more likely to devote several years working towards a degree before abandoning it.
Cultural norms and traditions in these disciplines play a role. Students in the social sciences and humanities more often work alone while those in the natural and health sciences collaborate on research projects with colleagues and supervisors. Research shows that students who work on teams are less likely to abandon their studies.

A publishing record also begets success, according to a study by Université de Montréal researcher Vincent Larivière, published last year in the journal Scientometrics. Dr. Larivière, an assistant professor in the university’s school of library and information science, found that of the 30,000 students who entered PhD studies in Quebec between 2000 and 2007, those who published papers were more likely to graduate.
“If you are integrated into research you’ll finish faster and you’ll finish, period,” says Dr. Larivière. Students in the medical and natural sciences are better positioned for success, he observes, since they are more likely to collaborate on research projects and publish their results.

Funding is also an issue. In a related study soon to be published in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Dr. Larivière found that students who received scholarship funding from federal and provincial research councils were more likely to publish and to graduate. An interesting finding was that the amount of money they received had no impact on the amount they published.

“The big difference,” he concludes, “was not between having $20,000 or $35,000 but … between having something and having nothing. That, I think, goes against the grain of everything the federal government is doing right now, which is to create super-scholarships.” Instead of doling out large sums to a few elite students, the granting councils, he suggests, should spread the funds out.
And while the outlook for students in the social sciences and humanities is problematic, “everything is not necessarily rosy in the lab-based culture either,” argues Brent Herbert-Copley, SSHRC vice-president, research capacity. PhD candidates in the natural and health sciences may complete their studies faster, but they also are more likely to linger in postdoctoral positions, he points out. The close working relationship between students and supervisors in these disciplines is beneficial in many ways but can hinder students’ progress, since there is little incentive for supervisors to see them move on to become independent researchers.

“I am one of those people who strongly believes that students tend to take as long as their advisers want them to,” says Jay Doering, dean of graduate studies at the University of Manitoba and past president of the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. He speaks partly from experience, but experience of a different kind: Dr. Doering was fast-tracked from his bachelor degree into a PhD program and then completed his doctorate in four years. The main reason, he says, is because his adviser encouraged it.

However, many professors labour under the impression that it takes years and years to complete a PhD. “Part of the problem, I think, is that a large part of the academy still believes they are creating Mini-Me’s or clones,” says Dr. Doering. “The only way I see it changing is to get a buy-in from the vast majority of the academy that this is a problem.”

In a 2003 report, CAGS made a dozen recommendations for PhD reform. These included recommendations to collect and disseminate data on graduation rates and completion times, to encourage students to work in research teams and to publish more, to consider direct admission into PhD programs, and to provide more guidance to professors on supervision practices. Few of the recommendations have been put into effect.

But change is coming, albeit slowly. Frank Elgar, associate professor at McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy and department of psychiatry who published a study on PhD completion while he was doctoral student at Dalhousie University, says universities are experimenting with ways to redesign programs, restructure comprehensive exams, limit coursework and other efforts to get students through faster. His 2003 report, which drew attention to lengthening completion times, was highly critical of universities for turning a blind eye to the problem.

Now a supervisor himself, Dr. Elgar says getting the right match between student and adviser is crucial. But doctoral students need to be “very driven” and to have a career plan in place at the start of their studies, he adds. Those who enrol for lack of better options or to delay entry into a poor job market are the ones who tend to languish.

For their part, graduate students are wary of speaking out about their personal experiences for fear that what they say could jeopardize their academic success. Yet a lack of funding is top of mind for many of them. Most doctoral candidates receive funding, either through their institution in the form of teaching and research assistantships and other stipends, or through scholarships from the federal tri-council agencies and other government programs. In the sciences, many also receive support through faculty research grants. But assistance is usually limited, and once it runs out students may have to find outside work, which can impede their progress.

Poor supervision is also a common and pressing issue, say students. Supervisors can take months before providing feedback on completed work. “They don’t keep up with you,” says one student who asked not to be named, noting that her own supervisor went on sabbatical for a year, during which time she received no response. Personality conflicts between students and supervisors can also derail things. Some students have complained about outright abuse and exploitation.

When the student-supervisor relationship does break down, students feel they have little recourse and are powerless to speak out. “It’s a little tricky because, in the long term, students are hoping to get reference letters, so maintaining a relationship with their supervisors is quite a sensitive topic,” says Carolyn Hibbs, the graduate students’ representative of the Canadian Federation of Students and president of the York University Graduate Students’ Association.

Melonie Fullick, a PhD candidate at York and a blogger for University Affairs, believes part of the trouble is that faculty members are required to supervise more and more students. “More often people are competing for the attention of supervisors,” she says. The pressures along with the isolation can quickly lead to mental distress.

Mr. Johnston, the former Queen’s student, says that although he had completed much of the research for his dissertation, when it came time to write it, he was completely stymied. His supervisor, though supportive, was busy and preferred to take a hands-off approach. He didn’t know where else to turn for help. Depression quickly set in. There was “a lot of disillusionment and disappointment,” he says. “I remember feeling completely isolated.” He sought counseling for his depression after his second year but he hung on mainly because he liked to teach. Once his funding ran out, he decided to move on.

While universities continue to grapple with the problem, there are two concrete things they could do to help, says Richard Wiggers, executive director, research and programs, at HEQCO: collect and publish more data on doctoral students, and be more candid with them about their prospects. Dr. Wiggers says a colleague recently received a letter from a Canadian university admitting him into a PhD program but advising that his chances of landing a tenure-track position at the end of his studies were slim. “I applaud them” for their frankness, Dr. Wiggers says.

Concordia’s Dr. Carr agrees. “If I were a graduate student today applying to a doctoral program, I would want to be able to have a conversation with the graduate program director about the normal time-to-completion of students in that program and ideally about career outcomes.” In the future, he predicts, the most successful PhD programs will be those that show a willingness to have these discussions, to experiment and to innovate.

Rosanna Tamburri is an award-winning education journalist and regular contributor to University Affairs.

The latest data on completion rates and times

The proportion of PhD students who successfully complete their degrees within nine years has risen across all disciplines, but completion times remain long and in some fields have even increased, according to new data collected by the group of 15 research-intensive Canadian universities known as the U15.
The figures are the most up-to-date on PhD graduation rates and completion times for Canada and are based on data collected from eight of the 15 institutions for which there is comparable data. None of the institutions was identified.

The percentage of students who entered PhD studies in 2001 and successfully completed within nine years averaged 70.6 percent across disciplines; this compares to 62.5 percent of students who started in 1992 and successfully completed. Among the 2001 cohort, completion rates ranged from a high of 78.3 percent in the health sciences to a low of 55.8 percent in the humanities; graduation rates averaged 75.4 percent for students in the physical sciences and engineering, and 65.1 percent for those in the social sciences.
Mean completion times also varied by discipline. Among the 2001 cohort, mean times-to-completion ranged from a low of just under 15 terms – or five years, based on three terms per year – in the physical sciences and engineering, to a high of 18.25 terms, or just over six years, in the humanities. The mean time-to-completion was 15.4 terms in the health sciences and almost 17 terms in the social sciences. Completion times rose in all disciplines except the health sciences.

Back Campus Field Project

PDAD&C #39, 2012-13

From: Scott Mabury, Vice President, University Operations and David Naylor, President
Date: February 20, 2013


Over the last few weeks, we have heard and read critical commentary about the plan to replace the grassy surfaces used for athletics on the back campus with synthetic turf. This commentary has accelerated with a public petition and a variety of false and even bizarre claims about the project.

There is, of course, a very reasonable basis for debate here. Some will argue for maintaining a natural grass playing field, both aesthetically and as a point of environmental principle in an urban context where, instinctively, we lament any reduction in green space. Others will argue that we must focus on the benefits that will be enjoyed by student-athletes and community members who can use these fields, if they are resurfaced with synthetic turf, for hundreds of additional hours each year. They may also respond that, taken in the context of the St. George campus and the City of Toronto as a whole, and setting aside the indisputable aesthetic arguments, the actual environmental impact of this change borders on negligible.

The 'Administration' is sympathetic to the aesthetic reservations of members of our community. We also share the visceral preference for grass over synthetic turf. However, we do not find that the weight of evidence supports the post hoc arguments advanced by those opposed to the project. This is particularly germane since broad health and environmental impacts were considered in the development of the project, and the plans were duly approved by the Governing Council of the University some 10 months ago.

To elaborate on this last point: The matter was put in the hands of a project planning committee involving faculty, staff and students in January 2011. There was wide consultation in the ensuing months, both inside and outside the University. Dissenting voices were very few and far between. The project proposal entered governance in early 2012, and was approved by the Governing Council in April. Indeed, the varied estates of the University represented at the Governing Council have made their support for this project clear in a series of overwhelming votes.

We elaborate below.

Growing Demand for Recreational Athletic Space

Over 10,000 students are engaged in intramural sports on the St. George campus alone, and that number is growing every year. The University's physical activity spaces, however, are not expanding. As intramural waiting lists expand, and as demand for drop-in recreation swells, we are turning frustrated students away from opportunities to engage in regular physical activity because of lack of facility time and space to accommodate the huge demand.

This is the Catch-22 of a downtown location. Converting any grass field to synthetic turf raises hackles given the relative lack of green space in the Toronto core. But that location in turn means that the potential recreational use of our open spaces must be maximized. We also expect this demand to continue to grow annually with our future students' increasing awareness of the importance of physical activity and sports for physical health, including reducing the prevalence of a variety of chronic diseases. Students are also attuned to physical activity as a factor in mental health - a relevant consideration at a time when concerning levels of stress have been reported among students in their teens and twenties.

Natural Turf Maintenance

The back campus fields have been home to intramural and recreational sport for over 100 years, and the challenges of balancing the demand for field time with the need to maintain natural turf are well-documented. The turf in this space is badly degraded and the playing conditions have sparked complaints from students for many years about the combination of uneven footing and hard clods just beneath the grassy surface. Unfortunately, our best efforts to revive and maintain the turf have consistently resulted in a quality playing surface for a very limited time each year.

The comparative advantage of the synthetic turf is that intensive use will continue much later into the fall and early winter, and can resume much earlier in the spring. Students and student-athletes at all levels, along with other members of our community, will realize greater access to these fields throughout the year, and will enjoy a higher quality surface on which to play, train and compete.

The Pan Am Opportunity

The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in 2015 presented an opportunity for the University of Toronto to create infrastructure legacies for the University and broader community. By installing a double synthetic turf field on the back campus for use during the Games, the University could meet a pressing need for a fraction of the usual cost.

Specifically, the University - through the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) - will contribute 44 percent of the cost of the $9.5-million project; the remainder will be provided by government sponsors in return for the Games' exclusive use for a very time-limited period in the summer of 2015. The long-term payback is greatly expanded playing time across the entire spectrum of physical activity programs in high demand by our students - from recreational field use to competitive sports.

We note, further, that the fields will be used in the first instance for the Pan Am field hockey competition. Field hockey is a very popular sport in Europe, Asia and South America. Closer to home, the women's Blues teams have won 11 Canadian championships, and continue to draw outstanding student-athletes. Moreover, for Toronto, the world's most diverse region, changing demographics mean that field hockey has a very bright future among both sexes.

Our colleagues in KPE have asked us to emphasize that the fields will remain open for varied recreational uses. More generally, every sport and recreation facility on U of T campuses is developed with our students in mind. That many of these spaces also serve highly competitive athletes means that U of T students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, surfaces and spaces for keeping active and healthy - and that these resources are supported by the latest knowledge about exercise science, physical activity and healthy living.

The Consultation and Approval Process

As noted above, the University struck a project planning committee in January 2011 to review the feasibility of the back campus fields project. Multiple presentations about the proposal were made to, variously, the University's Design Review Committee, the Neighbourhood Liaison Committee, the Council on Athletics and Recreation, and the Council on Student Services. The project was presented to, and approved by: the Planning and Budget Committee of Academic Board (February 29, 2012); the Business Board (March 4, 2012); the Academic Board (March 14, 2012); and the Governing Council (April 11, 2012). With the exception of one abstention, the support was unanimous at all levels of University governance.

Concerns and Responses

Among the concerns that have been raised, the following bear notice and response.

1. The back campus will be 'privatized'. It will no longer serve as open space with public access for pick-up soccer, flag football, softball and other recreational activities.

The 'privatization' claim is odd sloganeering. The University obviously will continue to own these fields and the kinds of activities that can take place on the fields will not change. In fact, the main change will be increased hours of use for myriad activities. The only period of limitation will be during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games (2 weeks in July 2015, 1 week in August 2015) in return for a contribution of 56 percent of the cost of the project.

2. The use of synthetic turf causes increased risks of injuries.

Students have repeatedly raised the opposite concern, namely, that the current uneven surface predisposes to injuries. These claims are anecdotal. As to synthetic turf, observational studies of varied designs have been undertaken to assess injury rates over the course of many years. In a nutshell, while early forms of synthetic turf were probably associated with higher rates of some types of injury (e.g. ligamentous tears in the knee joint), the bulk of evidence shows no difference between well-maintained and high quality natural surfaces on the one hand, and more recently developed synthetic turf products on the other.

3. This heralds a retreat from green space on the St. George campus and the front fields will be next to go.

The Administration is firmly opposed to synthetic turf on the front campus, and the plans for the back campus include maintenance of grass around the synthetic fields, plus additional plantings that will add natural foliage to the area. Over the years, the University has added scores of trees and shrubs to the St. George campus.

4. Synthetic turf will lead to outbreaks of staph aureus infection among student-athletes.

This is unfortunate scaremongering. Bacteria of diverse types can be found on synthetic turf-blades and in natural turf alike. The community prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization appears to be rising, and MRSA have been isolated in various school and university athletic facilities. Many factors promote transmission, including skin breaks of all types, physical contact among players, and sharing equipment, towels and whirlpools. Absent multivariate and comparative analyses, it is unclear whether synthetic turf is an independent risk factor, and whether any such risk is incremental to that associated with the same activities on natural turf.

5. The plan raises various social, health, and environmental concerns.

The social and health benefits of increased physical activity are empirically validated and substantial.

The turf in question contains no crumb rubber infill, or fill of any kind, nor does it contain lead as a pigment stabilizer.

Synthetic turf surfaces do heat up faster than natural grasses. However, overall heat radiation effects from this limited surface area are trivial in the context of the region, not least as compared to any number of projects involving paving of large surfaces in Toronto.

Storm water drainage layers are customarily built into newer-generation synthetic turf products; that is the case here. There will also be a large storage cistern installed under the field to accommodate large volumes of storm water.

More generally, over the past 40 years, synthetic turf has been installed on thousands of fields worldwide. Numerous independent studies by credible agencies have confirmed the safety of synthetic turf as an outdoor sports surfacing material and found little or no basis for aggressive claims about environmental hazards. Many observers, including the signatories to this memorandum, will nonetheless take the position that a watching brief on the evidence is appropriate. Indeed, at the point when this surface wears out, we would not be surprised to find widespread use of hybrid technologies that combine the best of natural grasses and synthetic surfaces. For now, however, we believe the concerns that have been raised have a weak evidentiary foundation, and that the debate, as noted, turns primarily on aesthetics and an intuitive concern about the environmental impacts of synthetic fields.

Summary and Conclusions

The back campus field project will see two synthetic turf fields installed between University College and Hoskin Avenue. Public airing of the proposal and the related project was undertaken during 2011-12, and very strong support was registered by all estates at the relevant committees and boards of the University's Governing Council. Maintenance of natural foliage and turf around the synthetic surfaces is planned, and concerns now being raised about these surfaces were variously weighed and/or addressed in the planning process or have a weak foundation. The development of these new surfaces is part of a strategy to improve playing time and quality of play for all levels of sport and for the entire U of T community - above all, our students. The project will be proceeding as approved by Governing Council.

Nominations for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: February 28, 2013

Dear colleagues,

Please note  that the submission deadline  for nominations for  The 2013 U of T IDERD Campaign has been extended to February 28th.   This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize members of our faculty, staff and student populations, who have contributed in a variety of ways to the effort of eliminating racial discrimination and advancing anti-racism.

You can  support this initiative by nominating any U of T faculty, staff and student members who you feel have contributed to this effort through their teaching, scholarship and other initiatives that U of T employees or students have applied towards the effort to eliminate racial discrimination and advance anti-racism.

Thank you,


Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, PhD
Vice dean Undergraduate


NOTICE:  Submission Deadline Extended to February 28, 2013!

To:                   The University of Toronto Community
From:              Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity                     
Date:               January 28, 2013
RE:                 The 2013 U of T IDERD Campaign: Call for nominees

In support of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) on March 21st, we would like to recognize those individuals in our faculty, staff and student populations who have contributed to the effort of eliminating racial discrimination and advancing anti-racism.
I invite you to support this initiative by nominating any U of T faculty, staff and student members who you feel have contributed to this effort. You may submit up to two nominations by the deadline of February 22, 2013.

The nomination form provides more information about the U of T IDERD Campaign and the requirements for nomination. Those selected will be profiled as part of our 2013 Campaign. I am counting on leaders like you to identify the outstanding work and initiatives that are being undertaken in your respective divisions, departments, organizations and / or communities. This is an opportunity for us to shine a light on the critical and excellent work that I know is being done throughout the U of T community in support of our overall commitment to diversity, equity and excellence.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about U of T’s 2013 IDERD Campaign, please contact the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office at 416.978.1259 or
We look forward to receiving your nominations.
Background: About U of T’s IDERD Campaign
U of T’s campaign in support of IDERD was launched in March 2012. The Campaign’s objectives are:
·         To increase awareness about IDERD and its importance to the University community;
·         To recognize the range of teaching, scholarship and other initiatives that U of T employees or students have applied towards the effort to eliminate racial discrimination and advance anti-racism;
·         To provide an opportunity for us to collectively share and appreciate the various promising practices in the ongoing challenge to eliminate racism in all its forms.   
The Campaign is coordinated by the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office with the support of the ARCDO Advisory Committee, whose members are drawn from the student, staff and faculty constituencies.

Kuwait University, College of Engineering & Petroleum: faculty members in all engineering disciplines

Kuwait University
College of Engineering & Petroleum

The College of Engineering & Petroleum at Kuwait University is accepting applications for faculty positions beginning Fall or Spring 2013/2014.  We seek individuals with strong background in the areas of:
1.     Electrical Engineering (Assoc. or Full Prof.):
·        All areas

2.     Civil Engineering :
·        Construction Engineering and Management
·        Transportation
·        Surveying and Remote Sensing
·        Structures
·        Environment
·        Water
·        Coastal
·        Geotechnical

3.     Mechanical Engineering (Assoc. or Full Prof.) :
·        Thermal-fluid sciences, with an emphasis on experimental research.    Candidates with experience in multidisciplinary research having environmental applications are especially encouraged to apply.   
·        Machine design, mechanical failure analysis, and kinematics with an emphasis on experimental research.       

4.     Chemical Engineering :
·        Computer Aided Design (CAD)
·        Process Modeling and Simulation
·        Process Control
·        Bio-Technology
·        Nano-Technology

5.     Petroleum Engineering :
·        All areas

6.     Industrial Engineering :
·        Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
Candidates with unique experimental or industrial experience are encouraged to apply. The position requires a strong commitment to teaching, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and a strong commitment to committee work at the department and college levels.

Candidates must have:
1.     Earned doctorates in area of specialization from an accredited first tier university.
2.     The GPA of the Bachelors University degree higher than 3.00 in the 4.00 scale.
3.     Research experience and strong publication record in referred international journals in the area of specialization.
4.     Demonstrated an evidence of outstanding teaching experience at an accredited university.
5.     Good command of teaching in English.

For information about the college of engineering and petroleum, please visit us online ( The site includes privileges and benefits to faculty members.

Qualified applicants should send a complete application form which is available on the site , a detailed resume, including research plans and teaching philosophies and lists of three references,  by April 30, 2013  to:

New "Verification of Student Illness or Injury" Form

PDAD&C #38, 2012-13

To:   PDAD&C
From: Jill Matus, Vice Provost Students
Date:       February 20, 2013
Re:   Notice of change of form to be used by students requesting academic consideration due to illness

The "Verification of Student Illness or Injury" is the new official University of Toronto form for all students who are requesting special academic consideration based on illness or injury.  This new form replaces the "Student Medical Certificate".

The previous "Student Medical Certificate" has been in use for many years and predated significant legislative changes.  It was used extensively by students to request special consideration for medical reasons.  Students, clinicians, faculty and staff have raised issues about the form, primarily in the context of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
The new form has been developed in consultation with representatives on the three campuses and is designed to address privacy issues and enhance consistency.

The "Verification of Student Illness or Injury" form focuses upon the degree of incapacitation that the illness or injury has upon the student's academic functioning and the timeline of that incapacitation, rather than on diagnosis and /or details of the problem.   Guidance for completion is included on the form itself.  A dedicated website has been launched and the form is available in an accessible format.  You will find it at:  The website includes the form, information for students, a Frequently asked Questions page, and links to Registrarial Services at the three campuses.

Please share this information with your faculty and staff so that they are familiar with the new form.  As paper copies of the previous form are still in circulation, there will be a transition period where both the Verification of Student Illness or Injury and the Student Medical Certificate are accepted.

TRIECA Conference: March 26-27, 2013

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority would like invite to your Faculty, and students to attend the 2nd Annual TRIECA Conference on March 26 & 27 at Le Parc Conference & Banquet Centre in Markham, Ontario.

TRIECA is Ontario’s premier stormwater management (SWM) and erosion and sediment control (ESC) conference. We have invited industry experts from around North America present on the latest in technological innovations, case study findings, innovative solutions and academic research. Conference delegates will also have an opportunity to speak directly with industry suppliers and learn about the latest innovative products on the market at the industry tradeshow held concurrently with the conference. The TRIECA conference will be an exciting opportunity for industry professionals, government agencies, students and anyone interested in the protection of our water resources to network with fellow professionals, to expand their knowledge, and to learn about future directions in the industry.

To encourage participation of students in your programme, TRCA is subsidizing the registration cost, and offering a promotional rate of $95 per day or $190 for two days (plus HST ). Delegates attending this conference pay $450 + HST! TRIECA is interested in attracting students who would benefit from the following:

· connect with future employers
· network with industry experts
· learn about current topics in SWM & ESC
· explore leading edge technologies
· share their ideas about the future direction of SWM & ESC

Please feel free to pass along this email to anyone who might benefit from attending.

Le Luong | Event Marketing Associate 
Watershed Management Division
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Office: 9520 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada L4L 1A6
Phone: 647-818-8088
TRIECA 2013 Conference, Ontario Premier SWM & ESC Conference - March 26 & 27
Don't forget to register before February 26th at to save $100 off the registration fee!

Call for applications: Science Leadership Program; May 2-4, 2013

PDAD&C #37, 2012-13

To:   PDAD&C
From:       Cheryl Misak, Vice-President and Provost
Date:       February 14, 2013
Re:   Science Leadership Program, May 2-4, 2013 - Call for applications

Please distribute this memo widely within your units.

The University of Toronto Science Engagement will host its first Science Leadership Program (SLP) from May 2-4, 2013.  The SLP is meant to provide outstanding academic scientists with the skills, approaches and frameworks for engaging more effectively with the media, the decision makers and the public throughout their careers. 

Designed by Prof. Ray Jayawardhana, Senior Advisor on Science Engagement to the President, with the guidance of a planning advisory group, the SLP will build a network of top researchers across the UofT and other research-intensive universities in Canada, who share a common set of goals and to connect them with leaders of relevant external organizations and media to help foster a culture change by putting into practice what they learn at the workshop. 

The SLP will consist of a series of hands-on training sessions on communications, outreach and leadership, discussion panels and opportunities for interaction. Experienced trainers and prominent practitioners will lead the sessions and participate in the panels, including several top policy experts and journalists.  Other session topics include affecting policy, community involvement and team building.

We are looking to select about 12 participants from UofT and about 8 more from other research-intensive Canadian universities. Selection criteria include:
*     excellence in scientific/engineering/medical research and teaching;
*     passion and capacity to exercise leadership and enthusiasm for communicating science;
*     interest, willingness and appropriate professional position to engage with stakeholders; and,
*     commitment to participate fully in the training program and follow-up activities.

Given the intensity and the nature of the training, participants are expected to commit to the full two days of the program. The program will begin with a reception on the evening of Thursday May 2nd and end with a group dinner on Saturday May 4th.  Interested participants are asked to submit an application by March 15, 2013.  Successful applicants will be chosen by March 29, 2013.

The application form and further information can be found at:

Please direct all inquiries to:

London Symposium on Climate Change: June 22-24, 2013

We are pleased to invite you to participate in the London Symposium on Climate Change at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, London, 22, 23 and 24, June, 2013.
The London Symposium on Climate Change is a special interest meeting of London Symposia, an organization devoted to scholarly research, writing and discourse. This interdisciplinary conference is an opportunity for academics and policy makers from the different disciplines to meet and discuss the many issues related to climate change.
The meeting will bring to the table scholars from the realms of economics, engineering, health, law, trade, agriculture, nutrition, political science, philosophy, education and the physical and chemical sciences to present papers and engage in discourse relevant to global warming and its effects on human welfare and progress.
You are invited to present a paper in your area of expertise and to respond to other papers that are presented at the session. You may, also, attend the meeting as an observer. If you decide to present a paper you will be requested to submit a brief abstract of 300 words or less for review by the Symposium Programme Committee.
Notations for the London 2013 meeting are:
  • Abstracts submitted for presentations of papers must be approved by the Programme Committee of the Symposium
  • If authors wish to submit their research papers for publication they must do so within thirty days of the last day of the Symposium.
  • All research papers submitted for publication are subject to external peer review.
  • Papers submitted for publication may be published in a Symposium Review, as an edited book or as a journal article.
  • Please see the “"Research Topics” for the range of Symposium interests.

Register for the symposium here before May 5, 2013.
For more information, please use the contact form or email: conferences@london-symposium-on-climate

Welcome to the CIV-MIN Blog

This is where we compile all the announcements, postings and non-urgent alerts that used to clog up your email inbox. Feel free to scroll through the latest postings organized by date below, or check our categorized listings on the right for the information you want.