Streamlining the Process for MRA Approvals for Teaching Stream Faculty (PDAD&C #4)
From: Heather Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life
Leah Cowen, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives
Date: August 5, 2022
Re: Streamlining the Process for MRA Approvals for Teaching Stream Faculty (PDAD&C #4)
We are writing to advise you about some changes to the My Research Applications & Agreements (MRA) access approvals process for teaching stream faculty.
In light of the fact that the new teaching stream ranks have become well-established and more broadly understood following the 2015 changes to the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA), and following significant consultation with central and divisional stakeholders, we have decided that this is an appropriate time to streamline the process. We hope that this will avoid delays in circumstances where grant deadlines are fast approaching.
Approvals for Teaching Stream Faculty
Historically, teaching stream faculty have had to request approval for access to MRA on a case-by-case basis from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life (VPFAL). This was, in part, because there was a desire to ensure that the proposed grant had been appropriately considered in light of the particular role and workload of teaching stream faculty. However, we have now determined that the review process should appropriately end with the Dean’s Office in most cases.
Under this new arrangement, teaching stream faculty will automatically be provided with access to MRA when they are hired, as is the case with tenure stream faculty. Unit heads would review requests to approve grant applications in the normal course and would continue to ensure that the proposed project is appropriately aligned with the faculty member’s role in the teaching stream and the criteria for continuing status and promotion, and whether the scope of the project is reasonable in relation to their assigned workload.
As a reminder, section 30. (x) of the PPAA states that “a positive recommendation for continuing status will require the judgment of excellence in teaching and evidence of demonstrated and continuing future pedagogical/professional development.
a. Excellence in teaching may be demonstrated through a combination of excellent teaching skills, creative educational leadership and/or achievement, and innovative teaching initiatives in accordance with appropriate divisional guidelines.
b. Evidence of demonstrated and continuing future pedagogical/professional development may be demonstrated in a variety of ways e.g. discipline-based scholarship in relation to, or relevant to, the field in which the faculty member teaches; participation at, and contributions to, academic conferences where sessions on pedagogical research and technique are prominent; teaching-related activity by the faculty member outside of his or her classroom functions and responsibilities; professional work that allows the faculty member to maintain a mastery of his or her subject area in accordance with appropriate divisional guidelines.” [emphasis added]
Once approved at the unit level, MRA applications from teaching stream faculty will escalate to the Dean’s office or Principal’s office at UTM and UTSC. Dean/Principal’s office will review and approve these applications in the normal course, ensuring that the appropriate resources for the project are in place and that the project is consistent with the unique role of teaching stream faculty and their workload as outlined above.
A Note Regarding Part-time Faculty
On January 1, 2021 a number of changes to the Policy and Procedures on the Employment Conditions of Part-time Faculty came into effect (see PDAD&C 20-21, #79). Among these changes was the provision for a review in the 6th year of employment leading, if successful, to a continuing appointment. The revised policy also states explicitly that “Whether a faculty member is full or part-time does not affect eligibility to act as a Principal Investigator or their eligibility to apply for grants or awards provided they are otherwise eligible.” Key considerations regarding approval will be: assessing if the project is reasonable in light of the FTE of their appointment; and, if applicable, reviewing whether the project can be completed before the end of the applicant’s academic appointment. If the faculty member is appointed in the teaching stream, unit heads and Dean’s Offices will also want to ensure that the project is consistent with the unique role of teaching stream faculty and their workload as outlined above.
Irrespective of any determination made by the University regarding Principal Investigator eligibility status, all applicants are subject to the eligibility guidelines of the research sponsor, some of whom require full-time status for the Principal Investigator.
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