Letters of Reference

External and internal referees provide substantial weight in favour of a candidate’s promotion. Candidates will submit a list of potential referees, who will be contacted by the University of Toronto (U of T) Department of Medicine (DoM) administrator to request a confidential review of the  candidate. Candidates going forward for Excellence in Research or CPA must submit a list of potential external referees, and candidates for Sustained Excellence in Teaching must submit a list of potential internal referees. The submitted list must have a minimum of six names who meet all below criteria. The candidate should consult with the DDD on this list, and note the DDD's suggestions by ticking the "suggested by" box on the form.

All candidates must also submit a list of current or former students who we can contact for student letters. Please submit a minimum of eight and maximum of twelve names of potential student referees.

Important note:  As the Department of Medicine administrator will solicit all referees, under no circumstances should candidates contact any of their potential referees at any time during the promotions process regarding using them as a referee. You do not need to ask them for their permission to use them, nor should you notify them you have put them on your list. Doing so will automatically void them from your list of referees.

Download Form: External Referee List 

Download Form: Internal Referee List 

Download Form: Student Letter List

Please note that referees are meant to offer their professional opinion on scholarly achievement, not a personal perspective. Friends, mentors, present or former teachers and supervisors will be considered in conflict. 

There should be no financial relationship between the candidate and referee. Sharing patients or sitting on the same committee or exam board does not necessarily disqualify a referee, but can also be considered a conflict. Both candidates and referees should keep in mind any possibility of a conflict of interest and exercise judgement as to the closeness of the relationship.

External Referees          

External referees establish the candidate’s reputation nationally or internationally, help to frame the value-add of his/her work, and place the candidate in context of their peers and the expectations for promotion at other universities.

In order to write on a candidate’s behalf, external referees must be:

  • at arm's length - no collaboration (e.g. publications or research grants) in the past five years
  • senior experts in the academic field
  • at or above the aspired rank

Need help finding eligible referees?

  • conduct PubMed search
  • ask international colleagues for names

Internal Referees

Internal Referees are only required for those candidates waiving External Review, ie, candidates going forward on Sustained Excellence in Teaching. Internal referees will not be solicited for candidates going forward on Excellence in Research or CPA.

Internal referees must be:

  • Faculty in DoM or other U of T departments, e.g., surgery
  • Outside of the candidate’s University division and ideally outside of the candidate's primary hospital.
  • All referees requested within the primary hospital must be from a different University department (not Department of Medicine).
  • NOT close colleagues (including clinical colleagues) or personal associates
  • At arm’s length: no collaboration (e.g. publications or research grants) within the past five years
  • at or above the aspired rank

The following people are not eligible to act as internal referees:

Members of the Decanal Promotion Committee 

Members of the DoM Promotion Committee or Teaching Effectiveness Committee

U of T Clinical Faculty Advocate

Additionally, please avoid:

Hospital Physicians-In-Chief 

Chairs of other Faculty of Medicine Departments

U of T DoM Division Directors

Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for more information on letters of reference.

Student Testimonials

The candidate must provide a minimum of eight and no more than twelve names of potential student referees.   

These students should be:

  • current or former trainees, taught/trained/supervised by the candidate since last promotion.
  • representative of multiple levels of training, e.g. undergraduate to postgraduate to graduate supervision depending on the scope of the candidate’s teaching activities. 
  • able to attest to the candidate’s attributes as an effective teacher, educational scholar and mentor

University Reporting Letters

The DoM promotions administrator will solicit additional support letters for each candidate from the following individuals:

  • The Hospital Physician-in-Chief
  • The Department Division Director
  • The Chair of any cross-appointed departments or research institutes
  • The DoM Chair