HPME Approved to Become an Institute – Q&A

HPME is pleased to announce that the Governing Council of the University of Toronto has approved the Department’s proposal to become an Extra Departmental Unit (EDU-A)—specifically an Institute. The proposal was approved at the Council’s October 27th meeting. HPME will implement the change in mid-November.

EDU-AHPME Proposal: April 6, 2011 – [PDF]

The following Q&A provides answers to some common questions:

What is the difference between an Institute and a Department?
An Institute is a type of Extra Departmental Unit (EDU:A.) It is a centrally established and independent unit outside the usual departmental structure that is designed to foster research and teaching in specialized areas. Specifically, this status is available only to a well-established, interdisciplinary department or group that has a critical mass of scholarship focused in a defined area. By contrast, Departments generally offer a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs and research.
What is the advantage of being an Institute?
Institute status allows us to continue our strong graduate and research programs while providing new opportunities for the future.

It will allow us to build on our interdisciplinary strengths by formalizing and strengthening cross-departmental relationships and collaborations. This will include academic, research and policy partners both internal and external to the university.

We will also benefit from the higher profile of an Institute—a significant factor in increasing visibility of our research and programs. Increased visibility brings many advantages, including the ability to more effectively fundraise for endowed chairs—an important means of recruiting and retaining top-rated faculty members.

HPME is a small department with a history of successfully leveraging its resources to achieve a significant impact in academic circles and the health care system. Becoming an Institute allows us to build on that success while ensuring stability and sustainability—two critical issues for all of academia in the current economic climate.

How does this change HPME’s relationship to the Faculty of Medicine?
Previously, HPME was a Department of the Faculty of Medicine. Now, HPME will be an Institute within the University of Toronto, with the Faculty of Medicine as its lead faculty. Operationally, HPME will continue to report to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
What will HPME’s relationship be with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH)?
Although the Faculty of Medicine will be our lead faculty, we will also report to the DLSPH as a means of formalizing our long history of collaboration in the Faculty of Medicine’s Community Health Sector. As the Institute and DLSPH continue to evolve, we anticipate new synergies in the future. For example, the inaugural chair of Public Health Policy at DLSPH creates new opportunities to bridge health policy and public health policy.
Will any of these changes impact HPME’s authority over its own programs and research?
No – our accountability and responsibility is unchanged. HPME continues to control its own budget, content and structure of graduate programs and courses, admission of students and hiring of faculty..
Will my degree program change as a result of HPME becoming an Institute?
No – our degree programs, concentrations and courses remain unchanged..
Will there be any changes to HPME faculty? Will they have additional teaching or supervision responsibilities?
No – our faculty complement and their responsibilities will not be affected..
I am partway through my degree. Will there be any changes in SGS processes or paper work that I need to be aware of?
This is a seamless change within the School of Graduate Studies. It does not change the current regulations or processes that govern faculty and students..
Will there be any change in fees?
Fees are set by the UofT’s Governing Council. Institute status does not impact this practice or the fees themselves..
Will I now have access to courses that I didn’t previously as a result of the new Institute status?
This may be possible. One of the advantages to EDU:A status is our ability to formalize relationships with other academic units (faculties, departments, schools) within UofT in a manner not available to us as a Department. Access to courses is negotiated and this ability may facilitate that..
How does this change relate to the search for a new Chair/Director for HPME?
It doesn’t really. Louise Lemieux-Charles will complete her second term as Chair in June of 2012 and a search would be underway for her successor regardless of whether HPME pursued status as an EDU:A. However, a strong academic unit that has taken proactive steps to secure its own stability and sustainability will be more attractive to individuals considering this important leadership position. As an Institute, we will be hiring for the position of Director (rather than a Departmental Chair.).