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Teaching journalism at the University
Last updated: November, 2021
Faculty in the School of Journalism are journalists, educators, and innovators in equal measure, radically so. Our team is made of people with a record of distinguished achievement in online, print and broadcast media. We are passionate about good journalism and the elements of reporting, storytelling, fact-checking, writing and producing. We have a vocation for teaching and mentoring. We believe good journalism makes an essential contribution to human society and that its survival depends on passing the knowledge gained during years of hard-won experience to eager and talented novices.
Instructors also believe that journalism, if it is to retain the trust of its audiences and its utility to society, cannot remain unexamined. Most not only continue to practice journalism but also engage in systematic study and research. We investigate the quality and character of journalism, the education and attitudes of journalists, media coverage of marginalized communities, the teaching of journalistic craft, and many other topics. Besides our experience in journalism, we have advanced academic qualifications in such areas as political science, international relations, law, history, English literature, religious studies and film. We publish the results of our research in scholarly journals and use it to enhance the classroom experience we offer to students. The School of Journalism believes the ideal faculty member will be active in several areas of scholarly investigation and journalistic practice, and has developed our own guidelines for assessing these activities.
We regularly have vacancies to join our faculty, but each one is different and must be advertised with precise specifications. We choose the wording of these postings carefully to reflect the mix of qualifications and abilities we are looking for, and also to conform to university policies, collective agreements, and government regulations.
The availability of part-time and temporary work depends on several factors, including students’ choice of courses and the schedule of sabbatical leave for tenured faculty members. If you are a practicing journalist thinking about a career shift or a side gig, or, if you already have teaching experience at another post-secondary institution, we offer you this guide to help explain the various types of teaching appointments we offer.
The School of Journalism (J-School)
We are the largest journalism school in Canada and almost the oldest (more than 70 years old). We have 15 full-time faculty, about 30 part-time (contract) faculty, adjuncts and visiting professors. We currently have about 500 students enrolled full-time in our four-year Bachelor of Journalism degree and another 50 in the two-year Master of Journalism program.
Journalism graduates are known for their solid grounding in journalistic craft and their ability to begin work immediately as full-time reporters, editors and producers, as well go on to pursue impactful careers in a variety of creative fields. Students also receive a thorough education in liberal studies, media ethics and critical issues surrounding the practice of journalism.
Our undergraduate curriculum includes multi-platform, digitally-focused foundation courses. Senior students have some flexibility in choosing professional specializations and a wide variety of academically oriented courses,, including journalism’s history, critical context, and current challenges. Practical electives cover diverse areas such as photojournalism, broadcast, feature writing, editing and covering religion, racialization, queer media, indigeneity, religion, equity-deserving communities, sports, business, politics and science.
The Master of Journalism is a professional post-graduate degree oriented towards urban journalism. Besides course work, students undertake a major journalistic project such as a radio or television documentary, magazine-length article or multimedia production.
We are constantly upgrading our equipment and facilities to make sure our students are properly prepared for what they will encounter on the job. A dedicated, professional administrative and production staff strives to make sure Journalism students and instructors have the right tools and conditions for teaching and learning.
The school is one of nine academic units in the university’s The Creative School, and works in concert with nine other professional schools to support interdisciplinary cross over in creative teaching and research.
Toronto Metropolitan University is unique in Canada for its blend of professional and academic education. Born as an institute of technology, it has been a university since 1993. As we are located in vibrant, culturally diverse downtown Toronto. Journalism students have a thousand stories right on their doorstep.
Commitment to Equity, Community, and Inclusion
The School of Journalism seeks to develop the broadest possible range of diversity in our student body, full-time and part-time faculty, staff and curriculum. The university is dedicated to achieving equity goals for five designated groups. Every job posting contains the following passage:
Toronto Metropolitan University welcomes those who have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion and will assist us to expand our capacity for diversity in the broadest sense. In addition, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment in Canada, we encourage applications from members of groups that have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, Indigenous peoples of North America, racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and those who identify as women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.
More information on our equity work is available on our website. All new hires receive comprehensive ECI training. The environment of the school mandates that the advancement of anti-oppressive and inclusive frameworks are the core of everything we do, including classroom management, the teaching of journalism practice and theory, interpersonal interaction, and news-room preparedness.
These are the only permanent, full-time teaching positions in the school. We advertise for them when we have a vacancy because of resignation or retirement, or when we’re authorized to add to our team. This happens once every two years or more. In filling these positions, we generally look for the ability to teach the craft of journalism as it is practiced in one or more media platforms, the desire and demonstrated ability to advance ECI as well as evidence of the ability to conduct scholarly research, engage in creative (often journalistic) activity, and contribute to the work of the school in other ways, including administrative and pastoral duties.
The selection process is conducted by the Departmental Hiring Committee (DHC) which forwards its recommendation to the Dean of the Creative School, who negotiates compensation and other aspects of the position set out in a letter of appointment. The appointment must also be approved by the Vice-Provost, Faculty Affairs, and the President.
Tenure-stream professors are members of the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) and the terms of their employment are governed by the collective agreement between Toronto Metropolitan University and the RFA. Normally, the newly hired faculty member serves a probationary period during which they work to attain the status of a tenured professor. Becoming tenured requires demonstrated achievement both in teaching and in scholarly, research and creative activity.
Part-time instructors (Contract Lecturers)
Part-time contract positions appeal to journalists who enjoy the challenge of passing on skills to a new generation. These instructors are hired mostly for individual courses for which they have specific experience, skills and knowledge.
If you are considering teaching part-time, you should chat with the chair(s) to get an idea of what teaching here involves and how the hiring process operates. Although there may be 20 or more courses advertised each semester, there are often candidates who have accumulated seniority as members of CUPE (the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3904, Unit 1).
Most positions are advertised in May and November. The positions are advertised on the school’s website and social media, and posted on the University’s career site. Hiring is conducted by the Contract Lecturer Appointment Committee (CLAC) which forwards its recommendation to the Dean. The process is governed by university policies, government regulations and the collective agreement.
Limited-Term Faculty (LTF)
These are full-time, non-permanent appointments, normally lasting a year. Limited-term faculty are members of the RFA whose duties are similar to tenure-stream professors except that they are not required to engage in scholarly, research or creative activity. They are sometimes hired to replace permanent faculty on leave. Normally, the qualifications of limited-term faculty members are comparable to those of tenure-stream appointments.
Visiting and Adjunct professors
We have experts in fields related to journalism who make a significant contribution to the school and its students who are appointed as adjunct professors. The appointment normally carries no remuneration, but adjunct professors have access to certain facilities. The School also appoints a Rogers Visiting Journalist.
Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants
Teaching and graduate assistants are hired to support instructors to lead discussions in tutorials and grade assignments under the supervision of a faculty member. While some positions normally go to students, the School also hires professional journalists in workshop classes. The positions are posted usually in August for the Fall semester and December for the Winter semester; the instructor for the course (either full-time or part-time) is responsible for hiring. TAs and GAs are covered by a collective agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3904, Unit 3.
Do I need a master’s degree?
For tenure-stream and limited-term positions, yes. For part-time positions, no.
We require a minimum of a master’s or equivalent degree for all tenure-stream and limited-term positions. On rare occasions, a candidate in the advanced stages of a master’s program will be considered. If such a candidate is hired, the awarding of tenure will be conditional on completing the degree.
Part-time appointments for professional courses require at least a bachelor’s degree; many of our instructors have a master’s degree. More theoretical courses are taught by those with appropriate academic qualifications.
Do I need teaching experience?
For tenure-stream, limited-term and part-time teaching, yes. For Teaching Assistant jobs, no.
We prefer all of our instructors, both full-time and part-time, to come to the university after gaining post-secondary teaching experience. Some have worked as Teaching Assistants for us while others may have extensive experience as professional trainers and leaders of workshops for journalists.