Procedures for Adjunct Research Associates


Adjunct Research Associates (ARAs) are appointed to aid in supervision and evaluation graduate and undergraduate (honours) students in the biology department. Application for ARA status is normally linked to serving on the supervisory committee of a graduate student.


Applicants normally hold a PhD degree and have demonstrated ability to advise and evaluate graduate and undergraduate students in the biology department.

Privileges and responsibilities

  • Use of the university library.
  • Use of biology department stationery in correspondence.
  • Mail slot in the biology department office.
  • Right to apply for grants to be held at Dalhousie University.
  • Membership in one or more graduate streams (Ecology & Evolution, Cell & Molecular, Organismal Biology).
  • Use of laboratory and office space in the biology department, depending on availability.
  • Responsibility for membership on graduate student(s) supervisory committee. An ARA is eligible to serve as co-supervisor of a student supervised by a full-time member of the department or adjunct professor.
  • Responsibility to serve as an examiner at admission to candidacy exams.1
  • Responsibility to serve as an examiner at preliminary exams.1
  • Responsibility to serve as an examiner at thesis defenses.1
  • Eligibility to teach in the Graduate Module Class (BIOL 5705) in accordance with departmental requirements.
  • Eligibility to supervise honours students and serve as an honours thesis examiner.

Application Procedure

Applicants should be aware of the privileges and responsibilities of ARAs (see above). They should also be aware of procedures for admission and supervision of Graduate Students in Biology. This information is available through the biology office or website.

Application for an ARA position is made to the Chair of the Biology Appointments and Awards Committee. The application package should include:

  • A covering letter indicating the name and degree program of the graduate student(s) to be supervised and acknowledging the privileges and responsibilities associated with ARA status in the biology department.
  • A letter of nomination by a faculty member in the biology department who will supervise the student(s) and who shares a common academic interest with the applicant.
  • The applicant’s CV and specific documentation of prior experience in undergraduate and graduate teaching.
  • Two letters of reference (one of which can be from the nominating member).

The Chair of the AAC will acknowledge receipt of the application and inform the applicant if further information is required.

Appointment procedure

The AAC considers the application and makes a recommendation to the Committee of the Whole (COW), which votes to ratify the recommendation at its next meeting. The Chair of the AAC will inform the applicant and the Department Chair of its recommendation and the decision of the COW. The Department Chair forwards positive decisions, along with any comments and the applicant’s CV, to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The appointment is made by the Dean of Graduate Studies (see FGS manual on policy, governance and procedures).

Appointment term

Appointment as an ARA is normally for five years.

Reporting and renewal procedures

Renewal for another five-year term is awarded in cases where the ARA has fulfilled his/her responsibilities and is serving on the supervisory committee of a continuing student in the biology department, or where there is another graduate student pending.

Renewal is subject to documented evidence that the ARA has satisfactorily fulfilled his/her graduate teaching responsibilities, including:

  • Participation in Admission to Candidacy Exams, Preliminary Exams and Thesis Defenses of co-supervised graduate students.  The ARA may also participate in examining committees of students supervised by other members of the biology department, but has no obligation to do so.
  • Any other contributions to graduate or undergraduate teaching (e.g., Graduate Module class BIOL 5705, honours thesis supervision and/or examination).

This information should be provided as a report to the Chair of the AAC on June 30 of the 5th year of the appointment term.

The biology department will notify ARAs when their report is due and provide a report form. It is the responsibility of the ARA to keep a record of his/her teaching and participation in graduate and undergraduate committees and exams.

After the five-year term of appointment, the AAC will review the record of the ARA, including the interim and final reports and any other relevant information (e.g., from the Chair of Admissions and Graduate Director), and make a recommendation for renewal (where this is requested) to the COW for ratification. If the ARA has a student in progress after the fifth year and the AAC finds that renewal for another five-year term is not appropriate, they may recommend an extension for the ARA until the student has completed her/his program. In such cases, there will be no further opportunity for renewal.

Following the recommendation of the AAC and the vote of the COW, the Chair of the biology department submits a request for renewal to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Approved by Department of Biology Appointments and Awards Committee on May 30, 2007.

Department of Biology Appointment and Awards Committee

  • Christine Beauchamp
  • Brian Hall
  • Mark Johnston
  • Tom MacRae
  • Robert Scheibling (Chair)

1ARAs must be available for the Admission to Candidacy Exam, Preliminary Exam and Thesis Defense of the student(s) that they co-supervise. They also are eligible to serve on examining committees of graduate students supervised by other members of the department.

Submitted by Robert Scheibling (Chair AAC) June 1, 2007
COW Motion 966 approved June 11, 2007