Professor John Munro passed away on December 23, 2013. This site is maintained and kept online as an archive. For more infomation please visit the Centre for Medieval Studies
Professor (Emeritus) John H. Munro passed away December 23, 2013
Department of Economics,
University of Toronto
Updated 8 November 2011
REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS FOR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Those who request letters of recommendation from me must read and observe the following conditions. Unless you meet ALL of these conditions no letters will be sent on your behalf.
- You must have completed at least one full-year course taken from me: that is, I will not write letters of
recommendation for any students who are taking a course from me, this year, for the first time -- not until the course is over and the final exams graded. Obviously,
therefore, this restriction does not apply to any of my current students who have taken a course from me in previous years.
- Note that this applies also to graduate students: I will not write any letters for students whose work I have
not yet supervised, and have not written an essay or academic paper under my supervison. I will not, therefore, read
any work submitted to some other professor.
- I must know who you are and have met your personally.
- You must have obtained from me a grade of at least A- (and preferably a full A grade). Undergraduate
students who did the mid-year take home test stand a better chance of receiving from me an effective letter,
since I can better comment on their work and academic abilities.
- When requesting any letters of recommendation from me, you must contact me by e-mail, even if you come personally to my office, to make the request and subsequently to confirm all
arrangements made on your behalf.
- You must supply me with a transcript of your marks at the University of Toronto (or at other universities): but an unofficial ROSI transcript sent by e-mail is fine.
- You must be applying for some graduate programme or position that is in some way related to economic history.
I will certainly consider that applications to a law school or for a government position meet this test.
- You must give me at least two weeks notice -- and preferably three weeks.
- You must supply with a list of the graduate schools, law schools, or other universities, or governments to which you applying: and that list must contain the full postal addresses, with postal (zip) code
(even if the recommendation letter is to be submitted online).
- You must supply me with your current e-mail address and phone number -- so that I may contact you, if problems arise.
- The maximum number of recommendation letters that I will do for any one student in any one given years is TEN. So choose carefully which letters you need from me.
- If the submission of letters is to be handled online, please notify me, by e-mail, each and every time that you in turn submit your applications online, to the various universities. In other words, provide
me with a warning that I am about to receive an e-mail request for such letters. In doing so, remind me when you previously contacted me by e-mail for the letters (preferably by the date of the e-mail).
An explanation for this restriction on doing letters of recommendation.
- When I was a full-time faculty member and employee of the University of Toronto (up to 2003), doing letters of recommendation
was part of my job, for which I was paid a good salary. Since the University forced me to retire,
after my 65th birthday [aka:
Mandatory Retirement], in my case in June 2003, I
no longer feel any such obligation to do letters for undergraduate students in general. [Yes, the University of
Toronto has recently abolished
mandatory retirement, to take effect from 1 July 2006; but this does not apply to me,
since it is not retroactive]
But I will continue to do such letters for those who meet the above conditions.
- Of course, retired or not, I still have the moral obligation to do letters of recommendation for my own graduate
students (those whose theses I am supervising, or have supervised), present and past, and for my colleagues.
- I similarly have a moral obligation to referee journal articles, and most other publications; and similarly to
referee SSHRC and other research grant proposals, for colleagues and my graduate students.
- Writing such letters, refereeing articles, etc., is enormously time consuming and fatiguing; and I feel now,
as a retiree, that I have the right to ration the time that I now expend, since that time is not infinite and these
tasks have high opportunity costs for me.
- Yes, I can understand your need for letters of recommendation; but I am not the only professor from whom you have
taken a course.
- One a more postive note, let me inform you that you do not need to supply addressed envelopes nor stamps. I would
prefer to produce my own envelope (from the address on the letter) on my computer, and with my printer.
The department will pay all required postage.
Furthermore, you should know that we send letters to all universities within Ontario, without postage, and thus
without using Canada Post. Our service is called IUTS: Inter-University Transit Service. So, do not waste your money
- When I have mailed or delivered your letters of recommendation, I shall notify you that I have done so, by e-mail.
Thus, please ensure that I have your most recent, most up to date e-mail address. If, however, you do not hear from me,
within a reasonable amount of time, please do not hesitate to contact me about your letters. Though I normally keep a
'to do list' on my Palm Treo, I may forget to record this obligation -- and so it may pay to remind me, if I have not contacted you.
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