Report: UTM Academic Affairs Committee - October 28, 2019

Council Chamber, Room 3130, William G. Davis Building, UTM


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on October 28, 2019 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chambers, William G. Davis Building.

Steven Short (Chair), Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President & Principal), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Heather Miller (Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning), Kent Moore (Vice-Principal, Research), Andreas Bendlin, Randy Besco, Brett Beston, Mitchell Bonney, Patrick Braszak, Marc Dryer, Amanda Facciol, Miquel Faiq, Ulrich Fekl, Sherry Fukuzawa, Monika Havelka, Shelley Hawrychuk, Rosa Hong, Sara Malhotra, Diane Matias, Ashley Monks, Andrew Nicholson, Andrea Olive, Andreas Park, Esteban Parra, Lindsay Schoenbohm, Kayla Sousa, Meghan Sutherland, Alison Syme, Steve Szigeti, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Jaimal Thind, Mihkel Tombak, Xing Wei.

Non-Voting Assessors:
Yen Du (Program and Curriculum Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs)

Laura Taylor (Vice-Chair), James Allen, Sultan Akif, Laura Brown, Alexandru Cioban, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Nathan Innocente, Konstantin Khanin, Anna Korteweg, Teresa Lobalsamo, Sebastian Malek, Rhonda McEwen, Pascal Michelucci, Lorretta Neebar, Diana Raffman, Chester Scoville, Adwet Sharma, Andrew Sepielli, Ziyaad Vahed, Daniel White, Rebecca Wittmann, Xiaodong Zhu, Samra Zafar, Xiadong Zhu.

In Attendance:
Angela Lange (Vice-Dean, Faculty), Nour Alideeb (Chair, Quality Service to Students committee & Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students), Miguel Cabral (Campus Council member), Chad Nuttall (Director, Student Housing and Residence), Anne Gaiger (Assistant Director, Employer Relations and Marketing), Jackie Goodman (Manager, Orientation, Transition & Engagement, Centre for Student Engagement), Joel Levine (Chair, Department of Biology), Anuar Rodrigues (Director, Academic Planning, Policy, and Research), Eckhard Schumann (Director, Undergraduate Programs, Management), Sara da Silva (Senior Project Specialist, Academic Policy and Planning), Veronica Vasquez (International Education Centre), Anthony Wensley (ICCIT),

Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council

The meeting was held in open session.

  1. Chair’s Remarks
    The Chair welcomed members to the meeting and reminded them about the upcoming governance elections. Nominations for elected positions on the UTM AAC would open during the first week of January 2020. Nominations for the following positions would be sought: five teaching staff positions in the departments of English & Drama, Geography, Psychology, Biology, Mathematical & Computational Sciences; and seven student positions, split between four full-time undergraduate, two graduate and one part-time undergraduate students. Members with questions should contact the Deputy Returning Officer, Cindy Ferencz Hammond.

  2. Overview of UTM Faculty Composition
    The Chair invited Professor Angela Lange, Vice-Dean, Faculty, to present.

    Professor Lange provided a presentation on the profiles of faculty composition at UTM. She showed the number of new hires in the academic year 2018-19 by department, and noted that out of the 34 advertised searches, eight failed, two were cancelled, and 23 searches were successful.

    Professor Lange further explained that occasionally, when a new faculty member is hired, a spousal hire is also requested. As a result, in 2018-19 there were 23 permanent faculty hires and three spousal hires, divided between eleven hiring units.

    Moving on to information about country of citizenship, it was noted that nearly 50% of new faculty hired in 2018-19 were from Canada, with the remainder split between the United States (second most), China, France and Colombia.

    On the topic of the rank and stream of hires, including spousal hires, the majority of the hiring had been in the category of Assistant Professors (24 out of 26), which included CLTA/LTA (Contractually Limited Term Appointments) with three hires, Research or Tenure stream with 15 hires, and Teaching Stream with six hires. The remaining hires were in the Associate Professor category, consisting of two out of 26. With respect to gender distribution, in 2018-19, 13 women faculty and 10 men faculty were hired. Professor Lange showed a graph of gender distribution by sector, and noted that in the Humanities, all new hires had been women (4), in the Professional & Applied Sciences, which included Economics and Management, the split was 3 men and 6 women; in the Sciences all new hires were men (3) and in the Social Sciences, that number corresponded to 4 men and 3 women.

    Professor Lange concluded her presentation by discussing the 2019 total faculty complement, noting that out of a total faculty complement of 458 faculty, 391 were permanent or continuing with 316 in the tenure or research stream and 75 in the teaching stream. She noted that generally, faculty in the tenure stream represented the highest proportion of the complement, with the next highest portion in the teaching stream, followed by CLTA’s.

    In response to a member’s question, Professor Lange reported that although she did not have the exact figures, that some CLTA/LTA’s were successful at obtaining continuing positions by applying to positions through the normal search process.
  3. Minor Modification: Certificate in Effective Business Practices & Leadership Skills
    The Chair invited Professor Eckhard Schumann, Director, Undergraduate Programs, Management, to present the item.

    Professor Schumann explained that the Department of Management was proposing the creation of a for-credit Certificate in Effective Business Practices & Leadership Skills. The creation of this Category 2 certificate would provide students the opportunity to participate in a 4-month paid work-integrated learning placement to gain valuable work experience in industry, transfer knowledge and skills developed in their programs to activities in the workplace, and expand their professional networks. Moreover, this Certificate would fulfill the Department’s mandate to provide authentic work experience for its students, increase engagement with community partners, and build experiential learning opportunities as outlined in UTM’s Academic Plan 2017.

    He reported that the proposed certificate program would be available to students enrolled in any Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) Specialist program including specialists in Commerce, Accounting, Finance and Marketing as well as students enrolled in any Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Specialist program including specialists in Management and Human Resources. Completion of the Certificate would require five courses; a minimum of 15 points from Management’s Professional Skills Development Program; participation in a workplace preparation workshop; as well as a 4-month paid work-integrated learning placement.

    Professor Schumann noted that the goals of this Certificate were to expand on and explore additional opportunities for paid professional experience relevant to students’ fields of study, improve departmental connections to industry, and showcase Management student talent.

    He explained that the Certificate was designed to have limited enrolment, with completion of MGT 231H5 (Business Finance) and MGT 262H5 (Psychology for Work) prior to a request for enrolment. In addition, prospective students would also have to complete at least 15 points in the Professional Skills Development program, which included interview skills, resume development and business ethics, and following an application, once students had been shortlisted, they would be invited for an interview.

    In response to questions, Professor Schumann confirmed that there were no additional fees expected of students and that with respect to the work-integrated learning placement, because it had been planned to occur during the summer months, there would be no limitations prohibiting international students to participate.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed Certificate in Effective Business Practices & Leadership Skills, offered by the Department of Management, recommended by Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, and described in the proposal dated October 10, 2019, be approved, effective September 1, 2021.
  4. Program Closure: Combined Degree Programs, HBA (ICCIT) / MI (FI) - Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and Faculty of Information
    The Chair invited Professor Anthony Wensley, former Chair of ICCIT to present.

    Professor Wensley explained that the proposal was to close the three combined degree programs (CDPs) offered through the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and the Faculty of Information (FI).
    These CDPs were introduced in 2014, at which time it had been perceived that undergraduate programs in the ICCIT were a natural precursor to graduate training in information studies, so these three CDPs would provide students with an academic path to the Faculty of Information while reducing the collective time to completion of both degrees by half a year. Since their commencement, however, these programs have struggled to attract qualified students, even though many ICCIT undergraduates do go on to the MI program at FI.

    Professor Wensley reported that in April 2017, the ICCIT underwent an external review of the Institute and its programs, including these three CDPs. The resulting external reviewer’s report explicitly stated that there was a lack of clarity in the objectives of the CDPs and recommended that these programs be closed. He noted that with no students currently enrolled in any of the CDPs, it was expected that there would be no negative impact to either the academic unit or the corresponding stand-alone programs. Students would be informed with respect to the termination of these programs through student organizations and e-mail announcements to the student body. He noted that both ICCIT and FI were in full support of the closures.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed closure of the combined degree program, HBA/Master of Information offered through the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the Faculty of Information, as recommended by the Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, in the proposal dated October 10, 2019, be approved with an anticipated program closure date of January 1, 2020.
  5. Reviews of Academic Programs and Units
    The Chair invited Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning, to present the item.

    Professor Miller reminded members about the external review process and its goals and how the University responded to such reviews. She proceeded to provide a report of external reviews for the Departments of Biology (October 2018) and Psychology (January/February 2019) and a follow-up report for the Forensic Science Program.

    With respect to the Department of Biology’s external review, Professor Miller noted that positive elements of the review included that the unit was at the forefront of developing and maintaining a curriculum map, excellent program delivery, despite a substantial enrolment increase in recent years and a significant and positive increase in undergraduate research opportunities. She reported that among the recommendations had been to increase TA support to offset difficulties caused by large enrolments, to encourage student acquisition of quantitative and computational skills and to address the ongoing power issues in the research wing of the building. UTM’s response to these recommendations had been the following: the Department would explore opportunities for support to develop/ improve curriculum mapping software to increase usability and access; the Dean’s Office & Department would investigate reasons for low enrolment in particular programs through data analysis & student surveys; and the Department would enhance its online presence to promote student awareness of curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and special initiatives. In addition, the unit had also prioritized faculty hires in quantitative and computational biology to bolster technical skills and numeracy acumen in curriculum and plans had been underway to address the power issues in the building.

    Moving on to the positive elements in the Department of Psychology’s external review, Professor Miller reported that reviewers found that Psychology programs provided valuable experience for students and extremely strong foundation of research-based teaching; that the program was among a select few across North America providing hands-on research experience at every year of study; and that experiential learning opportunities included access to state-of-the-art labs and world-renowned researchers. Professor Miller noted that the department’s stellar researchers and it being among the best research-intensive psychology departments in North America, were also highlighted. Recommendations included offering standing laboratory courses in both the Major and Specialist programs; pursuing plans to add a Neuroscience major, from the existing specialist program and increasing graduate students’ involvement in teaching and teaching-training, in addition to marking and proctoring. With respect to faculty, recommendations included streamlining the research and teaching duties of faculty and considering giving course teaching credit for undergraduate research project supervision on a rotating basis. It was also recommended that given the department’s current multiple building configuration, regular activities to bring members physically together more often should be implemented and a strategic plan for the next 5-10 years should be developed. Professor Miller listed responses to the review as follows: the Department was currently introducing practicals to existing courses; increasing the number of laboratory sections in courses to address additional opportunities for classroom/ lab teaching by graduate students; a proposal for a Neuroscience Major was currently under development; and the Department and Dean’s Office were exploring options to provide teaching credit for research supervision. In addition, the Departmental held a retreat in May 2019, with plans for additional, more focused retreats and a Chair’s Advisory Committee had been established to facilitate consultation with faculty and staff.

    Moving to the one-year follow up report of the Forensic Science Program, Professor Miller explained that the program was currently housed in the Department of Anthropology, but it was on route to becoming a stand-alone unit. A proposal for the Forensic Science Centre, as an EDU:B (Extra Departmental Unit), was currently under development and faculty complement planning included a recent teaching-stream hire in Forensic Toxicology. A Forensic Epistemologist search was currently underway, and a Forensic Psychologist & Forensic Microbiologist was planned for in the long-term. Professor Miller also noted that planned new forensic science specific courses would provide FSC with increased autonomy in their own programs and curriculum (also in-line with their development as an EDU:B) were also in the planning stages, and a Professional master’s program would be considered after the EDU:B was established. Regarding space planning, space for the FSC would be made on the first floor of the new
    Science Building.

    In response to a member’s question, Professor Miller confirmed that all departments included undergraduate students in their hiring processes.
  6. Other Business
    There was no other business.
  7. Report of the Presidential Assessors
    The Chair invited Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, to present her report.

    Professor Daniere reported that the next meeting of the AAC in January would feature a substantial number of curricular changes, including those related to the writing initiative. There would also be proposals for two program closures and a name change for the Department of Geography.
  8. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 33 – September 11, 2019
    Report number 33, from the meeting of September 11, 2019 was approved.
  9. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  10. Date of the Next Meeting – Monday, January 13, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 5:12 p.m.

October 29, 2019