Report: UTM Academic Affairs Committee - May 4, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting Room


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on May 4, 2020 via a Virtual Meeting Room.

Steven Short (Chair), Laura Taylor (Vice-Chair), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Heather Miller (Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning), Randy Besco, Mitchell Bonney, Laura Brown, Marc Dryer, Amanda Facciol, Ulrich Fekl, Sherry Fukuzawa, Alexandra Gillespie, Monika Havelka, Shelley Hawrychuk, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Michael Lettieri, Rhonda McEwen, Andrew Nicholson, Pascal Michelucci, Diane Matias, Ashley Monks, Lorretta Neebar, Andrea Olive, Andreas Park, Esteban Parra, Diana Raffman, Chester Scoville, Kayla Sousa, Alison Syme, Steve Szigeti, Jaimal Thind, Mihkel Tombak, Ziyaad Vahed, Xiaodong Zhu

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

Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President & Principal), Kent Moore (Vice-Principal, Research), Fatima Abdelgadir Elkendari, James Allen, Sultan Akif, Brett Beston, Patrick Braszak, Alexandru Cioban, Miquel Faig, Rosa Hong, Nathan Innocente, Konstantin Khanin, Anna Korteweg, Teresa Lobalsamo, Sebastian Malek, Sara Malhotra, Lindsay Schoenbohm, Andrew Sepielli, Adwet Sharma, Meghan Sutherland, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Rebecca Wittmann, Xing Wei, Samra Zafar

In Attendance:
Lisa Devereaux (Manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs), Lucy Gaspini (Director, Academic Success & Integrity), Michelle Kraus (Assistant Registrar, Academic Standards & Petitions), Devin Kreuger (Director, Office of the Vice-Principal Research), Leigh Revers (Director, Master of Biotechnology Program)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council), Alexandra Waters (Governance Coordinator)

  1. Chair’s Remarks
    The Chair welcomed members to the virtual meeting.
  1. Amendments to the Second Attempt for Credit Policy
    The Chair invited Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning, to present. Professor Miller stated that consultations took place between the Office of the Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean and the Office of the Registrar with respect to the proposed amendments to the Second Attempt for Credit Policy (Policy). The proposed amendments clarified that the Policy only applied to degree students.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the amendments to the Second Attempt for Credit Policy, as recommended by the Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, in the proposal dated March 24, 2020, be approved, effective September 1, 2020.
  1. Amendments to the 100-Level Credit Limit Policy
    The Chair invited Ms Lorretta Neebar, Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management, to present. Ms Neebar stated that the proposed amendments would remove the limit of 6.0 100-level courses and would introduce a minimum of 13.0 credits at the 200+ level and higher.

    She noted that the limit 6.0 100-level credits negatively impacted transfer students, whereas the proposed amendment would improve students’ ability to change their program trajectory and would provide capacity for the new foundational numeracy and writing courses that would start to be introduced in fall 2020. If approved, the revisions would become effective in September 2020, and would not be applied retroactively to student records.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the amendments to the 100-Level Credit Policy, as recommended by the Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, in the proposal dated April 28, 2020, be approved, effective September 1, 2020.
  2. Reviews of Academic Programs & Units
    The Chair invited Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning, to present. The Department of Philosophy was reviewed in 2019 and received positive feedback with respect to the strength of its curriculum, its innovative programs, high-quality courses and student satisfaction. Recommendations included increased capacity of class sizes for popular courses, increased outreach efforts by faculty, and the development of a five-year faculty complement plan. The Master of Biotechnology Program was reviewed in 2019 and positive feedback included the program’s national reputation for excellence, the breadth of experiential learning opportunities offered, the high employment rate of graduates of the program, and its strong management and leadership. Recommendations included the introduction of electives that featured cutting-edge research of faculty, faculty hires in the areas of Computational Biology and Analytics and Business Intelligence, and the establishment of an Industry Advisory Board that would enhance opportunities for networking and lobbying.

    Professor Leigh Revers, Director, Master of Biotechnology Program, remarked on the efforts of Professor Jayson Parker, who assisted in the launch of the Digital Health stream.
  1. Other Business
    A member asked about the concerning rise in academic integrity cases, and noted that many students were using Chegg, an online tutoring company to cheat. Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning, reported that her office was aware of this problem and that she was working on a comprehensive report on online exams, challenges and proposed solutions in order to assist faculty in preparation for the fall term. Regarding the use of Chegg, Ms Lucy Gaspini, Director, Academic Success & Integrity added that her office had been in consultation with the Vice-Provost about how to address this issue, which had been experienced across the entire University.
  2. Reports of the Presidential Assessors
    (i) IMIx Certificates of Completion
    Professor Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, reported that three new IMIx certificates for completion would be introduced: the Pharmaceutical Challenges and Opportunities program, the Governance and Ethics program, and the Effective Leadership for Senior Managers program.

    (i) Report from the Registrar: Committee on Standing Terms of Reference
    The Chair invited Ms Lorretta Neebar, Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management, to report on changes to the Committee on Standing Terms of Reference. Changes included the addition of a student member, an additional faculty member, and the introduction of term lengths. A comparative analysis across other University units and institutions had been conducted to ensure that the changes were consistent with other similar committees.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 12 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Annual Report – Office of the Vice-Principal Research
  2. Annual Report – UTM Library
  3. Annual Report – Committee on Standing, Office of the Registrar
  4. Annual Report – Academic Integrity, Office of the Dean
  5. Annual Report – Academic Appeals Subcommittee
  6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 36 – February 11, 2020
    Report number 36, from the meeting of February 11, 2020 was approved.
  7. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  8. Date of the Next Meeting – Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
    Ms Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, recognized the outgoing Chair, Professor Steven Short, and formally thanked him for his many contributions to governance. A chair was presented to Professor Steven Short in recognition of exemplary service and leadership as Vice-Chair of the UTM Campus Affairs Committee from 2017 to 2018, as Chair of the UTM Academic Affairs Committee from 2018 to 2020.

    The Chair thanked members for their meaningful contributions throughout the year, as well as the Vice-Chair, Professor Laura Taylor. He also thanked the assessors, Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Professor Kent Moore, Vice-Principal, Research, and Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning. The Chair wished everyone a safe and happy summer.

The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

May 6, 2020