Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - May 27, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting Room


May 27, 2020

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your Committee reports that it met on May 27, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Present: Elaine Khoo (Chair), Sonja Nikkila (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President & Principal), William Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Mark Schmuckler (Vice-Dean, Undergraduate), Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz (Vice-Principal, Research), Mary Silcox (Vice-Dean, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies), Syed Ahmed, Sauliha Alli, Glenn Brauen, Shelley Brunt, Corinne Beauquis, Christine Bolus-Reichert, Radhapriya Chawla, Curtis Cole, Shadi Dalili, Arda Erturk, George Fadel, Sarah Guay, Alen Hadzovic, Angela Hamilton, Alexander Irving, Jacob Koudys, Margaret Kohn, Christopher Kouyoumdjian, Lisa Labine, Katherine Larson, Gillian Mason, Mari Motrich, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Mahinda Samarakoon, Natalie Rothman, Annie Sahagian, Rania Salem, Larry Sawchuk, Dorinda So, Michael Souza, Liana Williams, David Zweig

Non-Voting Assessors: Annette Knott, Varsha Patel, Shelby Verboven

Regrets: George Arhonditsis, Sandra Bamford, Suzanne Erb, Barry Freeman, Thembela Kepe, Patricia Landolt, Michael Lambek, Michael Molloy, Andrew Mason, Alfonso Manalo, Karen McCrindle, William Nelson, Sonia Sedivy, Grace Skogstad, Jessica Wilson

Secretariat: Emma Thacker (Secretary), Anwar Kazimi, Alexandra Waters

In Attendance: Zahra Bhanji, Sarah Chaudhry, David Haley, Jessica Fields


1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair, Professor Elaine Khoo, welcomed members and guests to the virtual meeting. The Chair offered reflections and highlights on the work of the Committee over the past governance year, and thanked all members for their engagement and thoughtful questions throughout the year. She reminded student members that the Co-Curricular Record (CCR) included UTSC governance bodies, and they were welcome to submit their positions for validation.

2. Category 1 Certificate: Certificate in Evolutionary Anatomy

Professor Mark Schmuckler, Vice-Dean, Undergraduate, introduced the proposal for the Category 1 Certificate, Certificate in Evolutionary Anatomy, explaining that Category 1 Certificates are for-credit and post-baccalaureate. They are stand-alone and direct entry, requiring applicants to already have earned an undergraduate degree in order to apply.

Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean Graduate provided further context to the purpose and outcomes of the Certificate, explaining that graduates would have a thorough understanding of modern human skeletal variation. She noted that the proposed Certificate would attract students who had completed degrees in other science disciplines (particularly Biological Sciences) who were seeking entrance to programs in the Health Sciences. Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, William Gough thanked Professor Silcox and those who contributed to the development of the proposal.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


THAT the proposal to introduce a new Certificate in Evolutionary Anatomy (Category 1), as described in the proposal dated May 11, 2020 and recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William Gough, be approved to be effective as of Fall 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year.

3. Undergraduate Curricular Minor Modifications - Out-of-cycle new courses

Professor Mark Schmuckler, Vice-Dean, Undergraduate, presented the proposal for out of cycle courses to be offered in the 2020-2021 academic year. This included courses from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society, the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, and the Department of Psychology. He noted that these courses responded to new relevant curricular topics such as COVID-19, and to the hiring of new faculty members. Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, William Gough thanked and acknowledged the departmental representatives present at the meeting: Professors Jessica Fields, Mike Souza, and Natalie Rothman.

A member asked for more information about the COVID-19 course. Professor Fields responded that the course highlighted interdisciplinary thinking about pandemics, and how these issues were located within a political and social context.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,


THAT the minor modifications to undergraduate programs, submitted by UTSC undergraduate academic units, as described in Undergraduate Minor Curriculum Modifications for Approval, Report: New Out-of-Cycle 2020-21 Courses, dated May 27, 2020, and recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William Gough, be approved to be effective as of Fall 2020 for the academic year 2020-21.

4. Report of the Presidential Assessors

Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, reminded members of the University’s key imperatives for academic and campus planning for the fall, which included the promotion of health and safety, academic excellence, and the needs of the community. He provided an overview of the commitment to UTSC students in the fall session regarding remote course access. Some in-person offerings would be considered which would have remote counterparts so that students who participated remotely would not be disadvantaged. He acknowledged the university resources available to support and facilitate the transition to remote delivery, such as the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and AccessAbility Services. Professor Gough thanked the community for all of their hard work and dedication in response to COVID-19.

Professor Bernie Kraatz, Vice-Principal, Research, reported that in March of 2020, in response to COVID-19, the University shut down the majority of research facilities, with some exceptions. He explained that the reopening of the research enterprise would use a phased, tri-campus coordinated approach. The initial phases of the restart would be limited to those that required on campus resources. There were considerations for how research would restart without taking away from existing critical COVID-19 research. Guidelines and a roll out plan would be released.

A member asked about precautions for faculty and staff members that commute to UTSC campus using public transportation. Professor Gough responded that should students not be able to attend campus in person, they would attend virtually. Most staff were not permitted on campus at the moment as UTSC followed health guidelines, and the University would also follow health guidelines surrounding the use of public transportation. Principal Tettey noted that the health and wellness of the community was of utmost importance, and that planning was in place to support a transition back to campus for the entire community.

A member asked about assessment for online courses when some students were able to be on campus (e.g., those in residence), and others would not. Professor Gough responded that all final exams would be held online, so as not to disadvantage any students.

5. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 44 - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The report of the previous meeting was approved.

6. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

7. Date of Next Meeting - Monday, September 14, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.

The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 3:10 p.m., noting the new start time, of one hour earlier.

8. Other Business

The Chair thanked the Vice Chair, members of administration, non-voting assessors and the outgoing members of the Academic Affairs Committee. Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President and Principal, expressed his appreciation for members commitment to serving on the Academic Affairs Committee, and to Professor Elaine Khoo for her contributions as Chair.

Ms Emma Thacker, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, recognized the outgoing Chair, Professor Elaine Khoo, and formally thanked her for her many contributions to governance. A chair was presented in recognition of exemplary service and leadership as Chair of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee from 2016 to 2020.

Members had no questions.

The meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

June 16, 2020