Report: UTM Campus Affairs Committee - January 12, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting


JANUARY 12, 2021

To the Campus Council, University of Toronto Mississauga,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on January 12, 2021 at 1:10 p.m. via a Virtual Meeting Room.

Joseph Leydon (Chair), Robert Gerlai (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Saher Fazilat (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Diana Aldaz, Lee Bailey, Imre Gams, Adriana Grimaldi, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Tanya Kenesky, Ashley Monks, Hans van Monsjou, James Parker, Stephanie Santos, Joanna Szurmak, Laura Taylor, Ryan Tomlinson, Anthony Wensley, Fatima Yakubi

Non-Voting Assessors:
Tammy Cook (Executive Director, Facilities, Management & Planning), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Financial & Budget Services)

Nagham Abdalahad, Dario Di Censo, Noha Farawi, Claudiu Gradinaru, Allen Lu, Brandon Nageer, Mitra Yakubi, Marc Yegani

In Attendance:
Megan Evans (Parking Services), Andrea de Vito (Assistant Director, Hospitality and Retail Operations), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management), Chad Nuttall (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Brian Kennedy (Manger, Finance, Student Housing & Residence Life), Antonia Lo (Assistant Director, Student Services & Ancillaries), Vicky Jezierski (Director, Hospitality & Retail Operations)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council) Emma Thacker (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting and provided an overview of the available governance positions for teaching staff, administrative staff and students on the Committee and reminded members that the nominations had opened on January 12 and would close on January 22, 2021.
  2. Registrarial Services in the Pandemic and Enrolment Update

    The Chair invited Ms Lorretta Neebar, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management to present.

    Ms. Neebar explained that in 2003, when UTM had separated from the Faculty of Arts & Science, the UTM Office of the Registrar had provided all of its services through paper based processes. The Office’s philosophy had been focused on putting students first, with the motto of “online instead of in line.” Since then, all paper based registrarial services have been migrated to an electronic format and have been enhanced. In 2017 the Office started to develop a new version of many of these electronic tools, with the goal of connecting the entire campus. These services were primarily focused in the beginning on advising notes for students as well as referrals across academic and student services departments. At the start of the pandemic, the UTM Office of the Registrar moved their in person triage to an email triage system, so that rather than lining up for general inquiries, advising or other services, students were able to contact the office through email. With the existing online service measures in place, it was easier to transition to offering these services continuously during the pandemic.

    Ms Neebar explained that during the pandemic email was not a sustainable way to triage student issues because of the sheer number of emails received each day. As a result, in August of 2020, her office moved to using “Service Now”, a modification of a system already in use by Information, and Instructional Technology Services (I&ITS) for managing internal service ticketing. Her team was able to pivot an existing project focused on developing an internal ticketing system into a student facing system called “Ask the Registrar”. This meant that students now had access to the UTM Office of the Registrar 24 hours a day in terms of submitting requests, easier access to articles and other information and to connect with the advising team and book their own appointments. Ms Neebar extended her thanks to staff in I&ITS for their assistance. She added that these systems have not only provided better access to students, but has allowed her Office to have concrete data on service demand.

    Moving to the enrolment report part of her presentation, Ms Neebar, noted that her presentation encompassed undergraduate student headcount, which included part-time students and other special students that were not normally counted in other such reports. She reported that new student intake was smaller this year than was the target, but overall headcount was very strong due to high retention, with 15,503 undergraduate students, as of November 1, 2020. With respect to international student intake, the numbers were lower than the last two years..

    With respect to domestic undergraduate student intake, Ms Neebar explained that more students than had been the case in previous years, had chosen to go to other universities, based on data from the Ontario University Application Centre. She speculated that this may be, in part because of the online learning environment offered and without having to incur the expense of living away from home.

    Some students had also elected to defer their offer of admission for a year. Regarding international student intake, Ms Neebar noted that the Faculty of Arts & Science made many more offers and had a very high international student intake, which may have affected UTM numbers. However, she noted that overall, UTM’s international student enrollment for new intake was still strong, at 32%.

    Ms Neebar continued her presentation with data on country of citizenship and noted that a large proportion of UTM’s international students, 744, came from Canadian institutions.

    Ms Neebar reported that overall admission averages stayed high, at 85.6% for Ontario High School Students and that the quality of the current intake was strong. She further showed a breakdown of scholarships and noted that UTM had been able to attract very high quality students.

    With respect to the graduating class, Ms Neebar noted that in June 2020, UTM had 2064 graduates, the highest number so far in UTM’s history. Speaking to the cumulative graduation rate, Ms Neebar noted that UTM had made some progress in bettering these rates, in part due to measures taken by the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, the Student Affairs office and the Office of the Registrar through outreach programs to increase retention.
  3. Operating Plans: UTM Service Ancillaries for 2021-22

    The Chair invited Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, to present the item.

    Ms Fazilat began her presentation by thanking the heads of the ancillary departments for being flexible and being able to adjust their operations during the pandemic to minimize the negative impacts.

    Pointing to the Service Ancillary Review Guidelines (SARG), she pointed out that due to the effects of the pandemic, the Parking ancillary could not operate without subsidy, provide for capital renewal, nor contribute 10% to operating reserves as it had in previous years.

    Addressing the overall statement of reserves, the CAO noted that in student housing and in hospitality services, a balanced budget and a small surplus is shown, whereas in the parking ancillary, there is a deficit. She then provided an overview of the consultations with various advisory committees between September and November of 2020, that had occurred in preparation of the ancillary budgets, including the Student Housing Advisory Committee, the Food Services Advisory Committee, the Residence Housing Dining Committee and the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, all of whom were in support of the budgets as presented to this Committee.

    Turning to forecasted revenues, Ms Fazilat reported that revenues had been much lower than anticipated and noted that while in a normal year, the ancillaries would have continued to work on the capital renewal with respect to improving their facilities, this year and for the near future, savings had to be achieved by forgoing some of these planned activities.

    Addressing the Student Housing and Residence Life ancillary, the CAO explained that until October of 2020, the department was not allowed to bring in international students because of travel restrictions and that approximately 50% of students cancelled their residence commitment. Plans for the ancillary for 2021-22 are based on the return to 80% occupancy in fall of 2021. The plan going forward was to maintain housing stock in good condition, with a balance between revenues available and capital renewal. Ms Fazilat referred members to schedule 6 of the item documentation, which detailed the proposed increases for each residence area, noting that for most areas, the proposed increases were under 5%.

    Moving to Hospitality & Retail Services, the CAO reported that the ancillary had been able to re- deploy some of their staff to other departments at UTM, and thus able to avoid temporary lay-offs. The proposed budget for the ancillary is based on the assumption of a 2.6% inflation in food prices. The ancillary will also be in the process of considering a new food service contract in 2021.

    Hospitality Services was assuming Cafeteria Revenues would return to 75% of pre-pandemic levels in it planning. Referring members to schedule 6 of the item documentation for a detailed breakdown of proposed increases, meal plans were increasing approximately 3% on average.

    Discussing the parking ancillary, Ms Fazilat noted that the ancillary was assuming that parking demand would return to 50% of pre-pandemic levels for the fall of 2021. The parking operation would continue to accumulate a reserve balance for the proposed ACT building parking structure. Referring members to the detailed rate breakdown in schedule 6 of the item documentation, parking rates were proposed to increase by 3% as in previous years, with no increases planned for the pay and display machines on campus.

    In response to a member’s comment about the feasibility of lending out residence spaces as quarantine spaces as some other institutions had done, Chad Nuttall, Director of Student Housing & Residence Life noted that this idea had been considered and in fact the operation offered to house frontline health workers early on in the pandemic, however, it was found that the ancillary would not see any profit from such arrangements as the costs incurred would outweigh any revenues. Also in response to a member’s question about the increased costs related to cleaning, Ms Antonia Lo, Assistant Director, Student Services & Ancillaries, explained that while there was decreased cleaning related to the amount of people on campus, at the same time, the budget needed to address costs related to intensified cleaning related to the pandemic.

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED

    THAT, the proposed 2021-22 Operating Plans and Budgets for the UTM Service Ancillaries, as summarized in Schedule 1, the service ancillary capital budgets as summarized in Schedule 5, and the rates and fees in Schedule 6, as recommended by Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, in the proposal dated December 1, 2020, be approved, effective May 1, 2021.
  4. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Mark Overton, Vice-Principal Student Services and Dean of Student Affairs to provide an update on the development of compulsory non-academic incidental fees, which the Committee would be considering at its next meeting, in February. Mr. Overton noted that these fees were compulsory fees for students and the process by which they were developed fulfilled an agreement signed by the University of Toronto and its representative student governments ensured student input on proposals to change these specific non-tuition fees.

    This process resulted in the formation of Quality Service to Students or QSS, which meets regularly to explore the most efficient and effective delivery of student services on the UTM campus. QSS had 10 advisory groups this year including health services, athletics and recreation, the Career Centre, the shuttle service, the International Education Centre, and the Centre for Student Engagement. These groups were convened by the directors and managers of the relevant services with student government representatives, and any other interested students. They have been meeting in those groups to develop operating plan proposals for the coming year, along with their related costs and associated fees. Mr. Overton noted that the process was soon concluding, and the proposals along with the advice from QSS would be presented to this Committee’s next meeting for governance consideration.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 6 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Report on Capital Projects – as at November 30, 2020
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 43 – October 22, 2020 Report number 43, dated October 22, 2020, was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – February 10, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
  5. Other Business

    There was no other business.

    The meeting was adjourned at 2:13 p.m.

January 13, 2021