Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - April 27, 2021

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Via Virtual Meeting

REPORT NUMBER 50 OF THE UTSC ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

April 27, 2021

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your Committee reports that it met on April 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Present: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Shadi Dalili (Vice-Chair), Bernie Kraatz (Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation), William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean ), Grace Skogstad (Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Research - Strategic Initiatives), Katie Larson (Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs), Mary Silcox (Vice-Dean, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies), Syed Ahmed, Sandra Bamford, George Arhonditsis, Glenn Brauen, Corinne Beauquis, Shelley Brunt, Curtis Cole, George Cree, Barry Freeman, Alen Hadzovic, Angela Hamilton, John Hannigan, Paula Hastings, Margaret Kohn, Jacob Koudys, Hugh Laurence (Acting Associate Dean Undergraduate Programs & Curriculum), Brenda Librecz, Daniel Lysak, Michael Molloy, Gillian Mason, Karen McCrindle, Laura Risk, Silma Roddau, Larry Sawchuk, Michelle Silver, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Liana Williams, Betel Woldu, Xiaoyu Yuan

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

In Attendance: Christine Arsenault, Zahra Bhanji, Ethan Fosse, Paul Kingston, James MacLennan, Melissa Pullara, Andrew Stark

Regrets: Wisdom Tettey (Vice President and Principal), Rakiya Abdullahi, Christine Bolus-Reichert, Radhapriya Chawla, Jamie Donaldson, Suzanne Erb, April Franco, Sarah Guay, Thembela Kepe, Neil ten Kortenaar, Patricia Landolt, Parsa Mahmud, Andrew Mason, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Paulina Rousseau, Natalie Rothman, Sonja Sedivy, Michael Souza, Jessica Wilson, Changmiao Yu

Secretariat: Emma Thacker (Secretary), Tracey Gameiro


OPEN SESSION

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair, Professor Sonja Nikkila, welcomed members and guests. She reminded members that closed captioning was now available for the virtual meeting.
  2. Revisions to the UTSC Campus Council and its Committees Terms of Reference

    The Chair invited Emma Thacker, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, to present the item. Ms. Thacker explained that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference resulted from a recent review undertaken by the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic Programs and the Office of the Governing Council. In addition, there had been consultation with the Academic Programs Officers at both the UTM and UTSC campus’. The proposed changes were considered minor, and the Terms of Reference had been revised to align with existing policies and practices.

    Members had no questions.
  3. Annual Report: Office of the Vice-Principal Research & Innovation, UTSC

    The Chair invited Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, Professor Bernie Kraatz, to present the Annual Report of the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation (OVPRI). Professor Kraatz shared the winners of recent awards and honours, highlighting to members the many scholarly accomplishments and achievements. He provided an overview of UTSC research funding from grants and other sources. Professor Kraatz also discussed the many internal services available to faculty seeking support and training. For example, UTSC had established the Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program (CSPP) for supporting the pursuit of strategic initiatives.

    Professor Kraatz provided details on research in the context of COVID-19, and noted the work of the UTSC Restart Research Working Group. He explained that in conjunction with the Toronto COVID-19 Action Initiative, and the University of Toronto, UTSC had awarded more than $500,000 in funding to support COVID-19 research. The OVPRI had secured some limited one-time funding to help UTSC researchers mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19-related mandatory temporary cessation of research activities. He shared with members details about the Collaborative Research Consortium Program (CRCP). He explained that UTSC, Ontario Tech University, Centennial College, and Trent University had partnered in order to provide initial seed support of $50,000 for the development of high-quality collaborative research projects that advanced the EaRTH Initiative. Professor Kraatz also provided highlights of the OVPRI Strategic Plan, which included some staff recruitment.

    He concluded his report by commenting that UTSC continued to develop new tools to sustain and enhance a scholarly environment that enabled UTSC faculty to pursue and secure the resources they required to conduct cutting-edge, world-leading research that served to realize the objectives of UTSC’s Strategic Plan and the University’s Institutional Strategic Research Plan.

    A member asked about communication processes to inform faculty members and departments about research initiatives and opportunities. Professor Kraatz agreed that communications could be improved. He noted the existing weekly newsletter summarizing upcoming deadlines and opportunities, and suggested that offerings could be announced and discussed at departmental meetings.
  4. Proposal to convert the Centre for Critical Development Studies (EDU:B) to the Department of Global Development Studies, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, to present the item. Professor Gough provided an overview of the Extra-Departmental Unit (EDU) structure at the University, and provided some history to the academic unit growth over UTSC’s history. Professor Gough explained that the Centre for Critical Development Studies (EDU:B) had been created in 2012, and was seeking departmental status. The proposed name for the academic unit was the Department of Global Development Studies (DGDS). The new Department would become the primary budgetary and administrative home to 9.53 FTE faculty (7.53 tenure-stream; 2.0 teaching-stream). All undergraduate programs and graduate academic offerings currently housed within CCDS would be located in the DGDS. Professor Gough noted for members that Professor Paul Kingston, Director, of the Centre for Critical Development Studies, was in attendance to respond to any questions.

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

    YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED,

    THAT the Academic Affairs Committee concur with the prospective recommendation of the Campus Affairs Committee,

    THAT, the Centre for Critical Development Studies (EDU:B) be converted to the Department of Global Development Studies, as described in the proposal recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William A. Gough, and dated April 13, 2021, be approved to be effective as of July 1, 2021.

    Members had no questions.
  5. Minor Modification: New Category 2 Certificate in Computational Social Science, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, to present the item proposed by the Department of Sociology. Professor Larson explained that the certificate fit well with the academic goals of the Department, including fostering methodological training with a view toward preparing students for careers in a labour market which increasingly required computational and quantitative skills, and the ability to communicate and interpret quantitative information. She provided other highlights of the certificate, noting that it was proposed to be effective for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that Professors John Hannigan and Ethan Fosse from the Department of Sociology were in attendance to respond to any questions.

    A member asked about restrictions and prerequisites for the certificate, especially for students from other departments, such as Political Science. Professor Fosse responded that it was not anticipated to be restrictive. He discussed the certificate course requirements (2.0 credits) and their rationale. Professor Fosse also confirmed the consultation that had been completed during the proposal development.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Certificate in Computational Social Science (Category 2), offered by the Department of Sociology, and as described in the proposal dated March 17, 2021, be approved, effective for the 2021-2022 academic year.
  6. Minor Modification: New Category 2 Certificate in Sustainability, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences was proposing a new certificate. The overarching goals of the proposed certificate were to increase access to sustainability education, to develop interdisciplinary interest and competency in sustainability, and to encourage students to engage and collaborate with scholars and practitioners from widely different disciplines who shared an interest in sustainability. Professor Larson explained the certificate program requirements and noted that the certificate was proposed to be offered in the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that the idea for the certificate had come from a graduate student who sat on the Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, & Sustainability (CECCS). He also noted that Professor George Arhonditsis and Dr. Jim MacLennan from the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences were in attendance to respond to any questions.

    A member asked about the description of category two certificates in the UTSC Calendar and sought clarification about student eligibility. Ms Annette Knott (UTSC Academic Programs Officer) responded to clarify that the calendar language had been being revised to clarify that students did not need to be registered in a particular program. In this instance, students were only required to be registered in any program(s) leading to the HBA or HBSc degree.

    A member inquired how common it was for universities to offer this type of certificate. Dr. MacLennan responded that this certificate had come out of the Tri-Campus (CECCS) and was part of a proactive approach to offer an inventory of sustainability courses across all campuses. It was also part of an initiative to be part of an international program – the CECCS was currently building upon this.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Certificate in Sustainability (Category 2), offered by the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, and as described in the proposal dated March 29, 2021, be approved, effective for the 2021-2022 academic year.
  7. Minor Modification: Omnibus – New Category 2 Certificates Within Management and International Business, Specialist (Co-op) Program, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Management was proposing to introduce five new certificates in Economics, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Strategy. Each certificate would require students to complete an additional 2.0 credits in C- and D-level courses in the specific area of management. No new courses were required to support the proposed certificates. Professor Larson explained that the certificates were to be offered for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that Professors Syed Ahmed, Andrew Stark, and Hugh Laurence were in attendance to respond to any questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Category 2 Certificates in (i) Economics, (ii) Finance, (iii) Human Resources, (iv) Marketing, and (v) Strategy, offered by the Department of Management, and as described in the proposal dated April 23, 2021, be approved, effective for the 2021-2022 academic year.
  8. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes, Management, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Management was proposing to introduce one new course, and 14 minor course changes. Professor Gough noted that Professors Ahmed and Laurence were in attendance to respond to any questions.

    A member asked for more clarity regarding the changes to course requirements, especially with respect to work-integrated learning. Professor Laurence responded that the courses contained a general requirement for some form of work-integrated learning to be included; however, the descriptions would vary depending on the course.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Management undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.
  9. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes, Sciences, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Computer & Mathematical Sciences was proposing eleven program changes and one new course. The Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences was proposing four new courses and two course changes. If approved, these proposed changes would become effective for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that Professor Arhonditsis from the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, and Professor Michael Molloy from the Department of Computer & Mathematical Sciences were in attendance to respond to any questions.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Sciences undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.
  10. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes, Social Sciences, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Health & Society was proposing five new courses and three course changes. The Department of Sociology was proposing three new courses. If approved, these proposed changes would become effective for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that Professor Michelle Silver (Health & Society) and Professor John Hannigan (Sociology) were present to respond to any questions.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Social Sciences undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.
  11. Minor Modification: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes, Humanities, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Larson, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Arts, Media and Culture, was proposing to introduce three new courses, two course changes, and three program changes. If approved, these proposed changes would become effective for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Gough noted that Professor Barry Freeman from the Department of Arts, Culture and Media was present to respond to any questions.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the proposed Humanities undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.
  12. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes – Humanities, Management, Sciences, and Social Sciences, UTSC

    The Chair explained that the Departments of Arts, Culture, and Media, Computer & Mathematical Sciences, Health & Society, Management, Physical & Environmental Sciences, and Sociology had brought forward a set of course and program changes for information. In addition, there were some minor changes to the Double Degree (BBA Management and Finance/BSc Statistics), for information. Members had no questions.
  13. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Professor Gough to present a report. Professor Gough reported on academic planning and the CR/NCR policy.

    Professor Gough reported that UTSC would continue with remote learning for the summer session with the exception of some courses which had been determined to have curricular components that could not be completed remotely. The fall session would be transitional, looking to offer some in-person offerings, but also with the recognition that some students might not be able to arrive in time for the start of the fall session and also that COVID-19 positivity rates were higher in the Scarborough area putting the UTSC campus more at risk. A plan was being developed to ensure safe work and learning spaces. It was anticipated that the winter term would be fully in-person, however offerings would be adjusted as public health and provincial regulations evolved.

    Professor Gough reported that students had raised concerns regarding the Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) policy. He explained that during the onset of the pandemic the CR/NCR rules had been temporarily relaxed, and that the policy had then reverted to its normal state for subsequent terms. The UTSC Dean’s Office was striking a group to study and fully explore the implications for changing the policy. The process would be consultative drawing input from the University community and various stakeholders who had an interest in this policy, and this group was planned to get underway over the summer months.

    A member asked if there was any any indication when the enrolment limit for in-person course elements would be increased. Professor Gough responded that students could enroll in courses in July, and it was possible that by then there would be a clearer sense of what regulations might exist in September, however there was no way to predict.

    A member asked about any decline in International student applications for fall 2021. Professor Gough responded that the deadline was at the end of this month (April 2021) so a clearer picture would be available at that time.
  14. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 49 – March 23, 2021

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  15. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  16. Date of Next Meeting - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on May 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
  17. Other Business

    Members had no questions.


The meeting adjourned at 4:51 p.m.

April 30, 2021