Report: Academic Board - April 28, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

Nicholas Terpstra (Chair), Douglas E. McDougall (Vice Chair), Brian Lawson (Vice Chair, Governing Council), Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost), Mark Schmuckler (Acting Vice-Provost, Academic Programs & Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education), Edward (Ted) H. Sargent (Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Partnerships), A'aishah Abdul Hameed, Larry P. Alford, Catherine Amara, Laura Anderson, Aarthi Ashok, Joshua Barker, Harvey Thomas Botting, Jutta Brunnée, Samantha Chang, Adanna Yvette Chigbo, Carol C. Chin, Rosa Ciantar, Caryl L. Clark, Ettore Vincenzo Damiano, Amrita G. Daniere, James Davis, Raisa B. Deber, Hanna Diress, Lisa Rebecca Dolovich, Paul Downes, Markus D. Dubber, David Dubins, Wendy M. Duff, Angela Esterhammer, K. Sonu Gaind, Emily Gilbert, J. Roy Gillis, Janneka Guise, Daniel A. Haas, Tony Harris, Emily Hawes, Walid A. Houry, Ira Jacobs, Sarosh Jamal, Nadine Janes, Linda Johnston, William Ju, Allan S. Kaplan, Grase Kim, Anil Kishen, Ronald H. Kluger, Daiana Kostova, Lisa Kramer, Ernest W.N. Lam, Brigitte Lavoie, Kevin (Jingzhi) Li, Jiazhen (Diana) Li, Maureen MacDonald, Alexandra MacKay, Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Stephane Paul Martin Demers, Lance T. McCready, Don McLean, Nicole Mideo, Fabian Parsch, Lacra Pavel, Dana Phillips, Nicholas Rule, Edward (Ted) H. Sargent, Rosa Saverino, Maureen L. Simpson, Jastaranpreet (Jasty) Singh, Markus Stock, Eric Stubbs, Evan Tang, Truc Tran, Dexter Voisin, Grace Ann Westcott, Melanie A. Woodin,

Nina Bascia, Adalsteinn (Steini) I. D. Brown, Markus Bussmann, Weijia Chen, George Christakis, Kenneth S. Corts, Shadi Dalili, Luc F. De Nil, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Nicholas C. Everett, Cathy (Hui Jie) Feng, Sol Goldberg, William A. Gough, Glen A. Jones, Vishnu Katyal, Charlie Keil, Jeannie Kim, Rachel La Touche, Zhiyuan (Annie) Lu, Bonnie S. McElhinny, Mark McGowan, Kent G.W. Moore, Amy Mullin, William Nguyen, Jennifer Gillian Purtle, Michael J.H. Ratcliffe, Matt Ratto, Michael Shier, Njoki Wane, Patricia Windrim, Robert M. Wright, Vishar Yaghoubian, Christopher M. Yip, L. Trevor Young

Trevor Rodgers (Assistant Vice-President, Planning & Budget), Wisdom J. Tettey (Vice-President and Principal UTSC), Joseph Wong (Interim Vice-President, International)

Tracey Gameiro, Secretary

Tad Brown, Counsel, Business Affairs and Advancement
Tenzin Choetso, student, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education
Lydia Gill, Recruitment officer, Equity, Outreach and Support
Nora Gillespie, Senior Legal Counsel, Offices of the Vice-President and Provost and Vice-President Human Resources and Equity
Tony Gray, Director, Strategic Research
Ann Lopez, Associate Professor, Dept of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education, OISE
Shannon Simpson, Director, Indigenous Initiatives
Archana Sridhar, Assistant Provost, Office of the Vice-President and Provost
Micah Stickel, Vice-Dean, First Year, FASE & Special Advisor to the Vice-Provost, Students
Rachel Tennant, Special Projects Officer, Office of the President
Kimberley Tull, Director, Community & Learning Partnerships and Access Pathways, UTSC


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2,
Item 12 was considered in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.
  2. Report of the Vice-President and Provost

    The report of the Vice-President and Provost addressed the following:

    COVID: Response and Adaptation Update
    The Provost provided an update on the University’s COVID-19 response as of April 28, 2021:
  • courses continued to be delivered remotely, with exceptions for those deemed ‘essential’;
  • the vaccine clinic opened at University of Toronto Mississauga had administered close to 88,000 vaccinations;
  • the St. George campus vaccine clinic had administered more than 9,000 doses of vaccine and had established a patient-focused approach designed to ease the experience for older members of the public and those with mobility issues;
  • the St. George campus clinic had developed a partnership with Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health and Na-Me-Res to provide culturally appropriate and safe vaccinations to the downtown Toronto Indigenous community; more than 400 vaccinations had been provided to community members on April 10, 2021 with another clinic planned for May 1, 2021;
  • the University of Toronto Scarborough clinic had administered 80,000 tests since December 2020;
  • following extensive advocacy, Immigration Canada had announced on April 27, 2021, that all international students who had completed their applications by May 15, 2021 would be notified of their visa status by August 6, 2021, allowing them to arrive in Toronto on time for the fall term;
  • in response to the federal government’s 30-day restriction on flights from India and Pakistan, staff had been in touch with all students from those countries registered in the University’s quarantine program.

    Academic Disruptions

    Professor Regehr reported that since March 11, 2021 the Provost’s Office had declared an academic disruption in a program at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The program in question included a required course that would have involved travel within or between provinces for many of the students.


    In light of public health guidance, in-person activity had ceased on April 24, 2021 across the University of Toronto library system. That date had been selected to provide students with as much access as possible through the Winter exam period. Online supports to students, instructors and researchers continued to be offered. Efforts were underway to provide WiFi access to students for the upcoming session. Students who faced additional financial barriers to gain access to technology could also apply for emergency COVID funding.

    Education Presentation: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commitments and Priorities
    The Provost referred members to the final report of The University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Task Force and the administrative response which had been delivered on March 31, 2021. She reported that all of the report’s 56 recommendations had been accepted by the Administration.

    The Board then received a presentation on the University’s access and inclusion initiatives, which included comments on:
  • the student diversity census, from Professor Micah Stickel (Associate Professor, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and Vice-Provostial Advisor, Students);
  • approaches to recruiting diverse students (particularly Black and Indigenous students), by Ms. Lydia Gill (Recruitment Officer, Equity, Outreach and Support); and
  • access programs and pathways at the University of Toronto, from Professor Ann Lopez (Associate Professor, Dept of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education, OISE, Provostial Advisor on Access Programs)

    In addition, the Board heard from Ms. Tenzin Choetso, a graduate of the SEE UofT program, who spoke of her pathways from high school to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education where she was now a registered student. Ms. Choetso shared how participating in the program had supported her educational journey and had empowered her to see herself at U of T.

    As part of the ensuing discussion, Professor Stickel reported that the student census had been designed to allow students to re-visit and revise their responses in recognition that students ultimately retained full ownership of the data. The intent had been that the census be as open and as accessible to students as possible so that students could engage with it as they so chose. A snapshot of the data had been taken to be used as a comparator year-to-year. Consideration of whether to retain the same flexibility to re-submit responses in future iterations of the census was being discussed. Collecting data on religious affiliation was also being considered as a potential change to the census.
  1. Annual Report: Vice-President, Research and Innovation, 2020

    The Board received the Annual Report of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, for information.

    In response to members’ questions and comments, Professor Ted Sargent, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, noted the following:
  • a mix of metrics had been used, some of which included per capital normalizations, and those indicators continued to be improved;
  • efforts to support junior faculty, particularly those in the social sciences and humanities who were particularly hard hit by COVID, were focused on engaging faculty members with their colleagues to identify challenges, and working with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, to address those needs with appropriate institutional supports;
  • recent discussions with colleagues across institutions had not indicated any significant concern over the censure recently imposed by the CAUT Council;
  • the Institutional Strategic Initiatives fund had enabled the University to deploy resources with alacrity to support COVID research and it positioned the University well to respond similarly to other urgent funding calls that might arise in the future.
  1. Statement of Acknowledgement of Traditional Land

    The Chair noted that the Statement of Acknowledgment of Traditional Land had been provided to the Board for information. As a member of the Ceremonials Committee, the Chair offered a few comments on the Statement on behalf of the President.

    In his comments, the Chair stated that the revisions approved were further to the recommendation of the Director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives. The Ceremonials Committee had approved two revisions to the Statement – the removal of the words ‘most recently” and “River”. The Statement would be used for specific institutional events and at University events by community members as appropriate.

    Addressing whether the Statement would be used at governance meetings, the Chair reported that in 2016, the Ceremonials Committee had decided that the Statement should be used at institutional events that were ceremonial and where there was a land connection. A decision had been made at the institutional level that the Statement not be used for meetings.


On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


the consent agenda be adopted.

  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Experiential Leaning Hub at 203 College Street- Project Scope and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


    THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Experiential Learning Hub at 203 College, dated February 19, 2021, be approved in principle; and,

    THAT the project totaling 1,113 net assignable square metres (nasm) (1,337 gross square metres (gsm)), be approved in principle, to be funded equally by Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering APSC Faculty Reserves; Faculty of Arts & Science Major Future Capital Project Account; and the Provost’s Institutional Funds.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 232 – March 11, 2021

    Report Number 232, from the meeting of March 11, 2021 was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  4. Items for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:
    1. Report Number 274 of the Agenda Committee – April 6, 2021 (Special Meeting)
    2. Report Number 275 of the Agenda Committee – April 20, 2021
    3. Report Number 207 of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs – April 12, 2021
    4. Report Number 198 of the Planning and Budget Committee – March 4, 2021 (Special Meeting)
    5. Report Number 199 of the Planning and Budget Committee – April 13, 2021
  5. University Professors Selection Committee

    The membership of the University Professors Selection Committee was provided to members for information.


  1. Date of the Next Meeting: Thursday, May 27, 2021, 3:10 – 5:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting, the last of the 2020-2021 governance year, would be held on May 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
  2. Other Business

    A member queried why, when provincial funding had decreased and budgetary reliance on tuition revenues was increasing, the number of government appointees on Governing Council had not decreased and that of student representatives had not increased proportionately.

    In response, the Chair relayed comments on behalf of the Chair of Governing Council:
  • the membership of the Governing Council was established by the University of Toronto Act and ensured representation from five estates: faculty, staff, students, alumni, and “LGIC” (Lieutenant-Governor-In-Chief - Cabinet appointments); with equal representation from internal and external members to the University, and with no one estate having a majority on Council;
  • the number of Governors from each estate was not reflective of revenue sources for the institution, nor would that be appropriate;
  • the existing governance structure had not prevented discussion of any potential risks presented by the concentration of international student enrolment;
  • in 2015, the Act had been revised to remove the citizenship requirement for governors, allowing international students to run for Governing Council, which a large number had chosen to do.



On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


the in camera consent agenda be adopted

  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Experiential Leaning Hub at 203 College Street – Total Project Cost Increase and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


    THAT the recommendation of Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, as outlined in the memorandum dated April 21, 2021, regarding the total project cost and sources of funding for the University of Toronto Experiential Learning Hub at 203 College Street, be approved.


The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

April 29, 2021