Report: UTM Campus Council - October 06, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting Room


October 6, 2021

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on October 6, 2021 at 4:10 p.m. in a Virtual Meeting Room, with the following members present:

Samra Zafar (Chair), Shashi Kant (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Sultan Akif, Hassaan Basit, Harvey Botting, Dario Di Censo, Rafael Chiuzi, Laura Cocuzzi, Ivana Di Millo, Robert Gerlai, Imre Gams, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Maggie Ku, Sameer Lal, Livon Mamiza, Jay Nirula, Gerard Otiniano, Laura Taylor, Ziyaad Vahed, Ron Wener, Kathleen Yu

Non-Voting Assessors:
Rhonda McEwen (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Susan Senese (Interim Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs)

Shelley Hawrychuk, Evan Silva

In Attendance:
Trevor Young (Vice-President & Provost), Scott Mabury (Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships), David Palmer (Vice-President Advancement), Barbara Dick (Assistant Vice-President, Alumni Relations), Gillian Morrison (Assistant Vice President, Divisional Relations and Campaigns), Andrew Stelmacovich (Executive Director, UTM Office of Advancement), Tad Brown (Counsel, Business Affairs & Advancement), Andrea Kwan (Office of the Vice-President & Provost), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Felicity Morgan (Career Centre); Yan Tam Seguin (Student Affairs and Services); Bernard Hau (Facilities Planning)

Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of Council for the academic year and provided some reminders about meeting procedures in a virtual setting.
  2. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

    Professor Gillespie began her report by showing an overview of the organizational structure of her office, which had undergone some changes in the past year. She noted that her office had been expanded to include a Director of the Office, a Special Advisor on Anti-Racism and Equity, a Director of Strategy, and a Director of External Relations.

    Professor Gillespie then discussed her priorities for the 2021-22 academic year. She noted that the first logistical priority was to continue UTM’s community-leading response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and to achieve a safe return to campus for faculty, staff, librarians and students in January 2022. As had been done throughout the pandemic, the decision to return to campus would be done in consultation with Peel Public Health.

    Professor Gillespie reported that with respect to longer term goals, her and her team would be focused on the development of a Strategic Framework, which members would hear about more in the next cycle of governance. She explained that the Strategic Framework would frame a whole series of other plans that were under development, which included the Campus Master Plan, the Academic Plan, the 5-year financial plan, and the 10-year Campaign Plan. She noted that members would hear more about these projects as the year progressed.

    Professor Gillespie continued her report by giving a brief preview of the Strategic Framework, which contained the following priority areas:
  • Centre for Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Communities;
  • Embrace our Location for Connection, Wellbeing, and Care;
  • Inspire Creativity for Student Success;
  • Enable Locally and Globally Impactful Research Discovery;
  • Develop Inclusive Spaces and Sustainable Operations.

    She noted that when the strategic framework was diagrammed, it would be represented as a wheel where all the parts connected to all the other parts as much as possible. Professor Gillespie stated that she looked forward to sharing more details about the framework at the Council’s next meeting.

    Pointing to recent discussions around flexibility and sustainability, a member noted that not all staff roles required a full return to campus and asked about how return to work processes for such staff would be determined. Professor Gillespie explained that the University had rolled out a system of alternate work arrangements (AWA) that empowered managers to be the holders of such arrangements. These arrangements needed to be developed in conversation between staff and their managers, where the focus is on optimizing operations and fulfilling commitments expressed in UTM’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.

    In response to a member’s question about how the University community had responded to the vaccine policy, Professor Gillespie responded that 95% of community members were already fully vaccinated and another 4.5% had received their first dose, which meant that 99% of those going to UTM would be fully vaccinated soon. She noted that more than 80,000 UofT community members had uploaded evidence of their vaccination into the UCheck system, medical exemptions constituted less than half a percent of the population and rapid testing was working well for those unable to be vaccinated. She added that UTM planned to introduce a noncoercive, EDI-attentive system of ambassadors whose job was to encourage use of the UCheck system and provide education. She noted that starting January of 2022, pending ongoing discussion with Peel Public Health, social distancing would not be necessary in instructional spaces.

    Professor Rhona McEwen, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, also reported that following the Council meeting, her office was pleased to hold an annual Black Table Talk, which would bring together black UTM faculty, staff, librarians, and students. She was also pleased to attend an in-person residence event, for those who wanted to connect in person.

    In response to a member’s questions about how the University planned to communicate to international students about moving to an in-person Winter semester and secondly, about encouraging more in-person events by student societies, Professor Gillespie explained that targeted communication was already occurring with international students and that UTM was also working on streamlining processes for student society events.

    A member commented that with the safe return of students to campus, several issues might arise, such as students’ mental health, sensitive topics regarding masks and vaccination, and the re-learning of social norms under new circumstances. He asked about any guidelines that could support faculty in navigating those issues. Professor Gillespie answered that the development of such guidelines was going to be the focus of the next three months and that her office, in collaboration with the Dean’s Office, would be seeking feedback and input from faculty through regular communications.
  1. Bicentennial Campaign Priorities

    The Chair invited Professor Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President & Provost, and Mr. David Palmer, Vice-President, Advancement to present and noted that the presentation was available online to those listening to the webcast.

    The presentation discussed the framework for gifts and donations at the University of Toronto in the context of academic priorities and the Provostial Guidelines on Donations (updated in 2021). Mr. Palmer also shared with members the planning and consultation process and reviewed the benefits and opportunities of a campaign. Seven themes provide the campaign’s platform to advance the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence. They are: Next Generation, Healthy Lives, Sustainable Future, Equitable Cities & Societies, Creativity & Culture, Vanguard of Discovery, and Bold Innovation.

    The presentation included the following highlights:
  • The University’s previous Boundless campaign, was extremely successful, providing more than 4000 scholarships and bursaries, pushing total support for student aid over $1 Billion in endowments;
  • During the pandemic, the University’s solicitation volumes remained on par with its four-year average to annual funding or major gifts and grew significantly in terms of principal gifts;
  • The Bicentennial campaign would advance a wide range of priorities for equity, diversity, & inclusion, and transformative capital projects and research priorities;
  • The campaign would support the implementation of 84 marquee and institutional strategic initiatives, many of which represent partnerships across divisions and campuses;
  • Gifts would only be accepted for academic priorities that were approved by the Provost at the recommendation of Principals and Deans in accordance with established academic planning procedures and in accordance with the Provostial Guidelines on Donations;
  • The campaign had two main goals: 1 million instances of alumni engagement, and $4 Billion in donations, which would be achieved across two phases (quiet and public);
  • The campaign would be the largest one in Canadian history;
  • A virtual public launch was planned for late fall 2021, by which time, the goal was to have achieved $1 Billion of the fundraising goal.
  1. Capital Project: Student Services Hub, UTM

    The Chair reminded members about the policy framework for the consideration of capital projects and invited Mr. Mark Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs to introduce the item.

    Mr. Overton noted that he was pleased to bring information about the Student Services Hub (SSH) to Council. He explained that the Hub would provide a first stop for most student services, offering students choices among self-service, peer support, group experiences, and professional staff support. The Hub would also encourage expanded cross-departmental innovation, while increasing front and back of house efficiencies. Mr. Overton noted that the proposal had been developed through consultation with students, including student leaders and student users of services, along with professional staff, campus leadership and external consultants. He explained that the proposed Hub would address long-standing challenge experienced by units in his portfolio, such as the Career Centre, which had been split into three different sites because of space limitations. Mr. Overton explained that the Hub would address the long-held vision of his unit whereby student services would come together to ultimately provide a much better student experience, with teams across these services operating together. The proposed space would be the first stop for students seeking developmental opportunities and support provided by the various component units. It would also be a space where more complex requests could be addressed through the involvement of more services working together. In this way, student issues could be triaged, and students could be provided with a custom path for support and success.

    Mr. Overton showed several architectural renderings and highlighted various components of the proposed space and what each area was meant to accomplish. He concluded his presentation by noting that the Hub was full of thoughtful and engaging spaces, which would encourage staff to expand their existing work across departments and to allow for an efficient use of space, while providing students with expanded choices in seeking services.

    A member asked about how the proposed capital project would operationally tie services together to help students who had complex concerns. Mr. Overton explained that both the physical structures and further refinement of existing processes would contribute to accomplishing this goal. He noted that the Hello Desk within the Hub would not only have a mix of very well-trained student peers, but also professional staff with significant experience who will be able to help students connect with the right service areas in a logical order.

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the project scope of the Student Services Hub at University of Toronto Mississauga, as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Services Hub dated August 6, 2021, totalling 1354 net assignable square metres (nasm) (2040.9 net square metres) be approved in principle, to be funded by UTM Capital Reserves derived from the UTM Operating Budget and Financing.
  2. Revisions: University of Toronto Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects

    The Chair invited Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships to present the item.

    Professor Mabury noted that in the fall of 2020, the Chair of the Governing Council, Ms Claire Kennedy, established the Working Group on Governance Oversight of Capital Projects (WGGOCP) with an overall objective to review and make recommendations to enhance governance oversight of capital projects. This group was later chaired by Brian Lawson, current chair of the Governing Council.

    Professor Mabury noted that the last update to the Policy had been in 2017 and was no longer responsive to the scope and scale of capital projects occurring across the three campuses. He referred members to the documentation available on the governance portal and highlighted the following major changes and updates reflected in the new Policy, which addressed many issues identified by the WGGOCP, while at the same time respecting the principles of governance oversight:
  • Added emphasis on Campus Master Plans;
  • Improved clarity on capital project priorities, which incorporated an annual presentation to the relevant governance bodies of capital projects prioritized for the year;
  • Revised approval levels with Level 1 classified as project with a cost up to $10 million; Level 2 classified as a project with a cost between $10 million and $50 million and Level 3 classified as a capital project with a cost more than $50 million;
  • Financing and Execution of Capital Projects has been clarified, so that any financing will be approved by the Business Board, whose role was exclusively to consider the financial impact in the context of the University’s debt capacity, while execution of a project was under the authority to the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP);
  • Changes in Scope have been clarified so that the VPOREP had the authority to approve minor scope changes. For more major scope changes, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies (Committees, Campus Councils, Boards) that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether a revised Project Planning Report (PPR) should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
  • Project Budget Increases have been clarified, so that approval of cumulative project budget increases up to 10% of the original Total Project Cost (TPC), to a maximum of $30 million, were within the authority of the VPOREP; for those over 10% of the original TPC or between $30 to $50 million, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether the revised TPC should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
  • Emphasis of Project Completion Reports was strengthened so that a written report to University governance bodies was required to confirm financial closure of the Capital Project had occurred and to identify any budget and schedule variances;
  • Property Acquisitions, Real Estate Partnerships, and Capital Leases sections have been added, with an explanation of the authority of the Business Board;
  • Four Corners (“4C”) and Infrastructure Projects have been recognized in the Policy and the related approval processes have been specified.

    In response to a member’s question about the anticipated timeline related to the ad-hoc committee meeting in case of an increase in the already approved total project cost, Professor Mabury responded that he anticipated that these meetings could be constituted quite quickly. He added that the University was no longer going to rely on cost estimates provided by architects, but rather independent cost consultants to arrive at a move accurate cost estimate.
  1. Revisions to the UTM Campus Council and Campus Affairs Committee Terms of Reference

    The Chair invited Ms. Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council to present the item. Ms. Drummond noted that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference resulted from the proposed changes to the Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects as described under the previous item. Ms Drummond referred members to the documentation on the governance portal which outlined the detailed changes that resulted in both the Campus Council and the Campus Affairs Committee terms of reference. She noted that these changes were made to provide clarity and to ensure that the terms of reference reflected both what was required under the proposed new Policy and current practices.

    Members had no questions.
  2. Calendar of Business

    The Chair referred members to the UTM Campus Council’s Calendar of Business and advised that the document was available and updated regularly on the Office of the Governing Council website. She encouraged members to review the Calendar on a regular basis and consult with the Secretariat if they had questions about forthcoming items.


    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 10 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.
  3. Report on Capital Projects – as at August 31, 2021
  4. Reports for Information
    1. Report 49 of the Agenda Committee (September 23, 2021)
    2. Report 48 of the Campus Affairs Committee (September 13, 2021)
    3. Report 42 of the Academic Affairs Committee (September 14, 2021)
  5. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 48 – May 19, 2021

    The report of the pervious meeting was approved.
  6. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  7. Date of Next Meeting – November 16, 2021 at 4:10 p.m.
  8. Other Business

    There was no Other Business.

The Council moved In Camera.

  1. Capital Project: Student Services Hub – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the recommendation regarding the Capital Project: UTM Student Services Hub – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding contained in the memorandum from Ms Susan Senese, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, UTM, dated September 29, 2021, be approved.
  2. Appointments to the 2021-22 UTM Nominating Committee

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the recommendations regarding the appointments to the UTM Nominating Committee of the UTM Campus Council for 2021-22, as presented in the memorandum dated September 29, 2021, be approved, effective October 7, 2021.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:01 p.m.

October 13, 2021