Report: UTM Campus Affairs Committee - October 21, 2021

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Via Virtual Meeting Room

REPORT NUMBER 49 OF THE CAMPUS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

October 21, 2021


To the Campus Council, University of Toronto Mississauga,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on October 21, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. via a Virtual Meeting Room.

Present:
Robert Gerlai (Chair), Rafael Chiuzi, (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Rhonda McEwen (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Susan Senese (Interim Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Nagham Abdalahad, Diana Aldaz, Layana Alnabhan, Esther Baffour, Lee Bailey, Jenny Cui, Dario Di Censo, Melissa Gniadek, Adriana Grimaldi, Jessica Hanley, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Sam Hosn, Hans van Monsjou, Pinar Kahraman, Ashley Monks, James Parker, Stephanie Santos, Evan Silva, Jessica Silver, Laura Taylor, Fatima Yakubi

Non-Voting Assessors:
Andrea Carter (Assistant Dean of Student Wellness, Support & Success)

Regrets:
Luke Barber, Claudiu Gradinaru, Jay Nirula

In Attendance:
Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Jeff Espie (Director of the Office of the Vice-President and Principal), Megan Evans (Manager, Parking & Transportation), Vicky Jezierski (Director, Hospitality and Retail Operations), Chad Nuttall (Assistant Dean of Students and International Initiatives)

Secretariat:
Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the Committee’s second meeting and reminded members about virtual meeting procedures.
  2. UTM Strategic Framework

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Gillespie provided an overview of UTM’s development of a campus wide strategic framework, which would be submitted for governance consideration in February, 2022.

    Professor Gillespie explained that although UTM did not have a formal strategic plan, it did have plans that comprised the foundations for a campus-wide strategy, such as the 2017 Academic Plan, the 2020 Sustainability Strategic Plan, and the 2021 Campus Master Plan. In addition, as part of the tri-campus system, UTM was also a part of the University’s 2018 Plan in Response to TRC; the 2018 Strategic Research Plan; the 2019 Four Corners Framework; the 2019 Report on Student Mental Health; the 2019 Low Carbon Action Plan; the 2021 Plan against Anti-Black Racism—and more. These plans provided details to ground UTM’s institutional future with respect to recommendations for action, targets for progress, and deadlines for implementation. Professor Gillespie noted that this existing context meant that the strategic framework would be a synthesis of these plans, unified into a common narrative. She reported that an early draft of the framework was made available online in early September and feedback would continue to be solicited through an online form and through ongoing consultations with different stakeholders and groups.

    Professor Gillespie explained that key terms in the five priorities had been arranged in a circle to suggest their non-hierarchical unity. Each priority had three commitments and three accountabilities to help focus efforts and track progress. These priorities were: Inspire Academic Creativity for Student Success; Enable Impactful Discovery in Student and Faculty Research; Develop Inclusive Spaces and Sustainable Operations; and Embrace our Location for Connection, Wellbeing, and Care. These priorities revolved around a focus on Truth, Openness, and Reciprocity, placed in the circle’s centre to signify its relevance to all UTM’s goals. Professor Gillespie highlighted that this applied most urgently to relations with Indigenous people as UTM strove to answer national and institutional calls for truth and reconciliation and to become a more deserving home for Indigenous students, faculty, librarians, staff, and partners. These priorities entailed a series of more specific commitments, which ranged from enacting initiatives in equity and anti-racism to recruiting and retaining outstanding and promising students; from catalyzing research impact through institutional, regional, and global networks to propelling efforts in economic resilience.

    A member thanked Professor Gillespie for her presentation and noted his support with respect to the goals around truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
  3. Status Report on UTM Campus Strategic Priorities

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President and Principal and Professor Rhonda McEwen, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, gave a presentation that outlined the status of the strategic priorities of the campus. With respect to the timeline of budget development, Professor Gillespie noted that in November, UTM would be discussing its budget plans with the Provost and the Vice President of University Operations and would receive approval of its enrollment plans in the budget in February of 2022. The University’s institutional budget would then proceed for governance consideration and it, along with the UTM campus operating budget would then be presented for information to UTM governance bodies.

    Addressing enrollment intake for 2021 to 2022, the target intake had been a total of 3846 undergraduate students broken down into 2715 domestic and 1131 international students. In terms of variance from those targets, the estimated actuals were at 2837 domestic students, and 1668 international students, a variance of 659. Professor Gillespie noted that this year, UTM had over- enrolled by 122 domestic and 537 international students.

    Moving on from enrollment to faculty recruitment, Professor Gillespie reported that in alignment with UTM’s academic plan implementation, 34 searches would be conducted, across all disciplines. UTM would be looking to align the planned faculty complement with the new strategic framework, with the new 2022 academic plan, which would emerge from the Provostial review process, and also with the new budget process. In keeping with this goal, all the different units across UTM had been asked to contribute to a more detailed budget process, which included goals and cost projections for five years. There would also be continued focus placed on improving the diversity and recruitment of faculty members.

    Professor Gillespie next focused on the status of research planning, noting that UTM would be allocating resources to support researchers who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also reported that the restructuring of the Office of the Vice-Principal Research would soon be completed and would include some new positions in that office. In addition to UofT’s already existing Strategic Research Plan 2018-23, UTM would develop its own, which would align with the other campus planning documents.

    With respect to the campus capital plan, Professor Gillespie reported that the Davis Meeting Place Revitalization had been completed, the new Science Building was continuing to make good progress and that the Student Services Hub had received governance approval and would also be moving ahead. She noted that the building that used to be referred to as Arts Culture and Technology (ACT) in previous reports was now being referred to as F2, and corresponded to site 2 in the Forrest Quadrant in the proposed new Master Plan. She reported that because of inflation and the cost of construction, this proposed building was being reviewed and that some cost adjustments had been necessary. UTM was also making significant progress with respect to a new residence. Finally, Professor Gillespie noted that UTM was actively planning an Indigenous building, one that would be dedicated to a more deserving place for Indigenous communities. UTM has also begun internal consultations for an Arts, Culture, Administration building. More information about these projects would be shared in future reports.

    The presentation was continued by Professor Rhonda McEwen, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean. Focusing on the Academic Plan, she reported that UTM had completed over 80% of a total of approximately 176 individual action items as tracked by the academic plan online dashboard. She reminded members about the five goals in the academic plan which had been represented by these action items and spoke to progress and achievement in each area. Professor McEwen reported that her office had worked very closely with the Office of the Vice-Principal Research on not only UTM being a home for world class research, but also supporting graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows.

    There had also been a focus on enriching the student experience by embracing opportunities for community involvement, especially in the surrounding Peel region, with the goal of educating future leaders to be global citizens. Finally, Professor McEwen highlighted goal five, which focused on transformation and innovation to create sustainable and cohesive community. She thanked the previous Dean, the Vice-Deans and the academic leaders and staff within the Dean’s office for their outstanding work on the Academic Plan and the tremendous progress thus far.
  4. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Ms Susan Senese, Interim Chief Administrative Officer to provide updates on the development of the ancillary budget plans and the campus Master Plan.

    Ms Senese began her report by noting that the various consultation committees, such as the Food Services Advisory Committee, the Residence Student Dining Committee, the Transportation and Parking Committee and the Student Housing Advisory Committee (SHAC) all had multiple meetings planned throughout the fall. She noted that at its October 20 meeting, SHAC had endorsed the proposed rates.

    Ms Senese then discussed the impact of Covid 19 on UTM’s ancillary operations. She noted that food services had been operating at approximately 40% of normal revenue and was expecting to move to 65% of normal revenue in January with a return to 90% expected in September 2022. With respect to student housing and residence life, revenues in 2020-2021 were 50% of budget with a high number of cancellations and refunds, UTM refunded $926,000 in residence fees at the start of the pandemic while also coping with increased costs and higher than average expenses for supplies, operations, and cleaning. Similarly, with respect to parking and transportation there had been a significant impact due to the Pandemic and student permit sales were at approximately 17% of normal levels, while staff and faculty permit sales were at approximately 65% of normal levels. It was anticipated that in January these students permit sales would increase to an estimated 40 to 50% of normal levels and the operation had projections to return to 100% of normal levels in September of 2022.

    Ms Senese continued her report with providing an overview of expected rate increases in each operation. Hospitality & Retail operations for 2021-22 included a new food services contract with Aramark, a feasibility study for a much needed, expanded kitchen in Spigel Hall and several sustainability initiatives, including the introduction of Ozzi reusable containers and an organic container farm. Reporting on Food Services budget considerations, Ms Senese noted that using trading economics forecasts, food prices were expected to rise by 3%. UTM was still awaiting the 2021 Food Institute of Dalhousie University Food Price report predictions. With respect to meal plans, increases to the cost in Basic Funds would be in line with projected food increases, and Flex Funds would increase to account for the increased number of Flex-only products such as Tim Horton's and Starbucks, based on updated CRA tax exemption guidelines. The projected price increase for parking permits was 3% and there was no planned increase in pay and display prices. Reporting on Student Housing and Residence Life, top priorities remain reinvesting in facilities such as the current renovation at McLuhan Court and planned renovations for Leacock Lane. Proposed increases in housing rates were between 4.5 and 4.7% for the next budget. A more detailed overview of the proposed ancillary budgets would be provided for governance consideration in Cycle three.

    Finally, Ms Senese provided an update on the Campus Master Plan and noted that members would receive detailed information in the fourth cycle of governance. The recommendations within the document were intended to envision the future of the campus to a time horizon of 2036 and were the outcome of a detailed master planning exercise that was undertaken between February 2020 and November 2021. UTM was just coming to the close of completing the master plan, which had been informed by a rigorous consultation program as well as expert recommendations related to urban planning, design and landscape architecture, sustainability, ecology, transportation, cultural heritage, and stormwater management.

CONSENT AGENDA

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 September 30, 2021
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting

    Report number 48, dated September 13, 2021, was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – January 10, 2022 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Committee was scheduled for January 10, 2022.
  5. Other Business

    There was no other business.


The meeting adjourned at 4:04 p.m.

October 26, 2021