Report: Academic Board - November 21, 2019

Simcoe Hall, 27 King’s College Circle, Governing Council Chamber 2nd Floor

Thursday, November 21, 2019

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Board reports that it met on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall with the following members present:


Nicholas Terpstra (Chair), Doug McDougall (Vice Chair), Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs),Trevor Rodgers (Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget), Nadia Al-Banna, Catherine Amara, Stephanie Anagnostou, Laura Anderson, Harvey T. Botting, Catherine Bragg, Markus Bussmann, Joey Chan, Samantha Chang, Jiayi (Caroline) Chen, Carol C. Chin, George Christakis, Caryl L. Clark, Ettore Vincenzo Damiano, Amrita G. Daniere, Jim Davis, Raisa B. Deber, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Luc F. De Nil, Lisa Dolovich, Paul Downes, David Dubins, Arda Erturk, Angela Esterhammer, Nicholas C. Everett, Susan Froom, K. Sonu Gaind, Sol Goldberg, Peter Gooch, Emily Hawes, Richard Hegele, Edsel Ing, Ira Jacobs, Sarosh Jamal, Oria James, Linda Johnston, Glen A. Jones, Amin Kamaleddin, Allan S. Kaplan, Lisa Kramer, Ernest W.N. Lam, Zhiyuan (Annie) Lu, Maureen MacDonald, Alexandra MacKay, Tiff Macklem, Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Don McLean, Dana Phillips, Lewis Rose, Nicholas Rule, Rosa Saverino, Jastaran Singh, Rozina Somani, Dexter Voisin, Patricia Windrim, Melanie A. Woodin, L. Trevor Young, Rachel Zand

Benjamin Alarie, Aarthi Ashok, Nina Bascia, Shauna Brail, Nicole Breakey, Ken Corts, Shadi Dalili, Zhong-Ping Feng, Emily Gilbert, Andrew Girgis, Vivek Goel, Gary D. Goldberg, Tara Goldstein, J. Connie Guberman, Janneka Guise, Mallory Estelle Jackman, William Ju, Jeannie Kim, Anil Kishen, Ronald H. Kluger, Daiana Kostova, Cara Krmpotich, Ron Levi, Paul E. Lindblad, Ben Liu, Fei-Fei Liu, Siyi (Megan) Liu, Kent G.W. Moore, Emmanuel Nikiema, Lacra Pavel, Mary Pugh, Jennifer Purtle, Suzan Schneeweiss, Michael Shier, Anne Harriet Simmonds, Richard M. Sommer, James Stafford, Markus Stock, Truc Tran, Njoki Wane

Non-voting Assessors:
Heather S. Boon (Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life), Amrita G. Daniere/Professor William A. Gough ((Acting) Vice-President and Principal UTM), Trevor Rodgers (Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget), Wisdom J. Tettey (Vice-President and Principal UTSC)

Tracey Gameiro, Secretary (Academic Board )
Anwar Kazimi (Deputy Secretary)
David Walders (Assistant Secretary)

In Attendance:
Althea Blackburn-Evans (Executive Director, Communications Partnerships), Robert G. Boeckner (member, Audit Committee), Emma del Junco (Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs), Jaime Kearns (President, Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Student), Christopher Lang (Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances), David Lock (Coordinator, Academic Planning and Reviews, Office of the Vice- Provost, Academic Programs), Poppy Lockwood (Vice-Dean, Academic Planning, Faculty of Arts & Science), Daniella Mallinick (Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, Office of the Vice- Provost, Academic Programs), Susan Mazza (Special Projects Officer, Office of the President), Joshua Mitchell (Director, Real Estate, Faculty of Arts and Science), Andrea Russell (Director, Academic Affairs, Office of the Vice-President and Provost), Brian Silverman (Associate Dean, Research & Academic Resources), Archana Sridhar (Assistant Provost, Office of the Vice-President and Provost), Angela Treglia (Director, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre), Adam Fraser (Assistant Director, High Risk, Investigations & Special Projects), Alexandra Varela (Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs)


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2,
Items 15 to 17 were considered in camera.

Open Session

1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests. He noted that one speaking request had been received, to speak to item 3 on the Agenda, the Review of Academic Programs and Units.  That request, from the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), had been granted.

University of Toronto Electronic Transcript (eTranscript)

2. Report of the Vice-President and Provost

The Provost began her report by announcing the launch of the official University of Toronto Electronic Transcript.  As of November 19, 2019, students and alumni would be able to order transcripts in PDF format, allowing for faster delivery time, greater document security and fraud prevention, and improved servicing of transcript requests.  The Provost advised members that the University would no longer be sending paper transcripts to other institutions. 

Student Mobility

Professor Regehr noted that over the years the University had seen an increased uptake from students to expand their academic experiences, with 24% taking advantage of some sort of international program.  She went on to address the unrest in Hong Kong and escalating protests across the city’s university campuses noting the following:

  • Assistance had been offered to University of Toronto students to return early from Hong Kong.
  • Work was being done with each student and their partner organization to enable them to complete their academic semester.
  • Resources available to students abroad included 24/7 support from UofT Safety Abroad staff as well as local SOS support, and regular email, phone and text communications with Learning Abroad and Safety Abroad advisors.

In response to a member’s inquiry as to whether similar supports were offered to community members abroad who were not students (e.g. staff, faculty, and researchers), the Provost noted that staff and faculty were much less likely to register with the Centre for International Experience (CIE). Nonetheless, the Provost reported that University’s robust insurance plans provided coverage and supports to members abroad.

On-Campus Flu Clinics

The Provost reported that flu injection clinics had been set up throughout the University’s three campus and had been extremely successful, with 1,671 injections having been administered altogether.  She added that in consultation with the University’s student leaders, plans were to offer additional clinics once supplies were replenished, with more vaccines expected the first week of exams. 

A member noted that flu clinics had yet to open on the UTM campus and questioned whether this was a result of a shortage in vaccines.  The Provost undertook to take the matter up with Peel Public Health.

3. Review of Academic Programs and Units – Part 1

Professor Ernest Lam, Chair of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs (AP&P), provided an overview of the follow-up reports considered by the Committee.  He reported that AP&P received five follow-up reports.

a. Follow-Up Report on Reviews

i. Department of Arts, Culture and Media (University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Lam reported that the follow-up report from the Faculty of Department of Arts, Culture and Media (University of Toronto Scarborough) detailed how the department had been engaged in a multifaceted visioning exercise for the past several years.  To address immediate space concerns, renovations had been undertaken to create a New Media and Digital Image Innovation Lab, and a Sound Creativity Lab, for completion in 2020. 

ii. Forensic Science Program (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Professor Lam advised that the follow-up report from the Forensic Science Program reported on the medium to long-term development of the program, which included the establishment of an EDU. A proposal was underway to create an EDU:B, called the Forensic Science Centre.  The planned EDU would also engage faculty in cognate units at the University of Toronto Mississauga through cross-appointments.

iii.   Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Faculty of Arts   and   Science)

The follow up report from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology addressed the initiatives to improve staff relations, noting that workplace civility workshops had been offered to both faculty and staff and were well attended.

Professor Lam added that the Chair was working with the Vice-Dean, Faculty, Academic Life and Equity and the new Associate Chairs to further improve climate in the unit and ensure open communication with new leadership.

iv.    Department of Chemistry; Pharmaceutical Chemistry Program (Faculty of Arts and Science)

Professor Lam reported that the follow up report for the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry program addressed the development of a standardized research requirement, noting that research components were currently built into capstone courses for several programs.

In addition, future students enrolled in Introduction to Chemistry Research, which was required in several programs, would attend professional skills workshops on research topics.

The report also noted that the Department of Chemistry had become the administrative home of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Specialist Program, as of May 2019.  Professor Lam noted that the Chair of Chemistry would continue to explore collaborative opportunities between the Department and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

v.    Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Latin American Studies Program (Faculty of Arts and Science)

The follow-up report for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the (Latin American Studies (LAS) program  addressed the integration of LAS within the Department by confirming that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese had become the administrative home for the Latin American Studies major and minor programs as of July 1, 2019.

Professor Lam indicated that the transfer received broad support from members of the Department. He added that the Department could now offer the LAS program administrative support and teaching by faculty with continuing appointments.

In the discussion that ensued, a member raised a question over the lack of investment in arts and cultural infrastructure at UTSC.  In response, Professor Wisdom Terry, Vice-President and Principal, UTSC reported that there was a dedicated commitment for investment in this area and that in fact, a facility of this kind was part of the capital plan for UTSC going forward. 

b. Semi-Annual Report on the Review of Academic Units and Programs, April – September, 2019

In response to a question from a member, Professor Regehr began her remarks on the Review of Academic Programs and Units, addressing how U of T’s quality assurance process considered student mental health issues.  She shared that Deans and Chairs were looking closely at their own programs to identify potential stressors or barriers in the curriculum design of their programs.  Professor Regehr noted for example, that in the Faculty of Arts & Science, this had led to major changes in the system of POST codes in Computer Science.

The Provost indicated that through the implementation of the Undergraduate Student Educational Experience vision and the work of Professor Joshua Barker at the School of Graduate Studies, issues related to student mental health were permeating all aspects of the institution’s planning and operations.  She added that Professor Susan McCahan, as Vice-Provost, Academic Programs, was speaking with those developing new programs or making changes to existing programs about best practices in assessment, mental health accommodations, and academic supports, and that these matters were being incorporated into templates for self-studies and external reviews.

The Provost concluded her remarks by sharing that external reviewers were very engaged with the issue of student mental health, and that during her meetings with external reviewers she was often asked about issues of organizational culture and student mental health. 

The Chair then invited Professor Lam to report on the discussion at AP&P of the Semi-Annual Report of Academic Units and Programs.

Professor Lam noted that the AP&P considered 12 external reviews of units and/or programs, five of which were commissioned by the Provost and the remaining seven were University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) reviews commissioned by the Deans. 

It was confirmed that the reviews were conducted in-line with the University’s policies and guidelines, were managed properly, and that quality issues had been addressed or plans were in place to do so.

In closing, Professor Lam reported that three follow up reports had been requested regarding the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Provostial Review, the Faculty of Medicine Provostial Review, and the Health Studies Program Decanal Review (Faculty of Arts & Science).

Ms. Jaime Kearns, President of APUS then addressed the meeting.  Ms. Kearns noted that mental health had been a consistent theme across the reviews and encouraged a deeper review of the academic culture at the University.  To this end she presented a number of recommendations including:

  • Greater consultation with students;
  • Academic forgiveness policies to allow for the removal of grades that were adversely impacted by mental health;
  • Changes to bell curve practices;
  • Expanding related training and supports across the University; and
  • Increased funding for mental health programs and support for student wellness.

The Chair thanked Ms. Kearns for sharing her comments.  He then invited Professor Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs to address the Board.

Professor McCahan provided an overview of what was currently being done within the review and academic change processes to address diversity and accommodations (including mental health disabilities).  For example, she noted that the self-study template asked whether the department or program had adopted universal design principles for learning assessments and/or course delivery. 

Professor McCahan shared that discussions with Vice-Deans responsible for reviews had recently focused on how best to ensure that reviews considered whether the design of admission requirements, curriculum, and assessment methods took into account possible impacts on student mental health.  She added that student engagement was an important part of the process, to surface student concerns about their academic programs.  In the self-study, departments and divisions were required to describe in detail the participation of students in the self-study process and how their views had been obtained and considered. 

In closing, Professor McCahan reported that the UTQAP required that external reviewers meet with students to discuss their experiences in the program or unit, and that her office had recently attended a two-day symposium on student voices in quality assurance, where they learned more about best practices that would be integrated. 

A member inquired as to whether the provincial government had been lobbied to provide better community based mental health services.  In response, the Provost reported that the University did not receive funding to provide mental health services, and that these services were funded by student fees.  She indicated that universities continued to advocate very strongly as an institution and through organizations like the Council of Ontario Universities and Universities Canada to have the provincial and federal governments recognize their obligation to help institutions of higher learning to support the mental health and wellness of their students.

4. Budget Model Review (“BMR”)

Mr. Trevor Rodgers, Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget, provided an overview of the Budget Model Review, which had begun in 2018 and was expected to conclude by December 2019. Mr. Rodgers noted that key to the success of the University’s budget model was its adherence to three principles:

  • Transparency (clear delineation of revenue and expense by division)
  • Incentives (local decision-making and allocations linked to performance indicators, revenues, and costs)
  • Engagement (consultation and review processes)

Mr. Rodgers noted that the University’s budget model had been adopted in 2006, and that the last comprehensive review had been undertaken in 2010-11. He explained that as provincial support continued to decline and began to shift toward performance-based metrics, it was an opportune time to ensure that the budget model would continue to serve the University well into the future.

The objective of the BMR was to improve budgetary processes across a number of different areas. The Review was divided into five pillars:

  1. Inter-Divisional Teaching Working Group
  2. Alternative Funding Sources Advisory Group
  3. Strategic Mandate Agreement Budget Implementation Committee
  4. Operational Excellence Working Group
  5. Tri-Campus Budget Relationships Working Group

In response to a member’s question regarding incentives, the Provost clarified that revenues flowed to the Faculty (or campus, in the case of UTM and UTSC), with internal distributions occurring within multi-departmental Faculties.

5. Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

The Provost began her presentation with a summary of how the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (the “Policy”) had been developed as well as the Policy’s motivations and goals. Professor Regehr then outlined the approach to the Policy’s first review and feedback from stakeholders

Highlights of the Provost’s presentation included:

  • Creation of the Policy was motivated in part by Ontario passing Bill 132, which required all Ontario universities to put in place policies and processes to deal with sexual violence complaints on campus, and to provide training to faculty, staff, students and other members of the community on sexual violence prevention.
  • The Policy was approved by Governing Council in December 2016, and went into effect January 2017.
  • From January 2017 to December 31, 2018, the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre delivered 190 workshops with close to 8,000 participants, and received over 500 requests for support from students, staff, and faculty members.
  • Section IX of the Policy states that “the University will conduct a review of this Policy every three years that will include members of the University community, including students, staff and faculty, and will amend the Policy as appropriate.”
  • Consultations were conducted both in person across all three campuses with students, staff and faculty, as well as hosted online, with opportunities for feedback from Representative Student Committees, Governors, and others.
  • Suggestions for revisions of the policy were few and minor.
  • The feedback received focused mainly on how the Policy was being operationalized, including the work of the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre and the contents of the Companion Guide.

The Provost concluded her presentation with an overview of policy and operational changes planned for the coming year.  These included:

  • A revised Companion Guide with more examples and infographics.
  • Review of Centre staffing at UTM and UTSC, and augmented awareness of the Centre through advertising and outreach.
  • Increased awareness about online training.
  • Clarifying Respondent supports.

A question was raised about the distinction between sections 26(a) and (b) in the criteria for circumstances where confidentiality cannot be maintained.  The Provost explained that while in most situations it would be the immediacy of harm that would be determinative, in cases of sexual violence, the limits to confidentiality might be triggered by something less than the risk of ‘imminent’ harm.

6. Academic Plan: Joseph L. Rotman School of Management’s A Catalyst for Change Academic Plan 2014-2024

The Chair reminded members that while Board approval was not required for individual academic plans, under its Terms of Reference, the Board was asked to consider divisional academic plans for information and feedback.

The Chair noted that a full presentation of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management’s A Catalyst for Change Academic Plan 2019-2024, was made to the Planning and Budget Committee on October 31, 2019 and that a copy of that presentation could be found in the minutes of that meeting (Report 188 of the Planning and Budget Committee – October 31, 2019). 

He also welcomed Dean Tiff Macklem and Brian Silverman who were present to address any questions.

Professor Jan Mahrt-Smith, Chair of the Planning and Budget Committee, provided an overview of the discussion of the plan that took place at the Committee.

As part of the ensuing discussion, a member expressed concern over a perceived gap in the consultation process; specifically the input of UTM and UTSC faculty who contribute to the Rotman PhD program.  Dean Macklem noted that while they were non-voting members on Rotman Faculty Council, faculty from UTM and UTSC did have the opportunity to provide their input at the Faculty Council meetings where the plan had twice been presented.  He recognized the need to increase connectivity among faculty engaged in the tri-campus PhD program.

In response to a member’s question regarding whether appropriate ethical safeguards were in place when working with industry, Dean Macklem noted that broad input from various sectors was a priority, and assured members that considerable effort was made to ensure that the rules of engagement, particularly the upholding of academic freedom and the centrality of evidence-based results, were clearly communicated to partners.

As part of his closing remarks, Dean Macklem suggested that there was a need for management thinking and leadership on all major problems. He added that Rotman’s goal was not only to contribute to a vibrant business community but to a successful society.

The Chair thanked Professors Macklem and Silverman for attending.


The Chair notified the Board that the Secretary had received a request to remove three items of business from the Consent Agenda: Item 12a Provost’s Annual Report on Cases of Academic Discipline, 2018-2019 (“the Report”), Item 12b Semi-Annual Report: Academic Appeals, Committee, Individual Cases, Fall 2019, and Item 12c Semi-Annual Report: University of Tribunal, Individual Cases, Fall 2019 to be discussed as part of the regular agenda. Professor Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life was invited to provide comments on those items. 

Professor Boon explained that the Report was retrospective, capturing data from the last academic year.  She noted that the cover memo to the Report outlined some of the proactive strategies that the University took towards academic integrity.

A member commented that the University remained challenged by issues of academic integrity and questioned whether the Provostial Advisory Committee on Academic Integrity would remain a standing committee to continue to assess the effectiveness of the University’s academic integrity activities.   In response, the Provost confirmed that the work of the Advisory Committee would continue and that the Committee met several times a year to share best practices.

She went on to reference the educational session presented at the May 30, 2019 Board meeting which spoke to the very broad range of activities taking place across the institution.

Professor Boon explained that the intent of the University’s Academic Integrity strategy was not to ‘catch’ students, but rather to prevent academic discipline offences.  To this end she advised that a number of different approaches were being undertaken including:

  • Employing strategies in classroom design to design courses in ways that make it difficult to commit academic integrity offences.
  • Including academic integrity modules that are part of orientation sessions for all incoming students.
  • Programs for first year students such as “First Year Learning Communities” in the Faculty of Arts & Science.
  • At the institutional level, the University facilitated the use of Turnitin by instructors.
  • Within computer science courses, separate plagiarism-detection software was often used that detected plagiarism in code.

In closing, Professor Boon remarked that for pedagogical reasons the most important thing instructor could do was to think about how they design their courses in addition to talking to students about academic integrity.  As an example of developments in academic integrity and anti-plagiarism instruction, Professor Boon pointed to the online academic integrity module being used at UTSC. She noted that UTSC was further infusing academic integrity and citation methods into more of its larger first year courses, and that UTSC first year instructors were also working to develop smaller assignments to ensure students learned citation standards on unmarked assignments prior to submission of their first papers.

The Chair thanked members for the robust conversation.

The Board proceeded with the Consent Agenda.

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted

7. Constitutional Amendments: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee

THAT the proposed amended Constitution of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Council, which was recommended for approval by the Council on October 30, 2019 be approved, effective July 1, 2020.

8. Name Change of Academic Unit: Change in the Name of the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesia to the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee,

THAT the name of the Department of Anesthesia be changed to the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, effective January 1, 2020.

9. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for 700 University, 17th floor: Fit-out for the Faculty of Arts & Science – Interim Space Needs

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee,

THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for 700 University: Fit-out for the Faculty of Arts & Science Interim Space Needs, dated October 2, 2019, be approved in principle; and,

THAT the project totaling 5,238 rentable square metres (sm), be approved in principle, to be funded by the Faculty of Arts and Science Divisional Reserves.

10. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 223 – October 3, 2019

Report Number 223, from the meeting of October 3, 2019 was approved.

11. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

Members received for information, a memorandum from Scott Mabury, Vice-President of Operations and Real Estate Partnerships regarding a floor change for the 700 University 4th Floor Capital Project previously approved by Governing Council on October 24, 2019.

12. Items for Information

Members received the following reports for information:

  1. Provost’s Annual Report on Cases of Academic Discipline, 2018-2019
  2. Semi-Annual Report: Academic Appeals Committee, Individual Cases, Fall 2019
  3. Semi-Annual Report: University Tribunal, Individual Cases, Fall 2019
  4. Report Number 258 of the Agenda Committee – November 12, 2019
  5. Report Number 199 of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs – October 30, 2019
  6. Report Number 189 of the Planning and Budget Committee – October 31, 2019
  7. Membership of the Advisory Committee on the University of Toronto Library System for 2019-2020


13. Date of the Next Meeting: Thursday, January 30, 2020, 4:10 – 6:10 p.m.

The Chair reminded members that the next meeting, would be held on January 30, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

14. Other Business

A member queried what had been done to address the concerns raised by students at the last meeting regarding mental health supports at the University.

In response, the Provost noted that the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health was underway and had been meeting with students across the University.  Chaired by Dr. Trevor Young, Vice-Provost Relations with Health Care Institutions and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, the Task Force was scheduled to present their findings and recommendations in December 2019. The Provost reported that themes toward draft recommendations were available online and that feedback on those was being sought.  Members were invited to review the themes posted online at:



On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


the in camera consent agenda be adopted

15. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for 700 University, 17th floor: Fit-out for the Faculty of Arts & Science – Interim Space Needs

On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


THAT subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee

THAT the Acting Vice President, Operations’ recommendation, as outlined in the memorandum dated October 21, 2019, regarding the Report of the Project Planning Committee for 700 University, 17th floor: Fit-out for the Faculty of Arts & Science Interim Space Needs be approved.

16. Quarterly List of Donations of $250,000 or more to the University of Toronto August 1 to October 31, 2019

The Board received for information the Quarterly Report on Donations for the period of August 1 to October 31, 2019.


17. Report of the Academic Board Striking Committee

On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


THAT Professor Cara Krmpotich, be appointed to the Committee of Academic Policy and Programs effective immediately, for a term ending June 30, 2020.

The Board returned to open session.

The meeting adjourned at 5:43 p.m.

November 22, 2019