Report: Academic Board - October 8, 2020

-
Via Virtual Meeting

REPORT NUMBER 229 OF THE ACADEMIC BOARD
Thursday, October 8, 2020

To the Governing Council, University of Toronto,

Your Board reports that it held a virtual meeting on Thursday, October 8, 2020, at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

Present:
Nicholas Terpstra, Chair; Douglas E. McDougall, Vice Chair; Meric S. Gertler, President; Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost; Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs & Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education; Mark Schmuckler, Acting Vice-Provost, Academic Programs & Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education; A'aishah Abdul Hameed; Catherine Amara; Laura Anderson; Harvey T. Botting; Markus Bussmann; Samantha Chang; Weijia Chen; Adanna Yvette Chigbo; Carol C. Chin; George Christakis; Rosa Ciantar; Caryl L. Clark; Shadi Dalili; 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; Nicholas C. Everett; 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; Glen A. Jones; William Ju; Allan S. Kaplan; Grase Kim; Jeannie Kim; Anil Kishen; Ronald H. Kluger; Daiana Kostova; Lisa Kramer; Ernest W.N. Lam; Brian D. Lawson; Kevin (Jingzhi) Li; Jiazhen (Diana) Li; Maureen MacDonald; Alexandra MacKay; Jan K. Mahrt-Smith; Susan McCahan; Nicole Mideo; Kent G.W. Moore; Amy Mullin; William Nguyen; Fabian Parsch; Lacra Pavel; Dana Phillips; Michael J.H. Ratcliffe; Matt Ratto; Daniel Rozhko; Nicholas Rule; Rosa Saverino; Michael Shier; Maureen L. Simpson; Jastaranpreet (Jasty) Singh; Eric Stubbs; Evan Tang; Truc Tran; Grace Ann Westcott; Patricia Windrim; Melanie A. Woodin; Robert M. Wright; Vishar Yaghoubian; L. Trevor Young

REGRETS:
Larry P. Alford, Aarthi Ashok, Joshua Barker, Nina Bascia, Adalsteinn (Steini) I. D. Brown, Kenneth S. Corts, Stephane Paul Martin Demers, Luc F. De Nil, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Cathy (Hui Jie) Feng, Sol Goldberg, William A. Gough, Richard Hegele, Edward M. Iacobucci, Vishnu Katyal, Charlie Keil, Brigitte Lavoie, Zhiyuan (Annie) Lu, Lance T. McCready, Bonnie S. McElhinny, Mark McGowan, Don McLean, Jennifer Gillian Purtle, Markus Stock, Dexter Voisin, Njoki Wane, Christopher M. Yip

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS:
Heather S. Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life; Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity; Wisdom J. Tettey, Vice-President and Principal, UTSC; Joseph Wong, Interim Vice-President, International

SECRETARIAT:
Tracey Gameiro, Secretary

IN ATTENDANCE:
Tad Brown, Counsel, Business Affairs & Advancement; Jane Harrison, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life; Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance; Archana Sridhar, Assistant Provost, Office of the Vice-President and Provost


ITEM 3 IS RECOMMENDED TO THE GOVERNING COUNCIL FOR APPROVAL. ITEM 4 WAS APPROVED. ALL OTHER ITEMS ARE REPORTED FOR INFORMATION.


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2,
Item 10 was considered in camera.

OPEN SESSION

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    Professor Nicholas Terpstra welcomed new and returning members of the Board and introduced himself, Vice-Chair Professor Douglas McDougall, and the Board’s Secretary, Tracey Gameiro.

    The Chair referred to the Academic Board Orientation video which had been provided to members in advance of the meeting. He noted that the orientation had been designed to familiarize members with the Board’s areas of responsibility and mandate.

    The Chair then introduced the Board’s assessors.
  2. Report of the Vice-President and Provost

    The Vice-President and Provost provided an update on the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which she noted would be a standing item at Board meetings for the foreseeable future. Highlights of the Provost’s report included the following:

    Returning to Campus
    • In an effort to limit community transmission, the number of people on campus continued to be restricted to research and teaching activities and student services that required an on-campus presence.
    • Designated library study space was available on all three campuses with measures in place based on public health guidance to provide students with suitable spaces where they could study and have access to reliable internet in order to access their courses.
    • Practices continued to be reviewed and modified in line with guidance provided by provincial governments and public health officials.
    • The University was also helping lead a special COVID-19 working group formed by the Council of Ontario Universities to co-ordinate the sector’s response to the pandemic.
    • Community members were encouraged to visit the UCheck web portal to complete a self-assessment before coming to campus.
    • The Policy on Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings had been introduced and two masks had been provided to every member of the University community across all three campuses.
    • A newly launched ‘Dashboard’ would provide a report of confirmed cases in the University community and would be updated regularly.
    • The University was supporting students entering Canada who needed to quarantine for 14-days by providing transportation from the airport, accommodation, meals, daily wellness check-ins, and virtual programming. At the time of Provost’s report, 978 students had registered in the program and 883 had completed their 14-day quarantine period.
    • Under current restrictions, only international students holding a study permit issued prior to March 18, 2020 were permitted to enter the country, with the exception of U.S. students who were permitted to enter the country regardless of the date of their study permit.
    • The federal government had announced that it would enable international students attending designated institutions to enter Canada beginning October 20, 2020.
    • The cancellation of Study Abroad programs had been extended until the end of April 2021.

      Academic Continuity
    • The Centre for Teaching and Learning had provided programming during the past summer to support the transition from in-person to online learning.
    • In response to questions from a member about the health and safety of faculty members and instructors teaching in person, and the risk with regard to community transmission, the Provost highlighted the following safety measures that had ben put in place for teaching:
    1. Instructors had been asked to have plans in place in the eventuality that provincial and public health guidance required a move to remote instruction or the further reduction of class size.
    2. The Winter term was expected to look much like the fall in terms of online and in person instruction, with Faculties and divisions announcing their plans in the coming weeks.
    3. The Office of the Vice-Provost of Academic Programs and Innovations had begun meeting with divisions to identify areas where students might face a delay in graduation because of a disruption and the administration continued to work with those units on resiliency planning.

      Academic Disruptions
    • Of the over 900 programs offered by the University, since the start of the pandemic, at the request of the deans, the Provost had, pursuant to the Policy on Academic Continuity, approved declared disruptions in 67 programs and 56 courses (36 of those were course-only disruptions), impacting 14 faculties and the Toronto School of Theology.
    • As of October 2020, disruptions continued in 58 programs (44 of those being part of a single disruption declared in the UTSC co-op programs). Nearly all of the program disruptions responded to the suspension or cancellation of in-person placements, in hospitals and other settings.
    • In addition, five programs did not admit new students for the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID-19.

      Budget
    • The current year’s budget had been developed prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and was based on assumptions of normal levels of enrolment and on-campus activity.
    • In response to a member’s question about international enrolment, the Provost indicated that despite the significant uncertainty created by the pandemic, early indications were that overall enrolment levels for the fall term were roughly in line with the prior year, with some differences at the level of individual divisions and programs.
    • At the time of reporting, the Provost stated that significant reductions in the overall operating revenue were not expected.

      Cost Increases
    • Cost increases were experienced in a number of areas, including the repatriation of students who were overseas during the initial lockdown, emergency financial support for students dealing with loss of employment opportunities and unexpected expenses causes by the pandemic.
    • Over $6.5M in COVID-9 Emergency grants had been disbursed to approximately 6,000 students.
    • Expenses were also incurred related to changes in instructional design and IT systems to enable online course delivery, as well as environmental health and safety costs to support the safe re-opening of research labs and workplaces.
    • There had been some savings in planned travels costs, lower utilities and supplies usage due to reduced on-campus activity.
    • Ancillary service units such as residences, food, and parking, were funded outside the University’s operating budget, relying on revenue from the services they provide, and had been particularly hard hit by the reduction in on-campus activities and had undertaken significant cost-saving strategies over the past six months to minimize financial losses.

      There were no questions from members.

      The Chair thanked the Provost for her comprehensive report.
  3. Proposed Revisions to the Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions for Part-time Academic Staff (Part-time Policy); and amendments to the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA) and the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions in the Teaching Stream (PPPTS)

    The Chair advised that pursuant to Section 5.2.1(a) of the Board’s Terms of Reference, consideration of policies on the nature of academic employment was assigned to the Academic Board. Professor Heather Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life, provided an overview of proposed changes to the Part-time Policy:
    • There was a shared commitment to update the policy as last revised 1994.
    • Changes being proposed were the product of more than three years of negotiation with UTFA.
    • The policy changes to the Part-time Policy had no impact on those with status only appointments or adjunct faculty in any way as they were governed by a separate set of practices and guidelines.
    • Provisions related to rank and title and eligibility for promotion, brought part-time teaching stream faculty in line with other appointed faculty.
    • The notice and severance provisions proposed in the revised policy were consistent with what had been recommended when a long standing part-time faculty member was not renewed and as such there were no financial implications as a result of that change.
    • The contract of part-time faculty with a continuing appointment would not have an end date; unless given formal notice, their contract would continue.
    • The Transition Plan negotiated provided pathways for specific categories of existing part-time faculty based on the length of their employment with a particular unit.
    • While the revised policy would come into effect on January 1, 2021, the current 1994 policy would continue in effect until such time as all those appointed under the 1994 policy were issued their next contract at the end of their current term.

      A member raised a question about the implications for academic appointments in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, noting that currently, part-time faculty were able to be promoted. Professor Boon clarified that most such faculty in the Faculty of Medicine were appointed as clinicians and as such were governed by a separate policy and not impacted by the proposed revisions.

      Professor Boon provided clarification regarding the ‘unreasonably denied’ language in the PPAA with respect to requests from full-time faculty with tenure or Continuing Status to reduce their FTE. Requests for a change in status to part-time would generally be approved but would be limited to a set period of time to facilitate the unit’s planning. A request resulting from an accommodation under human rights law would not have the same limitations.

      Professor Boon went on to address a further concern about how the policy would be implemented in practice at the faculty level so that expectations regarding promotion were clearly communicated. She indicated that there was extensive communication with divisions. The administration would continue to work with divisions to update any guidelines as required.

      A member requested clarification between ‘continuing appointments’ and ‘continuing status’. Professor Boon explained that ‘continuing status’ was akin to tenure for the teaching stream. A ‘continuing appointment’ was not the same as continuing status. A continuing appointment had no end date and could be terminated not for cause as long as appropriate severance and notice was provided.

      With regards to why ‘assistant’ professor and ‘associate’ professor were mentioned in the same section (Section 18) of the PPPTS, Professor Boon stated that a part-time faculty member who received a continuing appointment was not considered for promotion at the same time. Instead, annually, an academic unit should review all assistant and associate professors, teaching stream with continuing appointments for possible promotion.

      In response to a question regarding how long it had been since the Part-time Policy had last been reviewed, Professor Boon remarked that this was an example of a ‘frozen policy.’ She explained that it was only recently that the University of Toronto Faculty Association and the administration had developed a mechanism for changing such frozen policies. Both parties shared a strong commitment to update the policy.

      A member asked about the implications for leave accruals when converting to part-time status

      In reply, Jane Harrison, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life explained that these credits were tracked centrally and would be automatically pro-rated upon change of status. Dr. Harrison confirmed that salary would also be pro-rated.

      On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR BOARD RECOMMENDED

      THAT the Memorandum of Settlement Between the University of Toronto Faculty Association and the University Administration, dated May 7, 2020, regarding the Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-time Faculty be approved, effective immediately; and

      THAT revisions to Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-time Academic Staff be approved, effective January 1, 2021; and

      THAT the amendments to Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments be approved, effective January 1, 2021; and

      THAT the agreement that the ranks and titles of part-time teaching stream faculty members change from the current titles of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer to Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream be approved, effective immediately.

      THAT the amendments to Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions in the Teaching Stream be approved, effective January 1, 2021.


OPEN SESSION CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR BOARD APPROVED THAT

the consent agenda be adopted.

  1. Approvals Under Summer Executive Authority

    The Chair reported that there were no approvals under summer executive authority within the purview of the Academic Board.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 228 – May 28, 2020

    Report Number 228, from the meeting of May 28, 2020 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. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:
    1. 2020-2021 Calendar of Business
    2. Report Number 266 of the Agenda Committee – June 2, 2020
    3. Report Number 267 of the Agenda Committee – June 24, 2020
    4. Report Number 268 of the Agenda Committee – September 24, 2020
    5. Report Number 204 of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs – September 21, 2020
    6. Report Number 194 of the Planning and Budget Committee – September 17, 2020


END OF CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Date of the Next Meeting: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 3:10 – 5:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday, November 18 at 3:10 p.m.
  2. Other Business

    No other items of other business were raised.


THE BOARD MOVED IN CAMERA.

IN CAMERA CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR BOARD APPROVED THAT

the in camera consent agenda be adopted

  1. Quarterly Report on Donations: May 1 – July 31, 2020

    Members received the Quarterly Report on Donations for information.


The Board returned to Open Session.

The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.

October 14, 2020