Report: Academic Board - October 12, 2023

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, 27 King's College Circle, 2nd floor


OCTOBER 12, 2023

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto,

Your Board reports that it held a meeting October 12, 2023 at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Douglas McDougall (Chair), Ernest Lam (Vice Chair), Meric S. Gertler (President), Anna Kennedy (Chair, Governing Council), Sandra Hanington (Vice Chair Governing Council), Cheryl Regehr (Vice President and Provost), Ron Saporta (Acting Vice President, Operations), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education),   Ramona Alaggia, Catherine Eve Amara, Aarthi Ashok, Joshua Barker, Amanda Bartley, Zoraida D. Beekhoo, Bensiyon Benhabib*, Susan Jane Bondy, Christian Caron, Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Dinesh Christendat*, Robert Avery Cooper, Tarun Dewan*, Lisa Rebecca Dolovich, Paul Downes, Sheree Drummond, Markus Dubber, David Dubins, Wendy M. Duff, Darryl Raymond Edwards, Ramy Elitzur*, Angela Esterhammer, Jessica Eylon, Seyedreza (Reza) Fattahi Massoum, Monique Flaccavento, Adam Fox, Robert Gazzale, Robert B Gibbs, Walid A Houry, Sabrina Hundal, Sarosh Jamal, Charles Q. Jia*, Linda Johnston, M. Shone Joos, Rita Kandel, Gretchen Kerr, Jeannie Kim, Tys Klumpenhouwer, Lisa Kramer*, Robert James Kyle, Sameer Lal*, Renee Simran Kaur Mahal*, Eha Mai Naylor, John Maurice Oesch, Michael J.H. Ratcliffe, Sebastian Rodriguez,  Firdaus Sadid, Sacha Samouk*, Rosa Saverino*, Rob M Simon, Suresh Sivanandam, Lindsay Stern, Sharon Switzer-McIntyre*, Ali Syed*, Sali A. Tagliamonte *, Steven J. Thorpe, Veronica Marie Wadey, Erica Walker*, Charmaine Cordelia Williams,  Suzanne Wood*, Melanie A. Woodin, Colleen Zimmerman, David Walter Zingg

*participated remotely via Zoom

REGRETS: Basil Iyad Abu Sara, Larry P. Alford, Robert Clegg Austin, Jutta Brunnée, Pier Bryden, Stephanie Chartrand, Carol C. Chin, Susan Christoffersen, Lorne Leo James Costello, Leah E. Cowen (Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives Nathalie Des Rosiers, Lorne Leo James Costello, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Dickson Eyoh*, Joseph Flessa, France Gagnon, Emily Gilbert, William A. Gough, Md Rafiul Haque Shahin, Jason Harlow, Patricia Houston, Yu Xuan Huang, Charlie Keil, Elaine Khoo, Anil Kishen, Dveeta Lal, Marcus Law, Robert Levitt, Amy Shari Mann,  Ryan McClelland, Irene Morra, Javed Mostafa, Nicole Novroski, Jesse Pasternak, Jennifer Gillian Purtle, Srilata Raman, Matt Vesuvious Ratto, Nicholas Rule, Laura Anna Simone, Laina Southgate, Markus Stock, Laura Tam, Sergio Tenenbaum, Nhung Tuyet Tran, Mary-Agnes Wilson, Christopher M. Yip, Trevor Young,

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Jeff Lennon (Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal, UTSC)*

SECRETARIAT: Tracey Gameiro (Secretary)

IN ATTENDANCE: Tad Brown (Counsel, Business Affairs and Advancement), Susan Mazza (Special Projects Officer, Office of the President), Ann Perry (Senior Issues & Media Relations Strategist), Andrea Russell (Acting Assistant Provost, Office of the Vice President and Provost), Aidan Thompson (Vice President, Public & University Affairs, UTSU), Terese Weisberg (Member, College of Electors)

Pursuant to section 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of item 10 took place in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    Professor Douglas McDougall welcomed new and returning members and introduced himself, as the incoming Chair, as well as Vice-Chair Professor Ernest Lam, and Board Secretary Tracey Gameiro. 

    The Chair introduced the assessors to the Board who were present, explaining that they were senior members of the administration who had been appointed by the President to advise the Board.

    The Chair encouraged members to participate in meetings, and to actively and respectfully share their views on issues under discussion. He noted the importance of reviewing all documentation in advance and encouraged members to submit complex questions in prior to the meetings, so that fulsome responses could be presented to the Board while discussing the matter. 
  2. Report of the Vice President and Provost

    The Provost began her remarks by addressing the events that had transpired in the Middle East on October 7, 2023. She recognized the deep emotional toll the terrorist violence continued to have on members of the University of Toronto (“UofT”), community, and extended the University’s support to all those affected. The Provost reported that the University had been in contact with all students in the region to ensure their safety, and had also reached out to students from the region currently studying at UofT to provide assistance. 

    The Provost acknowledged that members of the University community might have deeply held and opposing views on this conflict, and reaffirmed UofT’s commitment to the open exchange of ideas and abiding respect for diverse viewpoints. She implored the community to engage in dialogue respectfully and with mutual understanding of the University’s shared values of diversity and free expression. The Provost then spoke to the University’s International SOS service, and encouraged anyone who was travelling internationally for work to register. 

    The Provost then addressed the following as part of her report:
    1. Canada-India Geo-Political Tensions

      The Provost reported that approximately 2,400 students from India were currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at UofT. She stated that there was minimal risk to current enrolment as the majority of those students were already on campus attending classes when tensions between the Canadian and Indian Governments began to escalate. The Provost cautioned, however, that these strained relationships could impact planned in-year travel by students and faculty, and could have some risk to applications for next year if things continued to intensify over the fall.   

    2. Enrolment

      The Provost then provided a brief overview of enrolment to date. The Provost reported that approximately 16,300 new undergraduate students registered in direct entry programs. This was approximately 500 students more than the previous year, with growth in both domestic and international populations, but below targeted growth projections by about 2.6%. The result was 690 fewer international students than anticipated. This was offset by approximately 250 more domestic students than targeted. Some of this variance was due to international students who became landed immigrants between the time they applied and the time they enrolled. Summer enrolment was also lower than planned, most notably at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and Scarborough (UTSC) campuses, although still higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

    3. Indigenous Tuition Initiative

      The Provost concluded her report with the announcement of the launching of the University’s Indigenous Tuition Initiative. The initiative would cover tuition for Indigenous students from nine First Nations whose territories the University is on or adjacent to. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that were OSAP-eligible were covered under this program. Additionally, Indigenous students from provinces outside of Ontario, as well as Native Americans and Alaska Natives from the continental United States, would be assessed at the Ontario tuition rate in recognition of the colonial boundaries that were now in place in North America.

      Following the Provost’s report, a member inquired whether the University had considered extending the Indigenous Tuition Initiative to all Indigenous students across the nation. In reply, the Provost explained that, while this was the University’s first proposal, Indigenous members of the U of T community with whom the administration had consulted on this initiative, instead advised working more closely and developing deeper relations with the nine Indigenous communities adjacent to the University to develop a different model than for the rest of North America.



On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 4, the Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  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 246 – May 25, 2023

    Report Number 246, from the meeting of May 25, 2023 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 items for information:
    1. 2023-2024 Calendar of Business
    2. Report Number 298 of the Agenda Committee – May 30, 2023
    3. Report Number 299 of the Agenda Committee – June 28, 2023
    4. Report Number 300 of the Agenda Committee – October 3, 2023
    5. Report Number 220 of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs – September 26, 2023
    6. Report Number 209 of the Planning and Budget Committee – September 28, 2023
  5. Quarterly Report on Donations of $250,00 or more to the University of Toronto, May 1 to July 31, 2023.

    Members received the Quarterly Report on Donations for information.


  1. Date of the Next Meeting: November 16, 2023, 3:10-5:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Board would be on November 16, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.

  2. Other Business

    No items of other business were raised.



  1. In Camera Report of the Administrative Assessors

    Mr. Ron Saporta, Acting Vice-President Operations , provided the Board with a brief overview of the major capital projects planned for the 2023-2024 governance year.

    The Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget then spoke to the budgetary impact of recent   arbitration award and compensation decisions.

    There were no other in camera reports from the Administrative Assessors.

    The Board returned to Open Session.

The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.

October 16, 2023