Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - February 15, 2024

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall

Report Number 222 Of The Committee On Academic Policy And Programs


To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 3:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall with the following members present:

PRESENT:  Catherine Amara (Chair), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education, Joseph Flessa, Jason Harlow, Walid A. Houry, Shone Joos*, Robert Kyle*, Renee Mahal*, Nicole Novroski, Michael Ratcliffe, Sacha Samouk*, Rosa Saverino, Suzanne Wood, Colleen Zimmerman

REGRETS: Nhung Tran (Vice-Chair), Joshua Barker (Vice-Provost, Graduate Research & Education and Dean, School of Graduate Studies), Leah Cowen (Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives), David Dubins, Sharleen Ahmed, Pier Bryden, Yu Xuan Huang, Jeannie Kim, Marcus Law, Irene Morra, Laina Southgate, David Zingg

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Angelique Saweczko (University Registrar)

SECRETARIAT: Joanne Chou, Tracey Gameiro

Bill Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, UTSC
Christopher Cochrane, Chair, Department of Political Science, UTSC 
Andrew McDougall, Department of Political Science, UTSC 
Lachmi Singh, Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs
Jennifer Francisco, Coordinator, Academic Change, Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs
Annette Knott, Coordinator Academic Change, Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs

(*attended remotely)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. She extended a warm welcome to Dr. Lachmi Singh, the newly appointed Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    The Chair invited the Senior Assessor, Professor Susan McCahan to make her report to the Committee.

    Professor McCahan began her report by introducing Dr. Lachmi Singh to the role of Director, Academic Programs, Planning & Quality Assurance, in her Academic Programs portfolio. She noted that Dr. Singh came from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy where she held the role of Director, Education Programs & Administrative Services and Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Dr. Singh had extensive experience in quality assurance and was the administrative lead for both the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) and the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) in the Faculty of Pharmacy. She noted that Dr. Singh was a co-chair of the Faculty’s first Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group, and brought together key stakeholders that created a meaningful strategy that was captured in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy’s Academic Plan.

    At the invitation of the Chair, Angelique Saweczko, University Registrar began her report by updating the committee on the January 22nd Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announcement. The federal government capped the number of post-secondary education student visas at approximately 360,000 for the next two years, with each province being allocated a quota. This was a 35% reduction from the visas issued in 2023. The change also included the implementation of a provincial attestation letter (PAL) that was issued by the provinces to track provincial quotas. She noted that for Ontario Universities, the letters (PALs) would be issued through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC). She clarified that there were exemptions from the quota which included masters and PhD students, and a number of immigration categories for students that were already in Canada. Communication was shared to all admitted students regarding the change, including a FAQ ( on the websites of the future student and School of Graduate Studies (SGS). She emphasized the continued communication with divisions and units to share with their applicants and admitted students, as well as the University community.

    Ms Saweczko then moved on to provide an update on academic scheduling practices across the tri-campus. She highlighted the engagement of working groups from all academic units to review the scheduling challenges. She explained that many variables needed to be coordinated to determine allocations of space, course schedules and that various renovation projects added complexities to the process. A primary focus was the collaboration with the divisional registrars’ to identify common principles to support academic scheduling practices across academic divisions, and improve space utilization. She noted the ongoing consultation processes within academic units, the development of a student centric schedule that reduced conflicts, and improved access to required courses.

    She concluded her update by noting several policy updates that were coming forward to the Committee in future cycles. These policy updates included the Policy on changes to student personal information and the Transfer credit policy updates.

    In the discussion that followed, Ms Saweczko advised on the following:
  • Visas were valid for 12 months once activated and the Government issued visas for the duration of the study period.
  • Around scheduling the exam period around the winter break, the goal was to focus on a 12 day exam period through a timecode approach. If additional timecodes were needed, they would be added to reduce conflicts. They would only be added as needed.
  • A buffer was included in the scheduling in case of emergency, or should variations occur  around exam scheduling requests.
  • The exam schedule could not be released at the time of registration due to Common exams. Common exams are where multiple sections sought to have their exams scheduled at the same time). Final exam scheduling was based on the courses students were registered in.
  • Common exams were scheduled across multiple days and times, thus had to wait until the end of the course change period to review the registration data to run the exam schedule.
  • Consideration of models was explored for future planning for scheduling of common exams.
  • Acknowledged that a future goal was to try and broadly plan the final exams earlier.
  1. New Undergraduate Program Proposal: Major in Public Law, UTSC

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposal for a new undergraduate Major in Public Law,  leading to the Honours Bachelor of Arts degree which would be offered by the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTSC; Professor Christopher Cochrane, Chair, Department of Political Science, UTSC and Professor Andrew McDougall, Department of Political Science, UTSC were in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan reported that UTSC was building upon the success of a popular Minor in Public Law, and that the Major explored the way that public law was relevant to major themes in political science and sociology. Students explored theories of rights and justice, and the institutions and social movements that helped realize these ideals. She explained that this was not a pre-law or professional program, and that there would be limited enrolment with students applying after completing 4.0 credits.

    Students completed 8.0 credits and the Major incorporated an experiential learning component. She highlighted the various career prospects across sectors, and that graduates would be well placed to pursue graduate education or law school.

    Professor McCahan highlighted the feedback from external consultations outside UTSC in the proposal, which included UTM, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Arts & Science including Trinity College, and the Tri-Campus Deans group. She concluded by noting that the proposed start date was September 2024.

    Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean remarked on the enthusiasm and significant progression to develop this Major, the succession of great leaders, and ongoing support.

    A member commented that Trinity College appreciated the consultation and was supportive of the program, noting the anticipation of future enrollment.
  2. Annual Report: Student Financial Support, 2022-23

    The Committee received and reviewed for information the Annual Report: Student Financial Support, 2022-23.  

    Ms. Angelique Saweczko, University Registrar, reported that the Report was provided annually in accordance with the University’s Policy on Student Financial Support.

    She noted that the Report provided information on merit-based and need-based support, Ontario Student Assistant Program (“OSAP”) debt-load for students graduating from undergraduate direct-entry programs, and funding for graduate students in doctoral stream programs. With regards to graduate funding, there were two broad categories of financial support: student assistance and research-stream master’s and doctoral-student support. She noted that a new needs assessment tool called Need Navigator was implemented in 2022-23 which helped to ensure consistency in need assessments and enabled the verification of data via government student aid processes.

    Ms. Saweczko provided a summary of the University’s financial aid program, composition of support and its relationship with OSAP, and noted that changes in financial need levels as defined by OSAP eligibility and benefits level, deemed fewer students were "eligible." 

    The report on student financial support highlighted the following: 
  • Approximately $39.3M in University of Toronto Advanced Planning for Students (UTAPS) grants were allocated to more than 15,000 students.
  • More than 5,300 students were hired in Work Study positions.
  • $1.58M was awarded to 228 undergraduate and graduate Indigenous students through
  • both scholarships and need-based awards.

  • U of T students received $303.6M in OSAP loans and grants in 2022-23
  • OSAP for Micro-credentials was introduced in 2022-23, where $343,000 was provided to 623 U of T learners.

    In response to a member’s question if the dispersed funding for the need-based support versus the merit-based support was based on policy or demand and availability, Ms Saweczko responded that both the entrance awards and graduate awards were based on merit. Most need-based award were post admission.  Students who receive merit-based could also receive need-based awards, as they were not distinct student groups.
  1. Annual Report: Student Awards Established Amended and Withdrawn, July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023

    The Committee received and reviewed for information, the Annual Report: Student Awards Established, Amended and Withdrawn from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.  

    Ms. Saweczko reported that during 2022-2023, 245 new awards had been established, with a total endowment value of $17.4 million, and 188 awards were amended. A total of 84 awards with a value of $113, 957 in expendable awards had been withdrawn.  Overall, there was an increase in awards. The number of amended awards was due to the clean up of the award records in Award Explorer, a two-year project. The team analyzed the criteria for each award to prepare for the creation of an auto-matching functionality, which automatically identified students eligible for awards. She explained that the ongoing clean-up would improve the award records in Award Explorer and fewer amended awards.

    To reduce the need to amend awards, the University Awards team had conducted training sessions with the Division of University Advancement (DUA) and award staff across the university and created guideline documentation to help those involved in creating award terms.

    Members had no questions.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 6, the Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 221 – October 24, 2023 

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

  1. Date of the Next Meeting: April 10, 2024, 2:10 – 4:40 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in the Council Chamber.
  2. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.    

The meeting adjourned at 3:49 p.m.

February 28, 2024