Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - January 11, 2022

Via Virtual Meeting room


January 11, 2022

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

Ernest Lam (Chair), Aarthi Ashok (Vice-Chair), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education), Joshua Barker (Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education), Christian Caron, James Davis, Raisa Deber, Ana Djapa, Stark Draper, Angela Esterhammer, Adam Fox, Robert Gibbs, Walid Houry, Nadine Janes, Gretchen Kerr, Jeannie Kim, Zhino Maanavi, Fabian Parsch, Rosa Saverino, Maureen Simpson, Markus Stock, Eric Stubbs, David Tieu

Catherine Amara, Moses Cook, Maryanna Diab, Karen Ng

Non-Voting Assessors:
Angelique Saweczko (University Registrar)
Leah Cohen (Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives)

Timothy Harlick, Secretary

In Attendance
Justin Nodwell, Vice-Dean, Research & Health Science Education, Temerty Faculty of Medicine
Kristin Musselman, Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute
Gillian Hamilton, Acting Vice-Dean, Academic Planning, Faculty of Arts & Science
Rafael Gomez, Director, Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources
Alicia Eads, Associate Director, Undergraduate, Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources
Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning & Quality Assurance
Jennifer Francisco, Coordinator, Academic Change

  1. Chair’s Welcome

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.  He welcomed and introduced Professor Leah Cowen as a newly appointed presidential assessor to the Committee and congratulated her on her recent appointment as Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor McCahan offered an update on academic continuity as it related to the COVID-19 pandemic which highlighted the following:
  • To mitigate the spread of COVID-19’s Omicron variant, as of December 16, 2021, in-person exams did not proceed. Online tests and exams proceeded as planned.
  • At the request of the Deans of the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, the Faculty of Music, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, and the University of Toronto Mississauga, a number of academic disruptions had been declared under the Policy on Academic Continuity.
  • In the case of disruptions requested in December 2021, the declarations mainly allowed instructors to cancel final exams and reweight assessments to provide a term mark. 
  • No disruptions were requested in the remaining divisions, either because in-person exams had been moved online, or because there had been limited in-person activity in Fall 2021.

    In addition to academic disruptions, Professor McCahan informed the Committee that:
  • As of December 15, 2021, all University sanctioned activities outside of Canada had been cancelled for students, until further notice, given that Global Affairs Canada had changed the world-wide advisory to avoid non-essential travel. 
  • In-person learning for all courses offered by the University had been delayed until Monday, January 31, 2022, except for a limited number of instructional activities that had been deemed essential to be in-person.

    Professor Cowen offered an update on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on research operations which highlighted the following:
  • That until January 31, 2022, all academic research that could be conducted remotely was required to be conducted remotely. For academic research conducted on campus, laboratories were required to maintain two-meter physical distancing requirements and could not exceed 65% of maximum capacity.
  • Academic research laboratories on campuses were advised to prepare for staffing disruptions given the transmissibility of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and have contingency plans in place in the event that a disruption occurred. 
  • Given the increased community transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, all research involving human participants approved by the University’s Research Ethics Board, had been paused for face-to-face engagement until at least January 31, 2022. Exceptions had been granted on a case-by-case basis for only extraordinary circumstances and research that had been permitted to continue were subject to emergency stop plans.
  • Researchers who were able to conduct off campus or onsite field research continued to be reminded to review the University’s guidance on research and travel during the pandemic and were expected to follow all policies of any institution where research was conducted.


    In response to members’ questions, Professor McCahan discussed with the Committee that:
  • The University continued to monitor and assess trends in order to make a decision regarding the timelines for returning to in person learning 
  • It was understood that instructors and students were eager for an update on whether the remote learning period would be extended beyond January 31. The University intended to communicate a decision as soon as possible, but the desire to communicate swiftly was balanced with the need to gather sufficient information.
  • The University had communicated the January 31 timeline prior to the holiday closure so that students and instructors could plan their returns to campus to resume in person activities without further delay.

    The Chair thanked Professors McCahan and Cowen for their reports.
  1. Program Closure: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) & Master of Science (MSc) in Speech-Language Pathology

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposal for the closure of the PhD and MSc in Speech-Language Pathology (“SLP”), Temerty Faculty of Medicine. Professor Justin Nodwell, Vice Dean, Research & Health Science Education from the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Professor Kristin Musselman from the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute were in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan introduced the material and highlighted that the proposed closure reflected a component of a broader curriculum review and restructuring of the programs offered by the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (“RSI”). It was noted that the academic content of the MSc and PhD Speech-Language Pathology programs would continue to be offered within a new field titled Speech-language Pathology in the existing MSc and PhD programs in Rehabilitation Sciences. The new field was approved through a separate major modification proposal and would be effective September 1, 2022.


    In response to a member’s question regarding any potential important changes to course offerings resulting from the program closure, Professor Musselman advised the Committee that the academic content and course offerings of the MSc and PhD SLP programs would remain available to future students through the existing RSI programs. 

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT the proposed closure of the MSc and PhD in Speech-Language Pathology, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, dated August 12, 2021, to which admissions were administratively suspended in January 2021, be approved with an anticipated program closure date of August 31, 2027. 
  2. New Program: Major in Work and Organizations (HBA), Faculty of Arts and Science

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposal for a new undergraduate program: Major in Work and Organizations in an existing undergraduate degree (Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA)) within the Faculty of Arts and Science. Professor Gillian Hamilton, Acting Vice-Dean, Academic Planning, Professor Rafael Gomez, Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources; and Professor Alicia Eads, Associate Director, Undergraduate, of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources were in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan introduced the item and highlighted that the proposed new program would take an interdisciplinary approach to equipping students with an understanding of the changing nature of work and organizations. It would also provide the skills necessary to undertake the development and implementation of solutions to contemporary societal challenges through coordination of economic and social action in organizations and communities. 

    There were no questions from members.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT the proposed Major in Work and Organizations, which will confer the existing HBA degree, as described in the proposal from the Faculty of Arts & Science dated November 8, 2021, be approved effective September 1, 2022.
  3. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 210, October 26, 2021

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  5. Date of Next Meeting – February 17, 2022, at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Thursday, February 17, 2022. 
  6. Other Business

    There were no items of other business. 

The meeting adjourned at 3:46 p.m.


January 12, 2022