Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - May 04, 2023

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall

Report Number 219 Of The Committee On Academic Policy And Programs

MAY 4, 2023

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 3:10 p.m. with the following present:

Ernest Lam (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), Areeb Ahmed, Catherine Amara, James Davis, Jennifer Dolman*, Angela Esterhammer, Jessica Eylon, Joseph Flessa, Robert Gibbs, Walid A. Houry*, Maranatha Shone Joos, Rosa Saverino, Suzanne Wood

Nhung Tran (Vice- Chair), Sharleen Ahmed, Brinda Batra,  Raisa Deber, Susan Froom, Jason Harlow, Tony Harris, Charles Jia, Zhino Maanavi, Jennifer Purtle, Justin Van Houten, Daniel Zimmerman

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

Joanne Chou, Secretary

In Attendance:
Douglas McDougall (Chair, Academic Board), Bill Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Katie Larson (Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs), Bill Ju (Acting Vice-Dean Undergraduate), Lisa Robinson (Vice-Dean, Strategy & Operations),  Daniella Mallinick (Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, OVPAP),  Jennifer Francisco (Academic Change, OVPAP), Emma del Junco (Academic Planning & Reviews, OVPAP), Annette Knott (Academic Change, OVPAP), Alexandra Varela (Academic Planning and Reviews, OVPAP)

(*attended remotely)

  1. Chair’s Welcome

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the final meeting of the governance year.

    Recognition of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs Chair

    Professor Doug McDougall, Chair, Academic Board, thanked Professor Ernest Lam for his service to the Committee as its Chair from 2017-2023. He stated that Professor Lam had been an excellent Chair, managing meetings in an efficient and respectful manner, encouraging members to ask questions and share their views at meetings, and skilled facilitation of meetings over the 2-year period of virtual meetings due to COVID-19. He noted that during his time as Chair, the Committee played a critical role in the reviews of all academic programs and units at the University. Professor McDougall added that Professor Lam had also provided excellent advice to the senior assessor and to all the other assessors.

    As a token of appreciation and consistent with tradition, Professor McDougall presented a clock to Professor Lam in recognition of exemplary service and leadership.  Members of the Committee applauded Professor Lam’s recognition.

    Professor Susan McCahan expressed sincere appreciation for Professor Lam’s leadership on the Committee over the years, and acknowledged his passion for program quality, deft guidance to reading groups, and his nuanced sense of the very important work the committee members accomplished every year.  She commended his commitment and thanked Professor Lam for his wisdom, service, dedication, and good humour, and wished him well.

  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 noting that over the past year, divisions made successful transitions from online learning to in-person programs. She highlighted the welcome change given the challenges posed by the pandemic.

    Professor McCahan warmly thanked all the committee members for their thorough consideration of the reviews, the academic change proposals and other important academic matters that came before the Committee for consideration. She acknowledged the significant contributions the members dedicated to the Committee. She thanked the Committee leadership, Secretariat and to The Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs (VPAP) team for all their terrific work to support the Committee.

    The Chair invited Professor Leah Cowen, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives to offer her report.

    Professor Cowen began her report with the recent announcement that the University of Toronto had been awarded a $200-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) for the Acceleration Consortium, a world-leading centre for accelerated materials discovery and innovation. She stated that this was the largest federal research grant ever awarded to a Canadian university and was part of a phenomenal year of research funding successes that supported a diverse array of projects.  Professor Cowen highlighted several funding successes, including: the $2 million in funding from the Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) to accelerate Canada’s vaccine and therapeutics production; $35 million in research funding from the Biosciences Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) to modernize the Toronto High Containment Facility, which has now received an additional $9.9 million from the Ontario Research Fund (ORF-BRIF); $24 million from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) – Transformation and $2.25 million from the Exploration Stream.  She remarked that the announcements for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) would be published soon.

    Professor Cowen mentioned that the 2022 Research & Innovation Annual Report was widely available and had been presented at the Academic Board. The report featured many research and innovation initiatives across the tri-campuses and underscored key institutional research and innovation achievements.

    Professor Cowen noted that U of T the Research Oversight and Compliance Office had received approval by Health Canada for campus-specific Cannabis Research Licences. These campus-specific licences were very important and helpful to many scholars in the research community that work in this domain.  

    Professor Cowen commented that they had begun extensive consultations towards drafting an Institutional Strategic Research Plan. She explained that the plan articulated the University’s commitment to research excellence and highlighted the scope of scholarship at U of T. She noted in addition to the planned 32 consultations, she is leading with Divisions and other stakeholders, that a short online survey would be distributed very broadly across the university to solicit feedback from community members later this month. She concluded that a draft report would be shared in the fall for feedback.

    Professor Cowen highlighted several honors and awards, noting that this past year, U of T faculty received 65 national awards and 29 international awards, including seven prestigious prizes, that included the Wolf Prize, the Dan David prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and four Sloan Fellowships. In addition, a UTSC faculty member had been awarded one of five Governor General's Innovation Awards.

    Professor Cowen reflected that the Government did not include additional investments for university research in the recent budget, marking the second consecutive year that the government froze research funding, deeply impacting the research community due to high inflation and other economic challenges. As such, they were working closely with colleagues in the Government Relations Office and leadership at partner hospitals to mobilize for increased advocacy to convince the government of the urgent need for investment in research. She concluded by highlighting various advocacy efforts and the need to increase funding levels for the Research Councils by 10 percent per year for five years, which was in line with the recommendations of the Report of the Advisory Panel on the federal Research Support System (the Bouchard Report) and the U15’s recommendations. 

    Members had no questions.

    The Chair thanked Professors McCahan and Cowen for their reports.
  3. New Undergraduate Program Proposal: Specialist (Joint) in Music Industry and Technology, University of Toronto Scarborough (for approval)

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposal for a new undergraduate specialist program in Music Industry and Technology, jointly offered by the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Centennial College. Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTSC; Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs UTSC were in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan reported that UTSC currently offered three joint programs with Centennial in the areas of Journalism; New Media Studies; and Paramedicine. She noted that the proposed program combined UTSC’s academic strengths in critical analysis of music and culture; and Centennial’s strengths in offering practical, career-oriented courses in music industry and music technology. The Specialist would be 15.5 credits, of which 7.5 credits would be taught at UTSC and 8.0 credits would be taught at Centennial. Students would complete an internship through Centennial in year three and a capstone course at UTSC in year four. Graduates of the proposed program would be able to work in three industries: sound recording; performing arts companies; and as independent artists, writers and performers. Upon completion, students would receive a U of T Honours Bachelor of Arts and a Centennial Certificate with a focus in either Audio Engineering or Music Business. It was also reported that the proposal had undergone extensive consultation with the proposed start date of September 2024.

    Professor Gough added that one of Centennial campuses was co-located on UTSC campus, and highlighted several partnership initiatives between UTSC and Centennial, such as pathway programs, indigenous recruitment and the Earth District, a consortium focused on sustainability research and green technologies. He underscored the strong relationship with Centennial and was pleased to further expand the relationship with the new joint program proposal.

    Professor Larson reported that the music and culture program at UTSC had undergone a major transformation over the past 5 years. She explained that the program aimed to serve the diverse needs of students and that the program reflected the impactful changes that the music and culture program had undergone. The proposed specialist also leveraged the expertise of new music and culture faculty at UTSC, whose backgrounds and interests intersect with music, Business and Technology. She further added that the external review of the program found the program to be effective and inspiring, exemplifying quality and diversity through the variety of musical interests and creative activity of UTSC and Centennial faculty. She concluded by noting that the UTSC campus was anticipating a new building for Literatures, Arts, Media and Performance, also known as LAMP, which would offer additional space resources to support academic programs, arts and culture activities, and community collaborations.

On motion duly made, seconded and carried


THAT the proposed degree program, Specialist in Music Industry and Technology, Joint with Centennial College, as described in the proposal from the University of Toronto Scarborough dated April 18, 2023 be approved effective September 1, 2024.

  1. Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit: Approved List of Programs, 2023-24 (for approval)

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposed Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit: Approved List of Programs, 2023-24.

    Professor McCahan reported that the provincial government provided a tax credit to a maximum of $3,000 per placement to private employers who provided paid placements, which were part of students’ academic program requirements. The approved list of programs reflected programs that met the Ontario Co-operative Tax Credit criteria and was not an exhaustive list of total placements available to students at the University.

    She highlighted that 7 programs were removed from the eligibility list and 29 new programs had been added. The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering had removed 1 graduate program from eligibility, and The Faculty of Arts & Science had removed 6 undergraduate programs that no longer offered the Professional Experience Year (PEY) co-op, but 29 more undergraduate programs were added to the eligibility list through an expansion of the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP).

    In response to a member’s question about other modes of approval beyond the divisional level or the Committee, Professor McCahan explained that the addition of a co-op program to a program of study was considered a major modification to the curriculum and was approved  at Faculty Council. She noted that the list approved by the Committee was provided to the Government to fulfil a legislative requirement.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried


THAT the 2023-2024 List of University of Toronto Programs Eligible for the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit, dated May 4, 2022, be approved.

  1. Annual Report: Certificates (For-Credit and Not-for-Credit), 2022-23 (for information)

    The Committee received and reviewed the Annual Report: Certificates (For-Credit and Not-for-Credit), 2022-23, for information.

    Professor McCahan reminded the Committee that the Policy on Certificates (For-Credit and Not-For-Credit) provided Deans and their divisions academic authority and oversight over certificate programs.

    Professor McCahan reported that the For-Credit Certificate Report included two types of certificates: stand-alone certificates (Category 1); and certificates taken in conjunction with undergraduate degree programs (Category 2). There was a total of 66 for-credit certificates: 12 stand-alone certificates and 56 certificates taken in conjunction with undergraduate programs.

    The Not-For-Credit certificates Report included 246 items with 36 certificates closed and 33 new certificates that had been added this year, reflecting growth in interest in life-long learning.

    She concluded her report highlighting a recent addition on OSAP Eligible Micro-credentials as an addendum to the Not-For-Credit Report that listed all offerings meeting the Ministry’s specific criteria for OSAP eligibility.

    There were no questions from members.
  2. Annual Report: Graduate Collaborative Specialization Reviews, 2022-23 (for information)

    The Committee received and reviewed the Annual Report: Graduate Collaborative Specialization Reviews, 2022-23, for information.

    Professor McCahan reported that five external reviews of collaborative specializations were conducted in 2022-23; four commissioned by the Faculty of Arts and Science, and one by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, all led by the Faculty Dean following the review processes set out in the Guidelines.

    She commented that the reviews focused on evaluating the quality and additional value provided in the multidisciplinary environment of a collaborative specialization and highlighted that the Report indicated a continued interest in and commitment for all five collaborative specializations.  She concluded by noting that five memorandums of agreements were recommended for renewal, including the collaborative specialization in Workplace Learning and Social Change.  

    There were no questions from members.
  3. Annual Report: Major Modifications, 2022-23 (for information)

    The Committee received and reviewed the Annual Report: Major Modifications, 2022-23, for information.

    Professor McCahan commented that the Report included 33 major modifications and highlighted changes to program mode of delivery, the restructuring of academic programs related to a UTQAP review, and new options for students in existing programs. She noted that as part of this Report, included was a list of minor modifications. The list included only those minor changes that had affected the structure of programs, such as the creation of new undergraduate focuses, graduate emphases, the renaming of program offerings. No changes to transcript notations to report.

    In response to a member’s question about the report, major modifications and related processes, Professor McCahan noted that the Committee approved new programs and the report presented an opportunity for members to understand the changes and evolution of those changes in those programs that had been approved.

    In response to a member’s question about evaluating the impact of the pandemic on modes of delivery changes, Professor McCahan responded that divisions were involved in the course and program mode of delivery and ongoing discussions were taking place at the divisional level. She noted the significant growth of online course offerings due to the pandemic, and that the VPAP office was actively reviewing the data to understand the impact and outcomes that had emerged from the pandemic and would continue to monitor the trends.
  4. Report on the Review of Clinical Departments, 2022-23 (for information)

    The Committee received and reviewed the Report on the Review of Clinical Departments 2022-23, for information. Dr. Lisa Robinson, Vice Dean Strategy & Operations, from the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Paediatrics was in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan noted that this report was commissioned by the Dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.  It highlighted the unique contribution clinical departments make to the Faculty’s education programs. The intent of the reviews was to help assess and improve quality. The report included the 8 reviews conducted over three years:
    • 2020-21: reviews of the Department of Family and Community Medicine; and the Department of Surgery
    • 2021-22: reviews of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine; the Department of Medical Imaging; the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences; the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery; and the Department of Radiation Oncology
    •  2022-23: reviews of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecolog

      All reviews were extremely positive, assessing the departments as being among the top in the world.  The report was received for information and there were no questions from members.

      Dr. Lisa Robinson added the reviews were conducted similar to UTQAP reviews, and that these reviews were being reported at present as the pandemic caused delays in the processes.

      There were no questions from members.
  5. Program Closure: Close the Major in Finnish Studies, Faculty of Arts and Science (for approval)

    The Committee received and reviewed the proposed program closure: Close the Major in Finnish Studies, within the Faculty of Arts and Science. Professor Bill Ju, Acting Vice-Dean Undergraduate, Faculty of Arts and Science was in attendance to answer questions.

    Professor McCahan reported that closing programs was a normal part of the academic process and that 66 programs and structures had been closed to date. There had been extensive consultation to close this program in advance of its consideration by the Committee.

    She noted that student interest for the program had declined and there were limited faculty resources, and that the closure was part of the restructuring of the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. It had one in-progress student who would be supported to complete their program. Admission to the Major would be administratively suspended as of September 21, 2023, allowing for interested students one final opportunity to select the existing Major in Finnish Studies this Spring. The Department would communicate with students who had selected the Finnish Studies program that they may either continue in the Finnish Studies Major or choose to switch into the new programs as of March 1, 2024. The closure date of August 31, 2027 would allow students selecting the program in spring 2023 to complete it without switching to the restructured Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures Programs.

    Professor Bill Ju added that that Faculty took program closures very seriously and worked with the academic unit to add wayfinding information in the Finnish and Slavic languages and literature sections to inform students of the closure of the Finnish studies program. He clarified that students presently enrolled into major or minor would be able to complete the program requirements as described in the respective program record published in the current 2022-23 Arts and Science academic calendar. For all students interested in pursuing a program of study in the Finnish language, literature and culture program would be encouraged to enroll into one of the new programs in the Slavic and East European languages and cultures. Students would also be informed about the closure of the program and the modified suite of programs through multiple channels of communication.

    In response to a member’s question if students that were not taking a full course load were considered, Professor Ju responded that there was very careful consultation, and the student was notified of closure. He explained that advising was done at both the departmental and Faculty Registrar, and that part-time students were part of the careful consultation process when a program was being considered for closure.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried


THAT the proposed closure of the Major in Finnish Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science, dated March 20, 2023, to which admissions will be administratively suspended on September 21, 2023, be approved with an anticipated program closure date of August 31, 2027.


On motion duly made, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and Items 5, 6 and 7 approved.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 218, April 13, 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.

  3. Date of Next MeetingSeptember 12, 2023, at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on September 12 2023.

  1. Other Business

    Being the final meeting of the governance year for the Committee, the Chair thanked members for their careful consideration of the many items that was brought to the Committee throughout the year. He also thanked the Assessors, the VPAP team (Daniella Mallinick; Emma del Junco; Jennifer Francisco; Annette Knott; David Lock; Erin Meyers; and Alexandra Varela) for their dedication and hard work, and Ms. Joanne Chou and the University Secretariat for their support of the Committee.

    A member inquired as to when the membership for the Committee in the next governance year would be confirmed, the Chair confirmed that the membership for the Committee needed to be approved by the Academic Board.

    Several members provided their feedback regarding the reading group reviews, materials and process. Professor McCahan provided additional details on VPAP’s role in governance and welcomed feedback from Committee.

The meeting adjourned at 4:17 p.m.

May 16, 2023