Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - May 05, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting



May 5, 2021

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. with the following present:

Ernest Lam (Chair), Aarthi Ashok (Vice- Chair), Mark Schmuckler, (Acting Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education), James Davis, Raisa Deber, Stark Draper, David Dubins, Angela Esterhammer, Nicholas Everett, A’aishah Abdul Hameed, Emily Hawes, Walid Houry, Grase Kim, Jeannie Kim, Daiana Kostova, Kevin Li, Maureen MacDonald, Alexandra MacKay, Rosa Saverino, Maureen Simpson

Non-Voting Assessors:
Gretchen Kerr (Vice-Dean, School of Graduate Studies), Angelique Sawecko (University Registrar)

Cindy Ferencz-Hammond

Weijia Chen, Cathy Feng, Sol Goldberg, Amin Kamaleddin, Allan Kaplan, Bonnie McElhinny

In Attendance
Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, UTM), Rhonda McEwen (Director, Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology, UTM), Daniella Mallinick, (Director, Academic Programs, Planning & Quality Assurance)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the final meeting of the Committee for the academic year.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor Mark Schmuckler offered an update on academic continuity.  He reported that there had been two Academic disruptions declared under the University’s Policy on Academic Continuity since his last report.  

    Professor Schmuckler further reported that the Ministry of Colleges and Universities had approved the new Master of Environment and Sustainability, offered by the School of the Environment in the Faculty of Arts & Science, starting in September 2022. 

    Lastly, Professor Schmuckler reported that the Quality Council approved the new Major in Quantitative Biology offered by the Faculty of Arts & Science, which had been approved by this Committee in January 2021. 
  3. New Program: Major in Technology, Coding and Society, UTM

    The Chair invited Professor Schmuckler to introduce the item.  Professor Schmuckler noted that the Major in Technology, Coding and Society would be offered by the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto Mississauga. The proposed Major would offer 8.0 credits and lead to an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with a major focus on the impact of technologies, including hardware, platforms and associated software; on people; and on society. Students in the program would learn essential computer coding skills, as well as theories on the use of digital platforms from humanistic and social science perspectives. They would learn to analyze the data that digital platforms produce and apply these concepts in practical labs.

    Professor Schmuckler noted that consultation on the proposal occurred with the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Faculty of Information and University of Toronto Scarborough.   

    In response to a member’s question, in the context of the pandemic, about online delivery of program given the planned major in-person components, Professor McEwen, Director, Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology, (ICCIT), UTM explained that existing courses had been successfully tested and piloted in an online format during the pandemic, making extensive use of technology, however, she looked forward to in person delivery of the program. 

    With respect to a member’s comment about the significant  computer science content in the program and whether computer science instructors would teach coding in the program, Professor McEwen responded that the program would be relying on existing ICCIT faculty in course delivery and noted that the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences had been very supportive in the development of the proposal.  

    In response to a member’s question about any potential overlap between the proposed program and those offered by the Department of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, it was explained that while there was some overlap in the coding components of the program, the program was unique in its application within humanistic and social science questions, which were the drivers of the courses, while computer science was the mechanism through which answers would be delivered.  Professor McEwen added that the program provided a distinct, alternative path for students who were interested in coding, in the context of very high demand for Specialist in Computer Science programs.  The new program could be part of a double major pairing. In response to a member’s concern about capacity in case students wanted to combine a Minor in Computer Sciences with the proposed Major, Professor McEwen explained that according to recent data gathered by her department, students were more interested in combining an existing CCIT Major with the new proposed Major.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,

    It was Resolved

    THAT the proposed new in Major in Technology, Coding and Society, which will confer the existing HBA degree, as described in the proposal from the University of Toronto Mississauga, dated April 14, 2021, be approved, effective September 1, 2021.
  4. Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit: Approved List of Programs, 2021-22

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Mark Schmuckler explained 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.  Referring to the report, he noted that this year there were 25 new additions to the 2021-22 list, as followed: 
  • Three additions at the graduate level from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.
  • 20 additions at the undergraduate level from the Faculty of Arts & Science that reflects the recently created Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP). This new offering supports the strategic priority of expanding experiential learning opportunities available to undergraduate students. 
  • One addition at the graduate level from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (Master of Social Work practicums).
  • One addition at the undergraduate level from University of Toronto Scarborough due to the creation of the Environmental Chemistry Major. The new Major is included in the major mod report.  

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,

    It was Resolved

    THAT the 2021-2022 List of University of Toronto Programs Eligible for the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit, dated April 27, 2021, be approved.
  1. Annual Report: Major Modifications, 2020-21

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Schmuckler provided the 2020-21 annual report on Major Modifications. He reported that the report contained 30 major modifications, which formed the basis of the University’s annual report to the Ontario Quality Council.   He noted that among the changes, there were examples of proposals related to increasing and improving student experiential learning and provided the related examples in various faculties. He reported that other changes expanded students’ academic options and highlighted examples for the Committee, including the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education’s new field called “Online Teaching and Learning” in its Master of Education in Curriculum and Pedagogy.   Professor Schmuckler also pointed to other trends in the annual report, including the creation of new pathways for students in existing programs, new combined degree programs and new dual degree programs between U of T and international peer universities.

    Professor Schmuckler concluded his report by referring members to the minor modification report that had also been included in the documentation and which included only those minor changes that affected the structure of programs.  

    The Chair thanked Professor Schmuckler for his report and noted that 30 major modifications was an impressive body of work given the pandemic, compared to the usual average of 34 or so per year. 
  2. Annual Report: Certificates (For-Credit and Not-for-Credit), 2020-21

    Professor Schmuckler provided the annual report, which arose out of the Policy on Certificates (For-Credit and Not-For-Credit).   For the period, there had been a total of 57 for-credit certificates, with 11 stand-alone (category 1) and 46 which were in conjunction with undergraduate programs (category 2).    He summarized the changes in the report.  

    Continuing with reference to the Not-For-Credit Report, Professor Schmuckler reported that it had contained 206 items, which he then summarized.   He noted that a subset of not-for-credit certificates in the report would be submitted to the Ministry for approval as OSAP eligible microcredentials.
  3. Annual Report on Graduate Collaborative Specialization Reviews, 2020-21

    Referring to the table, which summarized review outcomes, Professor Schmuckler explained that Collaborative Specialization reviews were desk audits because all participating home degree programs were reviewed as part of the Decanal and Provostial UTQAP cyclical review processes.  He noted that these reviews were focused on evaluating the quality and additional value provided in the multidisciplinary environment of a Collaborative Specialization.  

    The report indicated that there was continuing interest and commitment to the Collaborative Specialization in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and the Memorandum of Agreement was recommended for renewal.   
  4. Revisions to the Committee on Academic Policy & Programs Terms of Reference

    The Chair invited Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, to present the item.  Ms Ferencz Hammond explained that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference resulted from a recent review undertaken by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs, and the Office of the Governing Council. She noted that proposed changes were considered minor and highlighted some examples for the Committee, as follows:
  • Clarifying language under section 3, Function to note that all diplomas were graduate.
  • In section 4.4, reference to new collaborative graduate programs and the closure of such offerings would be removed since they were established through the Major Modification process. 
  • Again, in section 4.4, it was made clear that certificates were all approved and closed at the Divisional level, according to Policy on Certificates (For-Credit and Non-Credit).
  • Finally, and related to the previous change, and in keeping with current practice, in Section 4.9, under Monitorial Responsibilities, it was made specific that the Committee received for information, annual reports such as the For-credit and not-for-credit certificates and for approval, the Annual Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit: Approved List of Programs.
  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 207 – April 12, 2021

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

    There was one item of business arising from the report of the previous meeting.  The Chair noted that at the Committee’s last meeting, there had been a question posed by a member regarding the reporting dates for the awards report. Dwayne Benjamin, Vice Provost, Strategic Enrolment Management has provided the answer that historically, the New, Amended and Withdrawn Awards Report was based on the July 1-June 30 reporting timeframe to coincide with internal Division of University Advancement (DUA) processes. DUA has confirmed that they no longer use this report. Therefore, going forward, the New, Amended and Withdrawn Awards Report will be based on the University of Toronto's fiscal year, which was May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
  3. Date of the Next Meeting – September 23, 2021 at 11:10 a.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be September 23, 2021 at 11:10 a.m.
  4. Other Business

    ​​​​​​​The Chair expressed his thanks to the Vice-Chair, Aarthi Ashok for her service and Professor Mark Schmuckler, Acting Vice-Provost Academic Programs, and his team, for their support of the Committee.  The Chair also acknowledged Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning & Quality Assurance, Jennifer Francisco, Coordinator, Academic Change, Alexandra Varela, Assistant Coordinator, Academic Change, David Lock, Coordinator, Academic Planning & Reviews and Emma del Junco, Assistant Coordinator, Academic Planning & Reviews, who had been invaluable to the work of the Committee.  Professor Schmuckler added his thanks to the Chair’s remarks about the team supporting the Committee’s work.  

The meeting adjourned at 3:52 p.m.

May 12, 2021