Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - October 25, 2022

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall



October 25, 2022

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 3:10 p.m. with the following present:

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), Catherine Amara, James Davis, Raisa Deber, Jennifer Dolman, Angela Esterhammer, Jessica Eylon*, Susan Froom*, Robert Gibbs*, Tony Harris, Charles Q. Jia*, Maranatha Shone Joos, Suzanne Wood, Daniel Zimmerman

Regrets: Nhung Tran (Vice- Chair), Areeb Ahmed, Brinda Batra, Justin Van Houten, Joseph Flessa, Jason Harlow, Walid A. Houry, Zhino Maanavi, Jennifer Purtle, Rosa Saverino

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

Secretariat: Joanne Chou, Secretary

 In Attendance:
Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, OVPAP 
Jennifer Francisco, Coordinator, Academic Change, OVPAP 
Emma del Junco, Acting Coordinator, Academic Planning & Reviews, OVPAP 
David Lock, Coordinator, Academic Planning & Reviews,
Annette Knott, Coordinator, Academic Change, OVPAP
Alexandra Varela, Acting Assistant Coordinator, Academic Planning and Reviews, OVPAP
(*attended remotely)

  1. Chair’s Welcome
    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors
    Professor McCahan offered an update on academic continuity as it related to the Winter 2023 term which highlighted the following:
    • As divisions prepared for Winter 2023, there would be an ongoing focus on health and safety, taking into account evolving public health restrictions and recommendations.
    • The University was actively monitoring the status of student absences in academic programs and working with Divisions and Vice-Deans to scale up supports to manage the fluctuations of potential absences during the winter term.

In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:

  • As part of the University’s commitment to health and safety, students living in residence during the 2022-23 academic year were required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Facilities & Services and Environmental Health & Safety had implemented ventilation measures across all three U of T campuses.
  • The University had supported the province’s vaccination efforts by supplying space and volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine clinics on its three campuses, in partnership with local hospitals.
  • In relation to COVID-19, the University provided continuous up-to-date information for the University community. This included numerous resources such as the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) website, Newsletters, and the Utogether website that was created to connect to the community resources available to students, faculty members, staff, and librarians.
  • Flu shots would be offered at the Discovery Pharmacy for the 2022-2023 flu season.

Professor Leah Cowen highlighted the following:

  • On October 12, the Government of Ontario launched Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), a new agency that provided intellectual property supports and services to help researchers and business maximize their Intellectual Property and innovate and grow.
  • The University of Toronto offered an Intellectual Property Education Program, an accessible free, online training program designed to equip students, faculty and staff with a broad foundation in intellectual property.
  • The University recruited a new Director of Research Security to advise, guide and create strategies and applications to mitigate research security challenges, and provide supports for faculty, researchers, and students.
  • Major research funding competitions had been active, particularly through the summer where the University led and submitted several major institutional proposals that included the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC), the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), the Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF).
  • The total eligible research funding based on the research funding competitions was estimated at over $500M.

There were no questions from the Committee. 

The Chair thanked Professors McCahan and Cowen for their reports.

  1. Revisions to the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP)

    Professor McCahan and Dr. Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, provided an overview of the revisions to the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) and their origins, with a focus on the role of the Committee. They reported that additional revisions to the UTQAP were needed to reflect the Ontario Quality Assurance Framework’s new province-wide requirements, which included the need for more specific provisions for monitoring new programs, and more specific documentation of responses to review recommendations to support ongoing quality improvement within the cyclical program review process.  The Quality Council had introduced elements based on the experience of pandemic program delivery and cyclical program review processes, particularly around the area of site visits.

    Professor McCahan highlighted that the University had updated UTQAP to reflect the University’s mission and commitments, in addition to the mandated Quality Assurance Framework changes. The evaluation criteria now required substantial consideration of equity, diversity, and inclusion. In response to province-wide requirements, the UTQAP now included references to microcredentials in the section on Minor Modifications, as well as in a new section on Not-For-Credit Programming. Professor McCahan and Dr. Mallinick concluded the presentation by providing additional details on the processes, and on the responsibilities of the Committee. The changes would now be submitted for ratification by the Quality Council. The Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs was already working with divisions to ensure that materials submitted to the Quality Council would reflect the new Ontario-wide requirements.

In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:

  • External reviewer site visits had been conducted virtually during the pandemic and had since transitioned to more in-person site visits with the resumption of travel and wide-scale return to University campuses.
  • The University secured expert advice of external leaders in the field to conduct UTQAP reviews.
  • The Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs (VPAP) offered several resources for cyclical program reviews and other UTQAP processes, which included ongoing communication with divisional academic administrators and staff, annual workshops, templates and customized materials.
  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 215, September 20, 2022
    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 MeetingJanuary 10, 2023, at 3:10 p.m.
    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on January 10, 2023.
  4. Other Business
    There were no items of other business.


             The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

October 25, 2022