Report: Committee on Academic Policy and Programs - September 23, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting Room



September 23, 2021

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. with the following present:

Ernest Lam (Chair) Aarthi Ashok (Vice- Chair) Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education), Joshua Barker (Dean of Graduate Studies), Catherine Amara, Christian Caron, Moses Cook, James Davis, Raisa Deber, Maryanna Diab, Ana Djapa, Stark Draper, Angela Esterhammer, Adam Fox, Robert Gibbs, Walid Houry, Nadine Janes, Jeannie Kim, Zhino Maanavi, Fabian Parsch, Rosa Saverino
Maureen Simpson, David Tieu

Edward T. Sargent (Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives), Eric Stubbs, Gretchen Kerr, Karen Ng, Markus Stock

Non-Voting Assessors:
Angelique Saweczko, University Registrar

Timothy Harlick, Secretary
Anwar Kazimi, Deputy-Secretary of the Governing Council

In Attendance:
Daniella Mallinick, Director, Academic Programs, Planning and Quality Assurance, OVPAP

  1. Chair’s Welcome

    The Chair introduced himself and welcomed new and returning members to the meeting. He then introduced the Vice-Chair, Professor Aarthi Ashok and Professor Susan McCahan Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education, the Senior Assessor for the Committee. The Chair also introduced the other assessors to the Committee: Ms. Angelique Saweczko, University Registrar; Professor Joshua Barker, Dean of Graduate Studies; and, Professor Ted Sargent, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives.

    The Chair referred members to the two orientation videos which had been provided in advance of the meeting. One of the videos described the unicameral structure of the University, while the other was designed to provide an overview of where the Committee is positioned within governance at the University, as well as key elements of its Terms of Reference and areas of responsibilities. He encouraged members who had not yet had the chance to view the video to do so.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor McCahan offered an update of the University’s academic continuity planning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of September 23, 2021, which highlighted the following:
    • With the Fall 2021 semester underway, Professor McCahan acknowledged the resiliency of instructors and students throughout this pandemic and expressed gratitude to all divisions as they continued their commitment to providing an outstanding post-secondary experience within the limitations imposed by public health orders.
    • The Committee was provided an overview of the authority and usage of the Policy on Academic Continuity, noting that in a relatively small number of programs, often in those with placements in health science settings, academic disruptions were declared.
    • Since the onset of the pandemic, of the more than 900 programs offered by the University, the Provost had approved disruptions in 73 programs and 63 courses. The majority of these approved disruptions occurred in the spring and summer of 2020, and as of September 2021, disruptions continued in 8 programs.
    • The University continued to closely monitor the evolving advice of government and public health officials and continued to work with divisions to support best practices in multiple delivery formats and course and program resiliency.
    • In June 2021, the Quality Council approved a new major at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus in technology, coding and society, which was set to launch this month.

      Ms Saweczko offered an update of the University’s summer year over year enrolment numbers, which highlighted the following:
    • When the 2021 summer enrolment numbers were compared to the previous year, there was a 5% decline in the number of students taking courses. However, in comparison with the 2019 numbers, there was still a 17% increase. Since the pandemic started, there has been significantly more student activity in the summer term than the University has traditionally seen.

      Professor Barker offered an update of the University’s graduate enrolment numbers, which highlighted the following:
    • Professor Barker thanked the University community for all the work that has been done allowing graduate students to continue to make progress in their programs and specifically thanked Professor McCahan and the work of the Academic Continuity Committee.
    • An overview of registration numbers for graduate students was provided which included current enrolment numbers of 21,184 graduate registrations, up over 700 from the previous year. It was noted that the numbers of enrolments for research masters at the University was largely stable, and that there had been an increase in both doctoral and professional masters enrolment.
    • Domestic doctoral registration numbers were slightly down from the previous year, largely for demographic reasons; however, the University saw a significant increase in international doctoral registrations that resulted in overall growth. International registrations in the University’s professional masters had also grown, with 10,411 registered at the time of the meeting.
    • Overall, the University was projected to have healthy graduate registration numbers for the year despite no longer being in a period of government funded graduate expansion and as well with the challenges from the pandemic.

The Chair thanked the Professor’s McCahan and Barker, and Ms. Saweczko for their remarks.

  1. Orientation and Discussion: Academic Change

    The Chair noted that the consideration of academic change proposals is a major area of focus for the Committee and drew member’s attention to the orientation video on this topic.

    There were no questions from members regarding the orientation to academic change proposals.
  2. Orientation and Discussion: Cyclical Reviews

    The Chair noted that cyclical reviews are another major area of focus for the Committee and drew member’s attention to the orientation video included on this topic.

    Professor McCahan noted that there would be 12 reviews and 1 follow up report which would be brought forward to the Cycle 2 meeting of the Committee. She informed members that each reading group would be responsible for 2-3 reviews.

    There were no questions from members regarding the orientation to cyclical reviews.
  3. Calendar of Business 2021-22

    The Chair referred members to the Calendar of Business located on the Office of the Governing Council’s website and advised that the document would be updated by the Secretariat regularly as business came forward. He encouraged members to review the Calendar on a regular basis.
  4. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 208, May 5, 2021

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  6. Date of Next Meeting – October 26, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on October 26, 2021.
  7. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The meeting adjourned at 11:37 a.m.

September 24, 2021