Report: Executive Committee - May 5, 2020

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Via Virtual Meeting Room

REPORT NUMBER 513 OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto.

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. with the following members present:
Claire M. C. Kennedy (Chair), N. Jane Pepino (Vice-Chair), Meric S. Gertler (President), Catherine Bragg, Janet Ecker, Avrum I. Gotlieb, Sarosh Jamal, Ernest Lam, Mark Lautens, Mark H. Rowswell, W. Keith Thomas, Laurent-Philippe Veilleux, Bruce Winter

Regrets:
Apefa Adjivon

Non-Voting Member:
Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council)

Secretariat:
Anwar Kazimi (Secretary, Executive Committee)

In Attendance:
Preet Banerjee (Chair, UTSC Campus Council and Member of the Governing Council), Brian D. Lawson (Chair, Business Board and Member of the Governing Council), Andrew Szende (Chair, University Affairs Board and Member of the Governing Council), Nicholas Terpstra (Chair, Academic Board and Member of the Governing Council), Chris Thatcher (Chair, Audit Committee and Member of Business Board) (for item 14), Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost and Member of the Governing Council), Scott Mabury (Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal, UTSC) (for item 5(a.)), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean, UTM) (for item 4(b.)), Simon Pratt (Director, Policy and Analysis, Planning & Budget Office) (for item 3), Nadina Jamison (Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President), Bryn MacPherson (Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President and Chief of Protocol), Anthony Gray (Director, Strategic Research, Office of the President)

Pursuant to section 28 (e) and 38 of By-Law Number 2, consideration of
items 15-17 took place in camera.


The meeting was held in closed Session.

1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chairs welcomed the attendees to the meeting.

Academic Appointment – Recording of E-Ballot
As required by By-Law Number 2, the following motion was read into the record regarding the results of an e-ballot which the Executive Committee approved on March 30, 2020.

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT the appointment of Professor Lynn Wilson as Acting Vice-Provost, Relations with
Health Care Institutions for a term beginning January 1, 2020 and ending December 30,
2020 be revised to end April 1, 2020.

2. Report of the President

The President began his address expressing his shock and sadness at the horrific shootings in Nova Scotia in mid-March. He expressed heartfelt sorrow for the victims’ families and friends, the injured, the RCMP, and everyone affected. Professor Gertler reported that the University’s flags flew at half-mast, in line with federal protocols, and that he had spoken personally with a number of his counterparts at Nova Scotia universities to express sympathies on behalf of the University.

The President reported that the World Academic Summit 2020 to have been hosted by U of T had been postponed until 2021; further information would be provided. He expected that the announcement of 2020 THE-World University Rankings would occur in the early fall most likely to be delivered by an online event.

The President expressed gratitude to the Executive Committee for its leadership and dedication to University governance during the COVID-19 situation. He said he was reminded of how fortunate U of T was to have such a remarkable cohort of volunteer governors to help it navigate these uncharted waters.

Advocacy Priorities
The President stated that much of his time had been devoted to government advocacy, including frequent contact with cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, senior government officials, and with representatives of U15, Universities Canada, and the Council of Ontario (COU). The following four priorities had been the focus of the University’s efforts:

  • Domestic students – providing financial relief to offset the potentially dire impacts of loss of summer jobs, or their parents’ financial hardship;

  • International students – ensuring that visas would be granted (or extended) in a timely fashion; modifying normal rules to enable students to begin their programs remotely via online instruction, if necessary; expediting their arrival in the Fall term, if possible;

  • Research enterprise – keeping it ‘whole’; recognizing the extraordinary costs associated with shutting down/ramping up many labs; providing assistance to Principal Investigators, as well as graduate students/Post-Doctoral Fellows, while labs remained idle; and extending grants, ideally with funding; and

  • Institutional stabilization – providing financial assistance to universities to compensate them for losses in ancillary income (food services, residences, recreation, parking, etc.) and other aspects of their operations; help the University with the considerable costs of shifting to online/remote teaching. 

Federal Government Matters
The President recognized the ongoing work of the Federal Government particularly as it related to boosting liquidity in the economy, subsidizing wages to keep people employed, supporting unemployed workers, assisting small/medium sized businesses, and most recently supporting post-secondary students.

On that latter point, President Gertler reported that the Federal Government had announced a $9 billion student aid package in support of over one million students across Canada. The centerpiece was a new subsidy program – the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – for those students who were not eligible for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). In addition to a range of individual student financial support, the package also included the following:

  • changes to the Canada Student Loan program and Canada Student Grant program;

  • additional supports for summer jobs, volunteer work and WIL programs; and

  • funding to extend expiring graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows.

The President stated that the changes addressed some of the major gaps in existing relief programs, providing important measures to help students continue their studies and support domestic enrolment, while also supplementing research budgets at a time when this was badly needed. President Gertler acknowledged the important work of student leaders in contributing to the advocacy efforts and that the announcements represented a crucial development for universities and for U of T.

The President stated that the impact of COVID-19 on the university sector was profound and wide-reaching. The University continued to work closely within the sector and with government partners to advance other advocacy priorities for post-secondary education and advanced research.  He also noted that our government partners had acknowledged the central role the University had played in mobilizing resources, launching critical COVID-19-related research, developing innovative ideas, and informing public understanding (and public policy) during the crisis.

The President reported that additional Federal government funding in the amount of $1.1 billion to support medical research to address COVID-19 had been recently announced. It built on the $275 million for coronavirus research previously announced in March. It included, among other things, funding to support vaccine development and clinical trials, the establishment of a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force co-led by President Emeritus David Naylor, with significant participation of other U of T faculty, including Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives and Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Vivek Goel and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Public Health Sciences Allison McGeer.

The President stated that the government recognized that the university sector would be fundamental partners in economic recovery – they would also be looking for both a ‘start-up’ plan for the sector in September and a vision for the longer-term role that universities could play in ensuring that Canada emerged from the crisis even stronger.

Provincial Government Matters
Turning to the provincial government matters, the President expressed his great appreciation for the tremendous work being done at U of T to help the Province manage the pandemic and their response. He acknowledged colleagues at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLPSH); Faculty of Medicine; other health science divisions and the University’s affiliated hospitals; as well as the many other divisions/units across the university that had contributed to the effort, and that these contributions were acknowledged by the provincial government. 

The President reported that the provincial government released its “Framework for Reopening our Province”. The framework outlined the milestones that needed to be achieved to begin the process of re-opening the economy in a staged, phased, gradual way. Although no specifics were provided relating to the postsecondary sector, public health officials would be carefully monitoring each stage before deciding when to recommend moving to the next phase.

Professor Gertler advised that COU Executive Heads had released a joint statement confirming their collective plans for Ontario’s universities to be ‘open for business’ in September. This statement had been very well received. He also noted that three cross-functional working groups had been struck by COU to develop sector-wide positions in the following priority areas: financial sustainability; student support (OSAP); and technology-enabled learning. The University would continue to work with its COU partners and the government, to press the case for provincial support to address the impacts of the crisis on the University.

The President invited the Provost to comment on the University’s efforts regarding COVID-19.

The Provost stated that in the six weeks since she reported to the Executive Committee, the ways in which the University carried out its operations had changed, but through immense amounts of hard work, creativity and resourcefulness, the vast majority of the University’s services continued to be offered to members of our community. The University had struck an Incident Leadership Team to coordinate and manage its response to the pandemic. Led by Professor Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, team groups were formed which focused its work on academic continuity, students, research, human resources, business continuity, and communications, Initially the team was in crisis response mode, managing crisis, and now had moved into recovery mode.

Professor Regehr stated that decisions surrounding the reopening of the University would be more complex than the decision to close the University. The University was beginning to look ahead to resuming some functions in the coming weeks. But the widely shared consensus was that it would not return to normal in one single step. She added that larger gatherings and activities where physical distancing was not feasible would not be permitted for many weeks or months. As a result, she expected that the impact on U of T’s operations would be uneven, with some services and functions returning sooner than others. The Provost commented that there was an important need to keep many factors in mind in making reopening decisions. Public health advice, and the safety and well-being of our community members would be front of mind in making these decisions.

The Provost reported on the activities of several of the working groups:

Academic Continuity

  • virtually all summer courses would be moved online for the summer term with resources to assist instructors in this task being provided; students would continue to receive high quality instruction;

  • summer student enrollment higher than in past year, including many international students who could not return home and students who could not find work who would be taking courses in summer;

  • working hard to prepare for Fall term enrolment – although many unknowns at the time there was some confidence about numbers due to enrolment activity among Canadian and international students; and

  • excellent enrolment modelling capacity exists internally, with many planning meetings being held to make sure divisions had access to latest data from modelling, and to help them plan and maintain some consistency in course delivery.

Research

  • under provincial restrictions, only COVID-19 research allowed; working group looking at how to gradually restart graduate programs – hope that restrictions to on-campus research would soon be eased;

  • central research working group looking at restart, but each division had own group, linking into central, to ensure consistency of approach; and

  • the University had engaged both levels of government and funding agencies to address concerns about continuity of research funding. Significant efforts, in partnership with other universities and research hospitals, continued to make the case for support of our country’s research personnel.

Student Issues:

  • U of T prided itself on being one of the world's most accessible universities. However, because of the pandemic's widening impact, thousands of students suddenly needed financial assistance;

  • in response, the University launched the COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund, which was open to graduate and undergraduate students from all three campuses;

  • the emergency relief would provide support for students with urgent needs, supporting requirements for food, shelter, emergency travel, and internet access in order to complete their coursework;

  • since mid-March, U of T had distributed emergency grants to over 2,800 undergraduate students, totaling over $3.1 Million. It has also distributed approximately 151 grants to graduate students, totaling just over $200,000;

  • while measures to bring the pandemic under control remained in place, the need among students would continue to grow. Many had seen their summer jobs put on hold, and others have unexpected costs as their families experience economic hardship; and

  • launch of Fund had been a real success – with contributions immediately coming into the Fund – the University was appreciative of the many donors for their generosity towards students.

Mental Health

  • student supports, including accessibility services, were continuing to operate remotely and the health and wellness team was providing virtual care, including appointments with family physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Group appointments and workshops were being made available through videoconferencing.

  • launching the redesign of mental health services expected in coming year, as recommended by the Student Mental Health Task Force – redesign work was continuing even throughout the pandemic. Collaboration with CAMH had never been stronger as over the past few weeks to support students’ mental health not just in general, but throughout the pandemic.

The Provost ended her update and stated that the University recognized the resilience and ingenuity of its students and acknowledged that many of them and their families were facing significant challenges due to the pandemic and resulting economic crisis.

In response to a member’s question regarding the funding details of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) program, the President stated that he was confident, based on the positive actions of the government to date – including reorganizing and strengthening Canada’s social safety-net – that details regarding the application process and other related matters would soon be available.

3. 2019 Performance Indicators for Governance

The Chair invited the Provost to introduce the 2019 Performance Indicators for Governance report. The Provost pointed to the Executive Summary to the Report, which focused on key University accomplishments and how the University of Toronto was doing with respect to key performance indicators (KPIs). The summary provided highlights of the results regarding the measures and performance indicators contained in the Report (which included more than 105 charts) that span the University’s operations, teaching and research missions.

In response to a member’s question with respect to the area of student satisfaction and its measure every three years as part of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the Provost explained there were other performance tools used to measure student satisfaction, as a key performance indicator (i.e. course evaluations), but she would take the member’s comments under advisement.

4. Items for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council

a. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Centre for Civilizations, Cultures, and Cities

Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP) introduced the capital project. Professor Nicholas Terpstra, Chair of Academic Board, provided a report on the discussion that took place at the meeting of the Academic Board held on April 23, 2020.

There were no questions from members.

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT the following recommendation be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council

THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Centre for Civilizations, Cultures and Cities, dated March 10, 2020, be approved in principle; and,

THAT the project totaling 7,139 net assignable square metres (nasm) 17,790 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded by Future Major Capital Project Reserves, Divisional Operating Reserves, Fundraising (Divisional), Divisional Borrowing, Fundraising (Institutional), Institutional Borrowing (ROM) and Institutional Borrowing (University).

b. Establishment of an Extra-Departmental Unit A (EDU:A): Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI)

The Provost provided a brief introduction of the University of Toronto Mississauga proposal regarding the change of the Extra-Departmental Unit (EDU) category of the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) from EDU:B to EDU:A.

Professor Mohan Matthen, Chair of UTM Campus Council, provided a report on the discussion that took place at the meeting of UTM Campus Council on April 21, 2020. Professor Terpstra reported on the discussions of the proposal at the Academic Board meeting held on April 23, 2020.

In response to a member’s question regarding financial implications, the Provost explained that from a governance perspective, costs for such a proposal were assumed at the divisional level, so if UTM had accounted for and was not asking for additional resources, there wouldn’t be any net financial implications reported as part of the proposal.

Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, UTM added that there were no new tenure track positions in the proposal, as the three tenure track positions listed had already been approved and budgeted for as part of the division’s budget in the previous year. She stated that if the program grows and new space is required, this would be included as part of the space programming and project planning undertaken at UTM for any future capital project.

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT the following recommendation be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council

THAT the proposal to establish the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) (Extra-Departmental Unit B (EDU:B)), at the University of Toronto Mississauga, as an EDU: A, as described in the Proposal for the Establishment of an EDU:A, Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI), University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), dated March 24, 2020, be approved, effective July 1, 2020.

5. Item for Confirmation

a. Strategic Plan: Inspiring Inclusive Excellence: A Strategic Vision for the University of Toronto Scarborough

The Committee received the Strategic Plan: Inspiring Inclusive Excellence: A Strategic Vision for the University of Toronto Scarborough for confirmation by the Committee.

Mr. Preet Banerjee, Chair of UTSC Campus Council, reported that the document has been received favourably by the Campus Council.

A member expressed support for the Strategic Plan and noted how it had an emphasis on inclusiveness, equity and justice – while these were aspirations of the whole comunity, the focus that UTSC had placed on them, making them very distinctive, very laudable.

The Chair congratulated Professor Wisdom Tettey and his team for bringing forth such an inspirational and ambitious plan for UTSC.

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE CONFIRMED

THAT, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence: A Strategic Vision for the University of Toronto Scarborough (2020-2025), submitted by the Vice-President and Principal, Professor Wisdom Tettey, be approved in principle.

CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that the items be approved.

6.Item for Confirmation

a. Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees – Student Society Fees: UTM Student Society Proposals for Fee Increases

On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE CONFIRMED

THAT beginning in the Fall 2020 session, the fee for The Medium be increased as follows: (a) an increase of $2.00 per Fall and Winter sessions (full-time and part-time) in the society fee. 

If approved, the total Fall/Winter fee for The Medium will be $5.63 per session ($3.21 part-time), charged to all UTM undergraduate students. 

7. Report of the Previous Meetings of the Executive Committee

Report Number 512 (March 24, 2020) was approved.

8. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

There was no business arising from the minutes of the previous meetings.

9. Minutes of the Governing Council Meeting – April 2, 2020

Members received the Report of the April 2, 2020 Governing Council Meeting for information.

10. Business Arising from the Minutes of the Governing Council Meeting

There was no business arising from the minutes of the Governing Council meeting.

11. Reports for Information:

Members received the following Reports for information:

  1. Report Number 41 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (April 21, 2020)

  2. Report Number 41 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (April 22, 2020)

  3. Report Number 227 of the Academic Board (April 23, 2020)

  4. Report Number 217 of the University Affairs Board (April 27, 2020)

  5. Report Number 252 of the Business Board (April 28, 2020)

END OF CONSENT AGENDA

12. Date of Next Meeting

The Chair advised members that the next meeting was scheduled for Monday, June 16, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

13. Other Business

a. Governing Council Meeting – May 14, 2020

The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Governing Council was to be held on May 14, 2020 and discussed the arrangements surrounding that meeting.

The Committee Moved In Camera.

14. Risk Assessment Report, 2019

The Committee received the Risk Assessment Report, 2019, for information.

15. Item for Approval by the Executive Committee

a. External Appointments

(i) Members and Directors, University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM)

On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED

(a) THAT the following individuals be approved and nominated as members and directors of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation for one-year terms until the 2021 annual meeting of the Corporation or until their successors are appointed;

Ms Sheila Brown (ex officio)
Professor Meric Gertler (ex officio)
Mr. Richard B. Nunn
Mr. Daren Smith (ex officio)
Mr. Alan White (UTFA)

(b) THAT Mr. Richard B. Nunn be approved and nominated as a member and director of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, and as Chair of its Board, for a one-year term until the 2021 annual meeting of the Corporation or until his successor is appointed.

(ii) Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (SHSC) Board of Directors+

On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED

THAT the following individuals be appointed to the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (SHSC) Board of Directors for one-year terms, effective Sunnybrook’s AGM on June 8, 2020 to the AGM in June 2021 of the SHSC:

Mr. Maneesh Mehta
Mr. David Ossip

THAT the following individuals be re-appointed to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHCS) Board of Directors for one-year terms, effective the Sunnybrook’s AGM on June 8, 2020 to the AGM in June 2021 of the SHSC:

Mr. Rags Davloor
Ms Donna Duncan
Mr. Thomas E. Flynn
Mr. Donald G. Lang
Ms Martha Tory
Ms Linda Mantia
Dr. Trevor Young*

*Dr. Salvatore Spadafora will continue to serve on the Board on behalf of Dr. Young till August 30, 2020.

b. Senior Appointments:

i. Acting Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Acting Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education

On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT Professor Mark Schmuckler be appointed as Acting Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Acting Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021.

ii.Acting Vice-Provost, Students

On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

THAT Professor Micah Stickel be appointed as Acting Vice-Provost, Students from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

16. Items for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council

a. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Centre for Civilizations, Cultures, and Cities – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding

On motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED

THAT the following motion be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council:

THAT the recommendation outlined in the memorandum of Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP), dated April 20, 2020, regarding Capital Project: Centre for Civilizations, Cultures, and Cities – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding, be approved.

b. Appointments: Members of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies, 2020-21

The Chair provided an overview of the process that informed the proposed 2020-21 assignments of members of the Governing Council to governance bodies.

On motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED

THAT the following motion be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council:

THAT the proposed Assignments of members of the Governing Council to Boards and Committees for 2020-21, be approved; and

THAT, pursuant to section 38 of By-Law Number 2, the Governing Council consider this item in camera.

THAT, subject to the approval of the membership of the Elections Committee by the Governing Council on May 14, 2020, Mr. P.C. Choo be appointed as Chair of the Elections Committee for a one-year term effective July 1, 2020.

17. Committee Members with the President

Members of the Executive Committee, with the Board Chairs, met with the President.

18. Committee Members Alone

Members of the Executive Committee, with the Board Chairs, met privately.

The meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.