Report: UTM Academic Affairs Committee - February 11, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting


FEBRUARY 11, 2021

To the Campus Council, University of Toronto Mississauga

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on February 11, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. via a Virtual Meeting Room.

Laura Taylor (Chair), Sanja Hinic-Frlog (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Heather Miller (Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning), Kent Moore (Vice-Principal, Research), Varouj Aivazian, Andreas Bendlin, Mitchell Bonney, Laura Brown, Jill Caskey, Ruth Childs, Laura Cocuzzi, Jenny Cui, Margarida Duarte, Ulrich Fekl, Jacob Gallagher Ross, Philip Goodman, Monika Havelka, Rosa Hong, Nathan Innocente, , Shashi Kant, Michael Lettieri, Rhonda McEwen, Ashley Monks, Emmanuel Nikiema, Andrew Nicholson, Andrea Olive, Gurpreet Rattan, Mev Saiyed, Adriano Senatore, Alvin Stanislaus, Steve Szigeti, Jaimal Thind, Mihkel Tombak, Ron Wener, Ziyaad Vahed (member of Council)

Non-Voting Assessors:
Yen Du (Program and Curriculum Officer), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs)

Sultan Akif, Randy Besco, Marc Dryer, Bryan Wenchao Du, Sherry Fukuzawa, Shelley Hawrychuk, Stuart Kamenetsky, Konstantin Khanin, Irenius Konkor, Diane Matias, Jay Nirula, Andreas Park, Esteban Parra, Aanchal Raza, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Lindsay Schoenbohm, Andrew Sepielli, Ekam Singh, Meghan Sutherland, Daniel White

In Attendance:
Leigh Revers (Master of Urban Innovation), Ms Marisa Modeski (Associate Registrar & Director Student Recruitment & Admissions), Ms Jessica Silver (Director, Centre for Student Engagement)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting and reminded members about the ongoing governance elections in the Undergraduate student constituencies of the Campus Council, Campus Affairs and Academic Affairs Committees and in the administrative staff constituency of the Campus Affairs Committee. She encouraged those eligible to participate and reminded everyone that voting would be open until Friday, February 19, 2021.
  2. Expanding Access: UTM efforts to encourage PSE participation & campus awareness

    The Chair invited Ms Marisa Modeski, Associate Registrar & Director Student Recruitment & Admissions and Ms Jessica Silver, Director, Centre for Student Engagement to present.

    Ms Modeski began her presentation by noting that student recruitment and admissions and the Centre For Student Engagement have collaborated on initiatives to build upon new strategic partnerships in the community, with local school boards and community agencies. Access programs were defined by the Office of Vice-Provost students as students that would traditionally be from underrepresented groups. These programs aimed to provide underrepresented students with programs and opportunities to continue learning at the post- secondary level. These programs were typically located at a particular site and they focused on working with groups of targeted students and communities. Ms Modeski provided two examples of these initiatives: BAEE@UTM, which provided prospective Black high school students with supports at UTM to assist them in their university decision-making process and included introducing them to networks of mentorship and support throughout their university career; and the UTM Bridging Pathway program, which offered mature students the opportunity through mentorship to be admitted to UTM when they did not meet the minimum requirements.

    Continuing the presentation, Ms Silver discussed some data to show the need for access programs and their benefits. She noted that the Student Affairs and Services Office had done a review of institutional assessments to better understand the experiences of BIPOC students. She showed some data from the Before College Survey of Student Engagement or BCSSE and the National College Health Assessment, which showed that 64% of BIPOC students were arriving at UTM with no friends, 16% chose UTM as third or lower ranked choice and that black and NBPOC students did not participate in high-impact practices in their first year. Access programs designed in collaboration between the Office of the Registrar and the Centre for Student Engagement aimed to change these opportunities for underrepresented students and help them to see UTM as a place of study. Prospective students participating in these access programs in the past year were provided with a pre and post assessment on their knowledge about and desires for considering post-secondary education generally, and for U of T specifically. Access programs delivered on the UTM campus and now virtually, have proven to have a measurable impact with 82% seeing an increase in knowledge of PSE resources and entry and 70% likely to pursue post- secondary education as a result of participation.

    Ms Silver closed the presentation by noting that these access programs not only provided a benefit to prospective students, but also to current UTM students who played a vital role in the delivery of these programs.

    In response to a member’s question, Ms Silver explained that high impact practices were those that proved to have a measurable impact on student success and retention, such as service learning, community engagement, and collaborative class work.

    A member asked how the statistic of 64% of BIPOC students who were coming to UTM with no friends, compared to non-black students. Ms Silver noted that although she did not have the exact numbers, the percentage cited was more than the other groups that were examined.
  3. Minor Modification: Graduate Curriculum Changes, UTM

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Heather Miller, Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning, noted that the proposed changes in the Master of Biotechnology programs were in three areas. The Program was proposing a change to the program requirements of both fields in the Program (Biopharmaceuticals and Digital Health Technology) that would require students to complete an additional half-credit elective course, bringing the total required credits for the program to 9.5 (from the current 9.0). This proposed change is in direct response to the recommendations made in the recent external reviewer report of the Program, which endorsed the introduction of new electives to highlight current research of the MBiotech faculty. The second proposed change was a new course, BTC1889H, Deep Learning in Health, to be offered as an elective option within the Digital Health Technology (DHT) field. Deep Learning in Health is an advanced course in machine learning that is focused on the application of neural networks in a health context. Finally, the third proposed change was a course title change for BTC1899H from Data Science and Digital Health Technology to Data Health Technology. Professor Miller explained that this name change more accurately reflected the content of the course, signaling to students that the overwhelming theme of the course is digital health.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried, YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED,

    THAT the curriculum changes in the Master of Biotechnology Program, offered by the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI), recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, and described in the proposals dated January 25, 2020, be approved, effective on September 1, 2021.
  4. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean to provide her report.

    Professor Daniere began her report by noting that 70% of all undergraduate courses offered for the spring and summer sessions will be remote only, approximately 14% of the courses offered are going to be in the dual delivery mode, and three courses were in person. The remainder, which represented 47 courses were Research Opportunity or Independent Study courses.

    She continued her report by noting that ICCIT was migrating some of their programs and as a result, as of September 2021, the Certificate in Digital Communications at Sheridan College would no longer be available. ICCIT would be introducing a not for credit certificate, the Certificate of Completion in Media Skills, which would be awarded solely based on attendance and completion of workshops offered by ICCIT. The certificate had its first workshop recently with over 100 student participating.

    Moving on to her next topic, Professor Daniere discussed the online learning experience for students. She extended her gratitude to Fiona Rawle (Associate Dean, Undergraduate), Anne Gagné and Dianne Ashbourne (Academic Skills Centre) and Simone Laughton (Library and Instructional Technologies) for their invaluable advice and expertise in making online learning not only pedagogically rigorous, but also creating a culture of engagement and motivation to learn. She reported that the Teaching & Learning Collaboration (TLC) would be sending out a survey to faculty in April, in order to assess the effectiveness of the delivery of remote courses, with the hope that the information could be useful for the design of summer workshops and seminars. With respect to addressing how to make online learning for students better, Professor Rawle’s research had shown that students learned better when they felt a connection to their professor. Another focus in improving the online experience of students had been on sustainable teaching, especially from a workload perspective, in the form of fewer assignments. Faculty have also been encouraged to make due dates more flexible, practice universal design principles, and use active learning principles such as breakout rooms and polls in a remote environment.

    A member commented that one of his professors did not allow questions to be raised during the lecture, but rather kept them to the end of the class, which resulted in there not being enough time to address them all. Professor Daniere noted that this online environment was also a learning experience for faculty and encouraged the member to raise the issue with the instructor and also through the student opinion surveys. Another member offered how he had provided short videos to his students during lectures, and was then able to answer questions at the same time. He noted that another class had the TA sit in during lectures to answer questions in the chat area.
  5. Other Business

    A member spoke in support of the Program for Accessing Research Training (PART), which consisted of Core, Quantitative and Qualitative training modules, designed to prepare UTM students for possible participation in the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) or other research opportunities available on campus. He highlighted the importance of this program to UTM students and the work of all of those involved, including the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, the Experiential Learning unit, and faculty members.
  6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 39 – January 11, 2021

    Report number 39, from the meeting of January 11, 2021 was approved.
  7. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  8. Date of the Next Meeting – Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

February 12, 2021