Report: UTM Academic Affairs Committee - May 03, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting


May 3, 2021

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on May 3, 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, Jenny Cui, Marc Dryer, Margarida Duarte, Sherry Fukuzawa, Jacob Gallagher Ross, Philip Goodman, Monika Havelka, Shelley Hawrychuk, Rosa Hong, Nathan Innocente, Stuart Kamenetsky, Shashi Kant, Michael Lettieri, Rhonda McEwen, Ashley Monks, Diane Matias, Jay Nirula, Emmanuel Nikiema, Andrew Nicholson, Andrea Olive, Esteban Parra, Andreas Park, Gurpreet Rattan, Adriano Senatore, Alvin Stanislaus, Steve Szigeti, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Jaimal Thind, Mihkel Tombak, Ron Wener

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, Laura Cocuzzi, Bryan Wenchao Du, Ulrich Fekl, Konstantin Khanin, Irenius Konkor, Aanchal Raza, Lindsay Schoenbohm, Andrew Sepielli, Ekam Singh, Meghan Sutherland, Mev Saiyed, Daniel White

In Attendance:
Yue Li (Progrram Director, MMPA), Azita Taleghani (Language Studies), Chiu-Hung Chen (Language Studies), Lucy Gaspini (Director, Academic Success & Integrity), Lisa Devereaux, (Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting reminded them about virtual meeting procedures.
  2. Impact of Online Learning On Student Learning Experiences

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Alexandra Gillespie shared a presentation on the impact of online learning on student learning experiences. Professor Gillespie thanked Jonathan Davis, Student Experience Research and Assessment Coordinator and Jessica Silver, Director, Centre for Student Engagement for assembling the data contained in her presentation.

    During her presentation, Professor Gillespie highlighted the following points:
  • The survey had a very high participation rate, with 2600 students responding.
  • The outcomes of the survey point to the importance of using flexible approaches to teaching and that student voices and experiences mattered.
  • Survey findings included:
    • A majority of respondents found it much hard more difficult to maintain focus and attention when in online instruction versus the in-person classroom experience.
    • A significant proportion found it more challenging to learn entirely online and most found instructors’ standards more difficult.
    • Almost half of the respondents indicated that they learned less.
    • Challenges included: receiving help with assignments, communicating with classmates and friends, and adjusting to online learning.
    • Primary stressors included mental and physical health, social isolation, as well as the ability to succeed in an online academic environment.
    • A majority of respondents worried about online learning impacting their academic success and therefore future potential.
    • Many indicated that they do not know how to access online campus resources (both academic and other student support areas).
    • A majority feel disconnected from the UTM community.
    • A majority have experienced unexpected increases in spending for technology and loss of anticipated wages as a result of the Pandemic, including a loss or reduction of income from other family members.
    • International students studying remotely at UTM were largely from South Asia and the Middle East.

In response to a member’s question about the top three learnings from the survey for faculty going into the fall 2021 session, Professor Gillespie noted the value of in-person instruction for most of the time, the importance of a positive relationship between instructors and students and the importance of reinforcing to students where they could access resources available to them. Also in response to a member asking about what could be done to support students in finding resources, Professor Gillespie explained that communicating repetitively, but personally about these resources was key, in addition to integrating the information available to students between various departments and services. The Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, Professor Daniere also noted that UTM had been working on enhanced student advising capacity at both the departmental and at the Office of the Registrar level and on building on and learning from successful pedagogical and instructional experiences.

The Chair thanked Professor Gillespie for her thoughtful presentation.

  1. Major Modification: New Freestanding Minor in Chinese Language and Culture, UTM

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Miller introduced the item. Professor Miller explained that this minor referred to as a free-standing program, since there were no other existing programs in this discipline at UTM. As a Minor program, the requirement was only 4.0 credits and was therefore aimed at students who had near proficiency in Chinese. The proposal built upon the strong existing Chinese language and culture courses already offered. She noted that unlike some of the department’s other programs where there was an English language option, these courses would be offered only in Chinese.

    Professor Emmanuel Nikiema, Chair of the Department of Language Studies confirmed that the proposed Minor program was tailored for students who were near proficient in the Chinese language but added that a future proposal for a similar program would likely open offerings to second language learners.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed new freestanding Minor in Chinese Language and Culture, offered by the Department of Language Studies, UTM, recommended by Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, and described in the proposal dated April 19, 2021, be approved, effective September 1, 2021.
  2. New Program – Major in Technology, Coding and Society, UTM

    Professor Miller introduced the item and noted how pleased she was to bring forward the proposal for this new program, which had been developed with a great deal of input and consultation from appropriate units. Professor Miller noted that, in particular, the Computer Sciences faculty at UTM had provided extremely helpful and detailed feedback to ICCIT on the TCS proposal. The proposed Major in Technology, Coding and Society (TCS) was a new major program within the four-year Honours Bachelor of Arts degree and was focused on the needs of a rapidly changing society and workforce. It builds on the very strong research and teaching interests of faculty in the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (ICCIT) and is focused on developing strong programming and critical thinking skills. She explained that this work would be done through developing digital platforms, analyzing the data they produced, and theorizing their use from humanistic and social science perspectives. ICCIT had a cross disciplinary approach to technology and other aspects of data in society and they would bring to it their long experience in experiential education and work integrated learning.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed new in Major in Technology, Coding and Society, UTM, offered by the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (ICCIT), recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, Professor Amrita Daniere, and described in the proposal dated April 14, 2021, be approved, effective September 1, 2021.
  3. Minor Modification: Graduate Curriculum Changes, Master of Management and Professional Accounting (MMPA) Program, UTM

    Professor Miller explained that the proposed curriculum changes aimed to clarify and communicate clearly about these courses to MMPA students. The two existing half courses that had always been taught as four quarter courses and listed as two half courses, would now be formally divided, and communicated as four 0.25 courses.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the curriculum changes in Master of Management and Professional Accounting 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 April 12, 2021, be approved, effective on September 1, 2021.
  4. Annual Report (2019-20) - Academic Integrity, Office of the Dean

    The Chair invited Lucy Gaspini, Director, Academic Success & Integrity, and Lisa Devereaux, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs to share the annual report.

    During the presentation, the following points were highlighted:
  • There had been a great increase in the number of academic integrity cases since the beginning of the Pandemic.
  • In the 2019-20 academic year, a total of 1408 cases had been received, and that figure included those that had been handled in the Department by a Chair or Director, those that were escalated to the divisional level or the Office of the Dean and those that were forwarded to the University Tribunal. This figure also included cases in which charges against a student had been dismissed.
  • The majority of academic offences were committed by students that were enrolled in their first and second year of study, but numbers were high in later years also.
  • The most common type of offense involved students obtaining some type of unauthorized assistance or using some sort of unauthorized aid during an assessment, followed by plagiarism.
  • Showing a breakdown of the number of cases by academic unit, Mathematical and Computational Sciences had the highest number of cases (745) during the time period.
  • Between March 16, 2020 and May 6, 2020, there had been 610 GWR’s submitted, which was an increase of over of 210% over the previous year.
  • Seven academic departments indicated that the majority of their GWR submissions did pertain to suspected academic offenses that occurred in online examinations.
  • Feedback from academic units identified at least the following categories of cheating that emerged more prominently during remote assessments: plagiarism and the use of unauthorized aids, plagiarism through translation in an attempt to bypass detection by Turnitin or some other plagiarism detection software; peer to peer collaboration and communication through social media platforms such as Facebook or WhatsApp; third party websites and tutoring services, involved students posting and accessing exam questions on websites like Chegg.
  • Feedback from instructors who piloted Proctor U during the Winter 2020 exams, rated their overall impression of their experience at a 2.7 on a 5-point scale. A large volume of technical issues and troubleshooting issues had been experienced during the writing of these exams.
  • Instructors indicated that the use of Proctor U was successful in deterring academic misconduct, but they were mostly dissatisfied with the academic integrity reports that were provided by Proctor U.
  • Third-party tutoring services contributed greatly to the increase in academic integrity numbers; such services were creating live chat rooms during remote assessments and providing answers in real time to their clients.
  • The use of Chegg had been very problematic during active assessments as they offered answers in real-time.

    In response to a member’s question about how UTM compared with other institutions regarding academic integrity, the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, Professor Daniere explained that the literature showed that the increase in academic integrity cases related to increasing reliance on technology for both teaching and learning over the recent past was a wide-spread, world-wide issue.


    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 12 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.
  1. Annual Report: Office of the Vice-Principal Research

    The report was received for information.
  2. Annual Report (2019-20) - UTM Library

    The report was received for information.
  3. Annual Report (2019-20) - Committee On Standing, Office of the Registrar

    The report was received for information.
  4. Annual Report (2019-20) – Academic Appeals Subcommittee

    The report was received for information.
  5. Revisions to the UTM Campus Council and its Committees Terms of Reference

    The item was received for information.
  6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 40 – February 11, 2021

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

    There was no business arising from the minutes.
  8. Date of the Next Meeting – Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
  9. Other Business

The meeting adjourned at 4:17 p.m.

​​​​​​​May 4, 2021