REPORT NUMBER 56 OF THE CAMPUS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
JANUARY 10, 2023
To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga,
Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on January 10, 2023, at 3:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis Building.
Robert Gerlai (in the Chair), Rafael Chiuzi, Amrita Daniere (Interim Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal, Student Services), Nagham Abdalahad, Crystal Cheng, Laura Ferlito, Jerry Flores, Claudiu Gradinaru, Melissa Gniadek, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Hans van Monsjou, Jessica Silver, Ziyaad Vahed, Muhammad Wahid, Payam Zahedi
Andrea Urie (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success), Christine Esteban (Executive Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Chad Nuttall (Assistant Dean of Students and International Initiatives)
Shehrbano Ali, Maria Chacin, Luke Barber, Alexandra Gillespie, Adriana Grimaldi, Jessica Hanley, Ciska Luwawu, Ashley Monks, Caleb Samuels, Laura Taylor, Jay Thakar
Brian Cunha (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Andrea De Vito (Director, Operations and Administration, Hospitality and Retail Services), Megan Evans (Assistant Director, Hospitality Operations), Brian Hoppie (Operations Manager, Parking), Brian Kennedy (Student Housing & Residence Life), Erin Kraftcheck (Health & Counselling Centre), Amanda Luongo (Student Housing & Residence Life), Elizabeth Martin (Accessibility Centre), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar), Jen Skinner (Student Housing and Residence Life)
Cindy Ferencz-Hammond (Assistant Secretary)
- Chair’s Remarks
The Chair welcomed members to the third meeting of the Committee and provided reminders about the elections and nominations process for membership on governance bodies. He encouraged those eligible to consider submitting a nomination form to serve on the relevant bodies and directed them to Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, Deputy Returning Officer for more information about the elections.
- Student Wellbeing post Pandemic
The Chair invited Andrea Urie, Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success to present.
During her presentation, she shared the following insights:
- Student achievement and well-being were directly influenced by student engagement in curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, leading to reported feelings of increased motivation, a sense of satisfaction and meaning in their university experience.
- The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education systems across the world, cutting off in-person engagement, and upon re-opening and the return to in person learning and engagement, measures such as physical distancing, isolation and movement restrictions further impeded the ability of students, faculty and staff to engage as before.
- Navigating online learning and hybrid learning, while trying to create environments of engagement, had been both challenging and exciting.
- Observations from the portfolio on how students responded during the pandemic and post pandemic included:
- during the pandemic, many students had limited access to health care for regular primary care needs, sexual health needs and medication management needs.
- since returning to campus, UTM had seen an increase in health appointments in its Health & Counselling Centre (HCC).
- While an increase in mental health appointments was expected, there has also been a pressing need for primary care health appointments, addressing issues such as sexual health needs, medication management, accessibility registrations, and general health practitioner concerns.
- Students who participated in counseling and mental health appointments were expressing feelings of isolation, lack of social connection and lack of engagement.
- During the pandemic, students with disabilities accessed technologies that otherwise were not available pre-pandemic, and managed their disabilities in environments in which they had less change and a greater sense of control.
- Upon their return to campus, UTM has seen an increase in registrations for academic accommodations, with accessibility services, particularly for mental illness as the primary accommodation need.There was also a dramatic increase in disability symptoms and difficulties returning to in-person learning, especially with respect to crisis or behavioral management needs.
- U of T ensured that students were connected with partners who could provide service to international students, since unless a student was residing in Ontario, many professionals associated with the university could not provide service.
- Domestic students who did take advantage of the resources available to them in health centers also had challenges such as finding quiet confidential spaces in order to engage in their counseling sessions.
- Since the return to campus, UTM has seen a slightly higher number of concerns related to student behavior, which may be attributed to the virtual environment being very different than an in-person environment and the somewhat more curt or inappropriate way in which interactions through technology may have been conducted.
- Social behaviors needed to be re-learned following two years of isolation and interactions primarily through technology.
- In response to these observations, the HCC created a variety of health supports, including the ability to easily accessing vaccinations, increased peer engagement, weekly wellness opportunities to support learning and success and welcoming back the annual in person resource and activity fair, Be Well UTM, which engaged students and service providers throughout Peel and Halton regions.
- With respect to Accessibility Services, the focus has been to ease the transition to returning to in person learning through peer mentoring learning communities and continuing to advocate and support students who required technology as part of their academic accommodations.
- Staff were also working closely with faculty to support students.
- Learning opportunities for faculty and staff, who were often frontline, had been developed and would continue to be offered.
- The HCC also offered same day appointments and one at a time sessions to assist students in identifying the most pressing need and providing them with resources and strategies for effective coping and management.
- The range of offerings included peer support to professional support programs in nutrition mindfulness, activity and general care.
- The HCC launched an online referral consultation form for UTM staff and faculty; upon receipt of the referral, the team worked closely with department chairs, faculty, and staff to navigate the challenges and to ensure that appropriate resources and support were provided.
- The team also worked to ensure that support was provided to the faculty and staff members who were seeking this consultation.
To conclude her presentation, Ms Urie expressed her gratitude to the many faculty and staff who were committed to student well-being and resilience. She specifically acknowledged the work of Dr. Erin Kraftcheck, Medical Director of the HCC and Elizabeth Martin, Director of Accessibility Services, who provided invaluable leadership in this regard.
In response to a member’s question about the level of faculty feedback and interaction with Accessibility Services when supporting a student in need, Ms Urie noted that there had been a concerted effort in recent years to develop increasing partnerships with faculty, working together to ensure that expectations were realistic and consulting on a framework that encompassed the relevant learning environment and learning outcomes.
- Enrolment Update
The Chair invited Lorretta Neebar, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management, to give a presentation on enrolment.
Ms Neebar included the following points during her
- Enrolment targets were not met this year for new intake
- Just over 30% of UTM students are international.
- Insights about new intake included:
- since 2020, experienced big fluctuations in enrollment, as a result of the pandemic, and yield continued to be difficult to predict.
- There were 3400 new students this year, and UTM fell short of targets by about 100 domestic and about 400 international students.
- This decrease was not due to decreased demand; UTM consciously gave out fewer offers considering the over enrolment last year, particularly in international high schools and in high demand programs.
- Focus had been on reducing pressure in areas where UTM was oversubscribed, including in computer science, life sciences, forensic science and commerce and management.
- Experiencing uncertainty and an unexpectedly reduced number of students in the domestic international pool, who come to UTM from a Canadian high school, typically in Ontario.
- Students were applying to more and more institutions globally.
- UTM drew from a diverse pool of international students by country.
- Admission averages had increased significantly, with an average of 89%.
- Dean’s list and UTM’s graduation rates continued to rise.
- Dramatic increase in the number of students who accepted UTM’s offer who were eligible for scholarships.
- Increase in those who qualified for high impact international scholarships.
- With respect to new intake by admission stream, returned to a proportion experienced pre pandemic, with computer sciences, mathematics and statistics not at the top.
- The Office of the Registrar was working very closely with several partners on campus and through the tri-campus system to monitor, analyze and continue to address the recent major fluctuations.
- November 2022 saw 492 graduates, and June we saw a record number of graduating students at 2458.
- Graduation rates at the four-, five- and six-year mark had increased by a few percentages each year.
In response to a member’s question, Ms Neebar confirmed that UTM students still preferred graduation ceremonies held in Convocation Hall on the St. George campus.
- Operating Plans: Service Ancillaries for 2023-24
The Chair invited Deborah Brown, Chief Administrative Officer, to introduce the item. Ms Brown noted that Service Ancillaries at U of T were measured over the long-term on their success in meeting Service Ancillary Reporting Group (SARG) objectives. Ancillaries received no subsidy from the UTM Operating budget, had to provide for sustainable capital renewal including deferred maintenance, and maintain a 10% operating reserve. She reported that at UTM, the ancillaries re-invested all positive net results to provide improved facilities, equipment and services to students, faculty and staff. Ms Brown further explained that the rising costs of food, construction and overall inflation had an impact at UTM, similarly to all other universities. She expressed her thanks to students, faculty and staff who participated in the consultations for these ancillary budgets.
The CAO then invited Antonia Lo, Director, Student Services and Ancillaries, Hospitality & Ancillary Services, Brian Cunha, Director, Student Housing & Residence Life, and Andrea DeVito, Director, Operations & Administration, to provide details on the proposed ancillary budgets.
During their , they shared the following information:
- In Student Housing & Residence Life, the prior year actuals included net operating results before transfers of $1.9 million and the $4.9 million transfer out represented a return of funds previously reflected as transfers in from the UTM operating budget for the new residence construction project.
- The current year's forecast anticipated a net operating loss of $1.4 million which was consistent with the budget; the budgeted net operating loss was largely attributed to the cost of the townhouse renovations; for the 2023-24 budget the ancillary was anticipating a $1.3 million net operating loss, which again was primarily the result of the cost of another significant renovation of existing residence buildings.
- In Hospitality Services, the prior actuals included a net operating loss of 946,000 attributed to the reduced level of activity on campus; the current year forecast was anticipating a small net operating profit rounded up to $3000; the ancillary was planning for an almost full return to pre-pandemic levels of operation.
- In Parking Services, the prior actuals included a $1,000,000 net operating loss before transfers as a result of the significantly lower than normal level of parking sales due to the continued work from home and hybrid learning arrangements; like the other ancillaries, the 2021-22 actuals were more favorable than what was previously forecast; for the current year forecast, the ancillary was anticipating a return to positive net operating results of $963,000 in each of the years shown.
- The Ancillary budget consultation process comprised of several meetings each in the fall of 2022, and included the Student Housing Advisory Committee, the Food Services Advisory Committee, the Resident Student Dining Committee, and the Transportation & Parking Advisory Committee.
- Residence had completed a price comparison of housing rates to partners on the St. George and UTSC campuses, other universities in Ontario and off campus housing rates in Peel.
- Proposed residence rate increases for 2023-24 were higher than previously to make a correction for the inflated costs of goods and services and some of the extensive renovations undertaken.
- A rate increase of 8.75% was being proposed in most residence areas; graduate medicine and family residence student increases were kept to 5.5% based on the feedback through consultation.
- For Hospitality and Food Services, the recent Canada Food Report and the Vector Institute predicted a 5 to 7% inflation in food prices; UTM was proposing a 6.7% food price increase and a 6.8% increase in the Basic meal plan (no change was proposed for Flex).The overall average meal plan cost was proposed to increase by 6.1%.
- For Parking, the ancillary was looking to contribute to the construction reserve in 2025-26 in order to explore viable parking building sites to offset future loss of existing surface parking; the ancillary was exploring the purchase of a license plate recognition system and increasing the charging ports to 12 for electric vehicles (EV) on campus. Parking was proposing a 2% increase for P4/P8 permit types and 3% for all others. There was no increase proposed for Pay & Display rates.
During the discussion, members asked questions about plans for charging stations for electric vehicles, their expansion, and related costs.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried
YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED
THAT, the proposed 2023-24 Operating Plans and Budgets for the UTM Service Ancillaries, as summarized in Schedule 1, the service ancillary capital budgets as summarized in Schedule 5, and the rates and fees in Schedule 6, in the proposal dated December 2, 2022, be approved, effective May 1, 2023.
- Reports of the Presidential Assessors: Update on the development of the 2022-23 Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees
At the invitation of the Chair, Mark Overton, Dean of Students provided an update on recent work in the development of development of the 2022-23 Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees.
Mr. Overton noted that at the Committee’s next meeting, he would be bringing forward the advice of UTM’s Quality Service to Students committee (QSS), which provided student governments with opportunities whether to support proposed increases to non-academic incidental fees that partially or fully funded student services, such as the Health & Counselling Centre, the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre, the intercampus Shuttle Service, the Career Centre, the International Education Centre, the Centre for Student Engagement and others. He explained that these consultation processes included multiple open advisory groups convened by each services’ directors and managers on what they offered and their impacts, what’s proposed for the coming year, and any related changes in fees with intent of gathering feedback from both undergraduate and graduate student government representatives.
He showed a summary of the proposed fees to be brought forward at the next CAC meeting, noting that the proposed fees compared favourably to those offered across the tri-campus.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried
YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED
THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 7 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.
- Report on Capital Projects – as at November 30, 2022
- Report of the Previous Meeting
Report number 55, dated October 18, 2022, was approved.
- Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
- Date of Next Meeting – February 8, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on February 8, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
There was no other business.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:27 p.m.
January 13, 2023