Report: UTM Campus Affairs Committee - March 22, 2023



March 22, 2023


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on March 22, 2023, at 3:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis Building.

Rafael Chiuzi (in the Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Andreas Bendlin (Acting Interim Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Principal, Student Services), Laura Ferlito, Jerry Flores, Melissa Gniadek, Jessica Hanley, Yuhong He, Ashley Monks, Hans van Monsjou, Caleb Samuels, Ziyaad Vahed, Payam Zahedi

Non-Voting Assessors:
Luke Barber, (Executive Director, Digital & Physical Infrastructure), Christine Esteban (Executive Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Chad Nuttall (Assistant Dean of Students and International Initiatives), Andrea Urie (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success)

Regrets: Nagham Abdalahad, Shehrbano Ali, Maria Chacin, Crystal Cheng, Robert Gerlai, Claudiu Gradinaru, Adriana Grimaldi, Shelley Hawrychuk, Ciska Luwawu, Jessica Silver, Laura Taylor, Jay Thakar, Muhammad Wahid

In Attendance: Rabeeya Amjad (Director, Planning & Analysis), Beverley Ayeni (Sustainability Manager, Strategic Initiatives), Ahmed Azhari, (Managing Director, Operations, Sustainability & Asset Management), Soo Min Toh (Faculty Lead, UTM Abroad trip), Pilar Allier Ortiz and Justin-Carl Eide (Student Presenters, UTM Abroad), Veronica Vasquez (Director, International Education Centre)

Cindy Ferencz-Hammond (Assistant Secretary)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the cycle five meeting of the Committee.  
  2. Sustainability Presentation

    At the invitation of the Chair, Ahmed Azhari, Managing Director, Operations, Sustainability & Asset Management and Beverley Ayeni, Sustainability Manager, Strategic Initiatives, both from Facilities Management & Planning provided a presentation on UTM’s sustainability initiatives.

    They provided an overview of UTM’s sustainability strategic plan, shared insights on the goals and targets identified in the plan and summarized accomplishments in the area over the past year. 

    Some of the highlights of  their presentation, were as follows:
  • Sustainability Strategic Plan was created in 2020 through the work of the Principal’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2019.

  • The Plan had 26 goals and over 100 targets for embedding sustainability on campus under 5 main pillars, which included: Academic Programs and Curriculum, Research, Campus Engagement, Civic Engagement, Human Resources and Infrastructure (which itself had 6 sub-pillars).
  • Progress was inclusive of January 2021-April 2022 and included the launch of the Global Sustainability Certificate of Completion, with 143 students participating and further 324 on a waitlist.  Other accomplishments included participating in six Campus as a living lab, and experiential learning projects; organizing Sustainability Week 2021 & 2022, partnering with Lecture ME Series!, piloting new 4-1 waste bins and the OZZI reusable container program and local honey and produce harvested by the Hospitality Department.
  • Highlights of accomplishments over the past year included completion of an inventory of Sustainability Scholars at UTM, launching a sustainability and waste ambassador program, a climate panel discussion, collaborations with the Peel Environmental Youth Alliance's Amazing Green Race and the City of Mississauga, and many more projects.
  • A description of UTM’s draft Carbon Action plan with a focus on facilities and built environment, which had the largest potential for delivering long term significant and cost effective GHG reductions.  The plan was based on the three principles of improving power and thermal production, distributing energy more efficiently, and reducing energy consumption.
  • Next steps in UTM’s plan were to develop one concrete Action Plan that supported U of T’s carbon vision, transform infrastructure to support future decarbonization and electrification projects, and boost carbon reduction efforts by executing short and medium term energy conservation measures. 

    A member asked about the costs associated with these initiatives.  Mr. Azhari explained that UTM was still in the process of estimating costs through its energy consultant, focusing on identifying energy conservation measures and operational feasibility.  The Chief Administrative Officer, Ms Brown further noted that UTM was also analyzing its sustainability goals through the lens of deferred maintenance needs to see where the two could be combined synergistically.  She added that UTM would also look at other possible sources of funding for its sustainability initiatives, including the government. The Vice-President & Principal remarked that she had seen some of the preliminary costing associated with UTM’s sustainability goals and she was pleased to note that there were opportunities for government funding in conjunction with work associated with deferred maintenance.  She also added that she was optimistic of the work UTM was doing in the local space in addressing the challenge of a lifetime.
  1. Overview of the UTM Campus Operating Budget for 2023-24

    The Chair reminded members that members received an overview of campus strategic priorities by the Vice-President & Principal, and the Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean in the fall and in Cycle 4, a presentation on the University’s Budget Report 2023-24 and Long-Range Budget Guidelines 2023-24 to 2027-28 was also provided. He noted that these earlier items culminated in the campus operating budget presentation today.  He invited from the Budget, Planning & Finance Office, Christine Esteban, Executive Director, and Rabeeya Amjad, Director, Planning & Analysis to provide the presentation.

    During their presentation, Ms Esteban and Ms Amjad highlighted the following points:
  • UTM was committed to a balanced budget, so that the net amount it received from UofT was allocated in the full amount of the gross expense budget to the individual UTM budgets, but no more.

  • Among the budget challenges, UTM specifically experienced enrollment fluctuations, so the five-year financial plan included streamlining the operating budget and implementing some cost containment measures.
  • UTM's pursuit of growth strategy, which was initiated in 2016 to meet essential needs for physical space and for faculty and staff needed to slow down.
  • In the past year, UTM established a budget planning committee with both academic and administrative representation in order to find solutions and develop integrated budget management strategies.
  • Budget strategies addressed the five-year total projected deficit of $150 million at UTM and included:
    • Increase international recruitment by 100 students annually from 2023-2024;
    • Increase in future summer enrolment;
    • Reduce non-compensation budgets across the board, starting 2023-24;
    • Reduce academic carry-forward allowances;
    • Retain balances over allowance - limits from academic carry-forwards;
    • Continue to cap professional managerial and unionized staff numbers;
    • Hire fewer net new faculty positions (from >30 to <20 over 5 years);
    • Defer hires for select vacant staff positions;
    • Reduce/defer future capital development budgets; and
    • Decrease OTO annual budget for new strategic initiatives.
  • UTM’s enrolment targets for 2023-24 represented no change to domestic intake targets (2662) and an additional 100 (1280) in international students.
  • Total targeted headcount for 2023-24 for undergraduate students was 14,757 (10,586 domestic and 4171 international) and for graduate students at 517 (357 domestic and 160 international).
  • Key revenue assumptions with respect to the operating budget showed the ongoing negative impact of flat revenues over the next five years, including domestic tuition increases remaining frozen instead of the planned 3% increase, which meant an additional $2 million reduction in 23-24.  International student tuition in 2023-24 would see a 2% increase.
  • The UTM 2023-24 balanced budget consisted of revenues in the amount of $425 million and expenditures of $344 million, with $52 million put aside for University Wide Costs (library, pension) and $29 million for Student Aid, which included international scholarships.
  • Faculty and staff compensation represented the largest part of expenditures at 65%.
  • The 2022-23 search schedule included a total of 27 FTEs for faculty, consisting of 11 replacements and 16 growth hires.  For staff, planned hires included several attached to the academic plan, increased facilities staff for the New Science Building and limited administrative staff.
  • Key spending priorities for 2023-24 were aligned with UTM’s Strategic Framework and its six areas of focus, with some highlights as follows:
    • International diversification efforts via an international scholarship, with UTM contributing 6% for 2023-24.
    • New scholarships for entering class and renewing those in their second year who qualified.
    • Continued supports for the Health & Counselling Centre, Accessibility Services and the Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre.
    • Increased student support to include 1.5 continuing staff in base funding and 3.5 in one time only (OTO) positions with a two-year term commitment funneled towards student crisis support, student conduct, immigration advising and the Student Services Hub.
    • Contributions towards research discovery included modernization of 8 growth chamber facilities in the Davis building, increased funding for the Postdoctoral Fellowship Award and the Teaching Research Activity Fund, among others.
    • To support Collaboration and Belonging, support would be set aside for student financial aid for students from equity-deserving groups and for one staff in an OTO position to increase Indigenous community services and inclusive community wellness.
    • To support Efficient and Sustainable Operations, three OTO staff were planned to support both the Human Resources and Project Management Office portfolios.  Additionally, the budget included equipment, software, hardware, and service upgrades.
  • A portion of the budget was also set aside for buildings renovations and maintenance and capital projects.  

    At the conclusion of the presentation, the Vice-President & Principal reported that the Provost had been very supportive of the budget plans and priority investment areas outlined by UTM.  Professor Gillespie announced that for the first time since 2018, 50% of the funds normally held institutionally at UofT from UTM over enrollment in the 2021-22 academic year, would be awarded back to the campus.  That figure amounted to $7.76 million, which would be invested in student advising, wellness and equity efforts, sustainability, and digital security.

    In response to a member’s question about the various budget strategies, Ms Esteban explained that the plan was to increase international student enrolment targets by 100 annually starting in 2023-24 and increase future summer enrollment. Additional strategies included: a reduction of all non-compensation budgets by 3%, as well as a decrease of the academic year-end carry forward threshold from 3% to 1.5%.  A member wondered if any of the cost containment measures were being felt by students.    It was explained that reductions were not made in the student support areas and in fact, there had been an increase in funding via various student support initiatives. Professor Gillespie further emphasized that the central principle in this constrained financial environment at UTM was that it would not impact the quality of student experience, student access and wellbeing.
  1. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    Chad Nuttall, Assistant Dean of Students and International Initiatives introduced the following presenters to discuss the UTM Abroad program and its trip to Iceland: Professor SooMin Toh, Faculty Lead; Pilar Allier Ortiz and Justin-Carl Eide, Student Participants; and Veronica Vasquez, Director, International Education Centre.

    Ms Vasquez began the presentation by noting that the UTM Abroad program provided short-term immersive international travel opportunities for students and administrative support for the faculty who planned the experiences.  which could be curricular and embedded into UTM courses or co-curricular, each led by UTM faculty.  Significant need-based grant support was available to help make these experiences affordable.

    Professor SooMin Toh, who led a recent UTM Abroad trip to Iceland, provided an overview of the various program elements and how they connected to her students’ classroom learning about international management theory and practice.  Two student participants, Ms Ortiz and Mr. Eide shared highlights of the Study Abroad Iceland learning experience.

    During discussion, members heard that the IEC conducted an extensive safety audit for all UTM Abroad programs and with respect to accommodation, different locations offered different options such as billeting with local families to hotel stays.   


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 6 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Report on Capital Projects – as at January 31, 2023
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting

    Report number 57, dated February 8, 2023, was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – May 8, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on May 8, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
  5. Other Business

    There was no other business.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:33 p.m.

March 24, 2023