Report: UTM Campus Affairs Committee - October 22, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting


OCTOBER 22, 2020

To the Campus Council, University of Toronto Mississauga,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on October 22, 2020 at 3:10 p.m. via a Virtual Meeting Room.

Present: Joseph Leydon (Chair), Robert Gerlai (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Saher Fazilat (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Nagham Abdalahad, Diana Aldaz, Lee Bailey, Imre Gams, Adriana Grimaldi, Claudiu Gradinaru, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Tanya Kenesky, Ashley Monks, Hans van Monsjou, James Parker, Stephanie Santos, Joanna Szurmak, Laura Taylor, Anthony Wensley, Mitra Yakubi, Marc Yegani

Non-Voting Assessors: Tammy Cook (Executive Director, Facilities, Management & Planning), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Financial & Budget Services)

Regrets: Dario Di Censo, Noha Farawi, Allen Lu, Brandon Nageer, Ryan Tomlinson, Fatima Yakubi

In Attendance: Lorretta Neebar (Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management)

Secretariat: Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting and welcomed Ms Diana Aldaz, newly elected administrative staff member to the Committee.
  2. Status Report on UTM Campus Strategic Priorities

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President and Principal and Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, gave a presentation that outlined the status of the strategic priorities of the campus.

    With respect to the timeline of budget development, Professor Gillespie noted that in November, UTM would be discussing its budget plans with the Provost and the Vice President of University Operations, and would receive approval of its enrollment plans in the budget in February of 2021. The University’s institutional budget would then proceed for governance consideration and it, along with the UTM campus operating budget would then be presented for information to UTM governance bodies.

    Addressing enrollment intake for 2021 to 2022, the target intake had been a total of 3842 undergraduate students broken down into 2662 domestic and 1147 international students. In terms of variance from those targets, the estimated actuals were at 2367 domestic students, a variance of 295 and 1124 international students, a variance of 56.

    Moving on from enrollment to faculty recruitment, Professor Gillespie reported that in alignment with UTM’s academic plan implementation, 29 searches would be conducted, across all disciplines.

    Faculty hiring would be focused in some key areas, which aligned with strategic priorities and included Medicinal Chemistry, Robotics, Indigenous Studies Critical Digital Humanities, Population Health, and South Asian Civilizations. There would be continued focus placed on improving the diversity and recruitment of faculty members. She noted that her office was looking forward to implementing the recommendations that arose out of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion retreat, which was being planned for early November, as well as supporting a BIPOPC faculty action plan, which included some targeted funding to support faculty success.

    Professor Gillespie next focused on the status of research planning, noting that a formal strategic planning exercise would begin in 2021, and UTM would promote fundamental research across seven clusters that had been identified in the Excellence, Innovation, Leadership, the University of Toronto Strategic Research Plan 2018-23. UTM would also promote its role in tri-campus strategic initiatives such as the Digital Humanities Network, the School of Cities, and Medicine by Design, while also looking to implement new strategies to increase UTM and U of T's share of tri-council funding, and looking for more investment in research from both industry and philanthropy.

    With respect to the campus capital plan, Professor Gillespie explained that a campus master planning exercise would be moving into the consultation phase and the UTM community would be invited to provide feedback to a Draft Master Plan. UTM had completed the Davis Building Meeting Place revitalization project, and was moving forward on capital projects, including the Science building, the Student Services Commons, the Arts, Culture and Technology Building, a new residence and the Robotics Laboratory Environment. Finally, UTM was also participating in conversations with indigenous members of its community and indigenous communities beyond UTM about Indigenous place making at UTM.

    The presentation was continued by Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean.

    She reported that a draft sustainability strategic plan had been completed and would be presented to the Vice-President and Principal in the coming weeks. She noted that one of the highlights in the plan is the recommendation of a cluster hire of five faculty who specialize in different areas of sustainability. Also planned was UTM’s participation in its first Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), which is overseen by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and is a process that involves ranking and monitoring the progress of academic institutions on sustainability over time.

    Professor Daniere next discussed writing and numeracy initiatives, which had been a fundamental core of UTM academic plan, and reported that , a new Extra Departmental Unit A was created, in the form of the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy or ISUP. Four new faculty had been hired to teach exclusively for ISUP, with five more planned this year.

    Professor Daniere noted that last year also saw some important hires: in Robotics, and new Indigenous faculty in Historical Studies. In addition, the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) was planning on introducing a new program called Technology, Coding and Society and planning on moving its Digital Enterprise Management Program, fully out of Sheridan College to UTM.

    Professor Daniere reported that in terms of experiential learning opportunities, UTM had been able to offer a variety of courses with experiential education as their core operating principle, and has continued to incorporate such material taught in the virtual classroom. While the number of experiential learning placements in physical settings has been seriously affected due to COVID-19, there had been a good proportion of virtual experiential learning opportunities.

    To conclude her report, Professor Daniere, noted student retention would be an important focus in the coming year. The Office of the Registrar, in conjunction with the Office of the Dean of Students, planned to create a student advising initiative, that would provide more comprehensive, cohesive and supportive academic advising.

    In response to a member’s question about COVID-19 and longer term plans, Professor Gillespie explained that it was anticipated that the effects of the pandemic would continue to be felt, through to the end of this academic year, and possibly into the fall of 2021 as well, her hope was to have increased in person interactions, always following the advice of public health authorities.
  3. Impact of COVID-19 on Enrolment and Budget

    The Chair invited Ms Christine Capewell, Executive Director, Planning and Budget to present. Ms Capewell noted that there had been a large variance in domestic enrollment as illustrated in the previous presentation, in conjunction with a shortfall in international enrollment. She noted however, that international shortfall had not been as extensive as predicted. To demonstrate the financial impact of COVID-19 on UTM’s operating budget, she showed the predicated financial impact of the enrolment shortfall from 2021 until 2025-26, as the cohort moved through to graduation. At the same time, summer enrollment had been substantially over target, and so that provided a positive variance, amid the negative numbers shown. She explained that the loss of other revenue mostly consisted of the ancillaries of residence and parking, and while these ancillaries were not part of the UTM operating budget, parking could not afford to repay its loan to the UTM operating budget in the current year, and parking and residence would most likely require additional loans to continue to operate, with the hope that the loans would be repaid once conditions normalized. At the same time, there had been significant investments in teaching costs to support a transition to an online learning environment and scholarship support and student aid spending. Other increased costs arose out of spending on personal protective equipment, signage and quarantine costs. Ms Capewell noted that as a result, the total impact on the UTM budget in the current year was $12 million and with impacts that lasted through a five year period, there was a projected net impact of $15.3 million.

    Ms Capewell continued her presentation with plans to address the financial impacts of COVID-19. There would be savings due to delays in both faculty and staff hires. She noted that UTM had been very successful in redeploying staff across the campus and was currently resuming a more regular filling of existing and new positions. With respect to central UTM budget savings, these were comprised of contingencies, and other savings, which had been identified through delays in some infrastructure projects. UTM also undertook to review the plans of all its capital projects, and made adjustments where possible in costs and timing of projects. Overall, UTM had a plan in place to address COVID-19 impacts.
  4. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, to provide updates on the development of the service ancillary budgets as well as on the Campus Master Plan.

    Ms Fazilat noted that the ancillary budgets would be presented for governance consideration in the next cycle of the Committee. All of the ancillary budgets were currently in the consultation phase of their budget development, and were going ahead with their advisory meetings despite the financial effects as described in the previous presentations.

    With respect to the campus master plan, the CAO, reported that the project was moving well and since March, a firm had been engaged that offered online consultation with both the internal and the external community. She reminded members that the community had until October 31 to contribute to these consultations. The draft plan would be submitted for governance consideration in late spring or early fall.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

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

  1. Report on Capital Projects – as at September 30, 2020
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 42 – September 14, 2020 Report number 42, dated September14, 2020, was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – January 6, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.9. Other Business

    There was no other business.

    The meeting was adjourned at 4:01 p.m.

October 23, 2020