Report: UTM Campus Affairs Committee - October 29, 2019

Council Chamber, Room 3130, William G. Davis Building, UTM


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on October 29, 2019 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chambers, William G. Davis Building.

Joseph Leydon (Chair), Robert Gerlai (Vice-Chair), Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President & Principal), Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Saher Fazilat (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Nagham Abdalahad, Lee Bailey, Arthur Birkenbergs, Dario Di Censo, Imre Gams, Adriana Grimaldi, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Tanya Kenesky, Linnet Kocheril, Cesar Lozano, Hans van Monsjou, James Parker, Joanna Szurmak, Gerhard Trippen, Anthony Wensley

Non-Voting Assessors:
Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Financial & Budget Services), Andrea Carter (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success), Stepanka Elias (Director, Operations, Design & Construction)

Gary Crawford, Yasmin Farid, Mdu Mhlanga, Alexis Robinson, Steven Short, Mira Tabch

In Attendance:

Nour Alideeb (Chair, Quality Service to Students committee & Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students), Miguel Cabral (Campus Council member), Alysha Ferguson (Manager, Community Engaged Learning, Centre for Student Engagement), Brian Hoppie (Acting Manager, Parking & Transportation), Brian Kennedy (Financial Manager, Student Housing & Residence Life), Felicity Morgan (Director, Career Centre), Anuar Rodrigues (Director, Academic Planning, Policy & Research)

Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council

  1. Chair’s Remarks
    The Chair welcomed members to the meeting and reminded them about the upcoming governance elections. Nominations for elected positions on the UTM CAC would open during the first week of January 2020. Nominations for the following positions would be sought: one administrative staff; two teaching staff; and six student positions, split between four full-time undergraduate, one graduate and one part-time undergraduate students. Members with questions should contact the Deputy Returning Officer, Cindy Ferencz Hammond.
  2. Human Resources Update
    The Chair invited Mr. Nader Boutros, Director, UTM Human Resources, to present the item. Mr. Boutros reminded members that a Human Resources Review had been conducted in 2018 in order to assess the satisfaction of clients with existing services, advise on the strengths and challenges existing within the organizational structure and provide insight on the competencies across the HR team. Consultations with faculty and staff at UTM had identified a number of concerns and opportunities for improvement. Mr. Boutros reported that there was a perception that the availability of HR resources has not kept pace with UTM’s growth, and that while services were generally accessible and responsive, there was an emphasis on paper-based documentation, which was contributing to a slowing of related processes. The review also indicated that there was an interest in having access to a dedicated labour relations presence at UTM and that there was a need for local and University-wide programs and systems to support existing and emerging managers, with an emphasis on new academic managers. Mr. Boutros was pleased to report that progress had been made many of the review’s recommendations, including having dedicated labour relations support and expertise at UTM, moving away from a paper-based HR system, and increasing the visibility and understanding of the HR office of the operational challenges of each operational unit on campus.

    Mr. Boutros continued his presentation with the 2019-20 Strategic Objectives of the UTM HR office, which he planned to develop each year going forward. The strategic plan focused on four pillars: Client Service, Diversity & Inclusion, Staff Engagement and Efficiency. Mr. Boutros described initiatives already underway and progress made under each of these pillars. With respect to client services, operational walk-throughs had been conducted in various departments, resulting in improved strategic planning and a sharing of best practices across the campus. To further improve services, specific HR portfolio contact sheets had been developed so that clients could easily reach their appropriate HR contacts. Mr. Boutros noted that much focus had been placed on the availability of training on the UTM campus and work would continue to focus on addressing UTM specific needs.

    With respect to Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, Mr. Boutros explained that partnerships had been developed with the Equity & Diversity Office, and with the Connections & Conversations group and through community partnerships to host events, speakers and promote services in support of this important goal. He cited the example of his office’s partnership with Peel Family Services in delivering an information session for newcomers to Canada.

    Moving to the strategic pillar of Staff Engagement, Mr. Boutros reported that much work was planned and already accomplished with the launch of a new recognition program and various staff appreciation events. Further plans included an improved onboarding toolkit, toolkits for new managers and Department Chairs and an updated website, with UTM specific information. UTM HR was also partnering with the Centre for Learning, Leadership and Culture (LLC) to bring course offerings to UTM.

    Mr. Boutros concluded his presentation by discussing the strategic pillar of Efficiency, which included leveraging new technology, being less paper-based, and the implementation of Service Now and Success Factors, platforms which would increase efficiencies in standard processes such as performance assessments. He was pleased to report that efforts on making the job description classification process more efficient have resulted in the process taking substantially less time than before.

    In response to a member’s question about whether a checklist was available for those planning their retirement, Mr. Boutros, explained that such standardized information for off boarding was being developed and was on the horizon. A member asked about how HR was strategically oriented given that it was a provider of services, while also being a controller of standards. Mr. Boutros explained that his definition of strategic orientation was focused on providing guidance and analytical problem solving for each unit’s plans and stated goals.

    A member asked about plans concerning staff recognition and Mr. Boutros explained that plans were underway to substantially expand and restructure staff recognition and awards. The plans included looking at ways to make it easier for someone to be nominated, and consistency and transparency across processes. The UTM community would hear more about progress on this front as plans were further developed.

    A member cited an example of communications related to an unpaid leave and suggested that there could be a greater focus streamlining communications that are sent to UTM staff from the central HR offices. Mr. Boutros agreed and asked for further specific feedback on this and related issues that he could take forward for improvement.
  3. Campus Strategic Priorities
    The Chair informed members that the presentation would discuss campus strategic priorities, which included enrolment, capital plans and the academic plan, and would address the assessment of progress toward long-term goals. The Chair then invited Professor Emeritus Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President & Principal, and Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, to present.

    Professor Orchard provided an overview of the timelines related to the development of UTM’s operating budget. He discussed managing undergraduate enrolment growth and modeling new intake figures for 2020-21 at approximately the same intake as that of 2019-20, at 3842 students. He noted that considering the pressures of a large intake of students on the campus, UTM was also in the process of considering how a slightly lower intake model would impact the operating budget. He reported that although UTM could not confirm exact numbers until the figures to the Provincial government had been reported on November 1, UTM had approximately 14900 students. He noted that if UTM were to maintain intake at 3842 students, a steady state of 15300 students would be reached by the year 2021-22. Moving on to international student enrolment, Professor Orchard indicated that currently, UTM international student intake was at 30.2%, which was close to the targeted 30.7%, and accounted for 25.7% of the student population. While still largely dependent on a single source country at 67%, UTM was making long-term efforts to enhance recruitment activity in targeted regions throughout the world.

    Professor Orchard explained that on the graduate student enrolment front, UTM’s priorities were focused on enhancing the student experience both at the research level and at the Professional Master’s level and increasing enrolment in both streams.

    Professor Orchard continued his presentation with a discussion of the ongoing priority of the student to faculty ratio, noting that due to focused faculty recruitment activity, since 2018, UTM had improved this ratio from 30.9 to an estimated 30.2, against a target of 30.0. Comparative 2018 ratios for the Faculty of Arts & Science and the University of Toronto Scarborough were 28.2 and 30.0, respectively. Professor Orchard indicated that 32 faculty searches were in-progress this year, 14 of them growth positions. He added that UTM has had great success rates with such searches in the past, with a 94% success rate in 2017-18 and a 78% success rate in 2018-19, which meant that UTM was very competitive in attracting high quality faculty.

    Professor Orchard then addressed the priority of strengthening research. There would be ongoing focus on the development of research clusters in Computer Science and Robotics and rigorous participation in Canadian Foundation of Innovation competitions.

    The final priority Professor Orchard discussed was the Capital Plan. He was pleased to note that the official opening and naming of Maanjiwe nendamowinan (Gathering of Minds) was scheduled for November 22, 2019 and that the Davis2 Meeting Place Revitalization project had progressed well, with work on the front entrance continuing as fast as possible. Professor Orchard indicated that investment in the Sciences was strong, with the new Science building slated for its official ground-breaking ceremony this fall. Other capital projects that were priorities and in various stages of planning were the Arts-Culture-Technology (ACT) building, a new residence, and the consolidation of all student-facing services into one location, as a Student Services Commons.

    Professor Orchard closed his part of the presentation by expressing his excitement for UTM’s role in participating in the upcoming National Innovation Fund from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, where UTM, in collaboration with other partners, expected that it would submit applications totalling $24 M in value

    In response to a member’s question about potential donors for naming UTM’s new buildings, Professor Orchard explained that the Office of Advancement was actively exploring all such possibilities, in accordance with the University's Policy on Naming. On the topic of the library being a component of student service provision and how this might relate to the planned Student Services Commons, Mr. Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs and Vice-Principal, Student Services, explained that the Commons was meant to be a home for student-facing Student Affairs staff; he added that he could see opportunities for this unit to also promote the student services offered by the library.

    The Chair called on Professor Daniere, to continue to the next part of the campus strategic priorities presentation, related to the Academic Plan (Plan). She reminded members of the key themes and specific goals outlined in the Plan. She noted that her office had established metrics to measure progress on the implementation of the Plan and indicated that the dashboard, which was available on the Dean’s office website, was updated quarterly. Her presentation detailed ongoing efforts that served to achieve the goals outlined in the Plan.

    Academic Plan 2019-20 Priorities included the following:
  • Sustainability initiatives (Global Climate Strike/STTPA Conference/Certificate);
  • Writing and numeracy initiatives, with the goal of hiring of 5 new faculty and approval of a new Extra-Departmental Unit A (EDU-A);
  • Expansion of Experiential Learning opportunities (and professional experience certificates)
  • Oversee faculty growth and renewal: Support the development of research clusters in areas leading to new programs both at the undergraduate (e.g. social coding as well as robotics) and graduate (urban innovation) levels while ensuring strategic renewal within current departments.
  • Enhance diversity of faculty and staff, including appropriate training;
  • Arts, Culture, and Technology Building: Bridging areas across a range of departments and units: ICCIT, Computer Science & Robotics, Blackwood Gallery, UTM Indigenous Centre and more.

    A member praised the work of the Task Force on Academic Planning and commended the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean on the progress of its implementation thus far. In response to a member’s question about whether communication related courses would also be increased as part of the writing initiatives, Professor Daniere noted that these would be part of the foundational writing courses. She further explained that participating departments would administer a well-established test to their students to measure their skills. Those who did not pass the test would be required to take another, non-credit course and pass that course in order to then be able to take the foundational writing course.

4. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

i) Update on the Development of the 2020-21 Operating Plans – UTM Service Ancillaries Budgets

The Chair invited Ms Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, to present an update to members on the UTM Service Ancillaries Budgets, which would be considered by this Committee at its meeting on January 15, 2020. Ms Fazilat showed a list of ancillary advisory committees and noted that consultations meetings had already occurred for some and would continue for the near future, as the ancillary budgets were being developed. Regarding the Food advisory committees, she noted that thus far, discussions had centered around widening of food choices, including more plant-based options and that rate adjustments thus far aligned with forecasted Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases. Ms Fazilat also reported that with respect to the Transportation & Parking Subcommittee, discussions so far had focused on the consideration of differential rates for Parking Lot 9 and the CCT garage, since P9 had experienced very high demand this fall. She noted that keeping rate increases at or below the CPI had been a goal of these discussions.

ii) Update on the Campus Master Plan

The Chair invited Ms Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, to provide an update on the renewal of the Campus master Plan. Ms. Fazilat noted that an external consultant would be hired in order to carry out the complex work related to updating UTM’s Master Plan, which required extensive environmental and traffic studies. The plan was to have the consultants in place to conduct campus wide consultations on the master plan during the spring of 2020.


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 September 30, 2019
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 36 – September 12, 2019

Report number 36, dated September 12, 2019 was approved.

  1. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  2. Date of Next Meeting – January 15, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
  3. Other Business

There was no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

October 31, 2019