REPORT NUMBER 48 OF THE CAMPUS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
September 13, 2021
To the Campus Council, University of Toronto Mississauga,
Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on September 13, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. via a Virtual Meeting Room.
Robert Gerlai (Chair), Rafael Chiuzi, (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Rhonda McEwen (Vice-Principal Academic and Dean), Susan Senese (Interim Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Nagham Abdalahad, Diana Aldaz, Layana Alnabhan, Esther Baffour, Lee Bailey, Dario Di Censo, Melissa Gniadek, Adriana Grimaldi, Jessica Hanley, Yuhong He, Sam Hosn, Pinar Kahraman, Ashley Monks, Jay Nirula, James Parker, Stephanie Santos, Evan Silva, Jessica Silver, Laura Taylor
Luke Barber (Executive Director, Facilities, Management & Planning and IIT&S)
Andrea Carter, Jenny Cui, Claudiu Gradinaru, Shelley Hawrychuk, Hans van Monsjou, Fatima Yakubi
Professor Scott Mabury (Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships); Sonia Lizzi (Financial Services); Felicity Morgan (Career Centre); Yan Tam Seguin (Student Affairs and Services); Bernard Hau (Facilities Planning).
Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)
- Chair’s Remarks
The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the Campus Affairs Committee for the 2021- 22 academic year. He introduced the Committee’s Presidential Assessors and new members and provided reminders about virtual meeting procedures.
- Key Portfolio Challenges and Priorities for 2021-22
At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Rhonda McEwen, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean,
Ms Susan Senese, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, and Mr. Mark Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs, provided overviews of their portfolios and their priorities for 2021-22.
Professor McEwen reported that the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean added two new special advisors, one on Equity Deserving Groups in Science, Technology, and Mathematics, led by
Professor Emerita Judith Poë from the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, and the second in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion led by Professor Negin Dahya from the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology. These positions would connect into existing work in that area by multiple UTM units. She reported that the Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies portfolio has been expanded to include Postdoctoral Affairs and will be led in an Acting capacity by Professor Bryan Stewart.
Reporting on priorities for the upcoming year, Professor McEwen, addressed the Undergraduate & Graduate Student Educational Experience Report recommendations and noted that her office would be focused on implementing the tri-campus report’s recommendations in the coming months. Other priorities of the office included reviewing issues of equity within the faculty area and overseeing faculty growth with 34 planned searches, which was an increase over last year’s searches. Academic Integrity would be another area of focus and her office would be examining the significant rise in cases during the pandemic. Systemic and pedagogical factors such as remote learning would be considered. Professor McEwen noted that another area of focus was to embed equity diversity and inclusion within all functional areas managed by the Dean’s office. Finally, two other areas of priority included a Provostial review of UTM, which would be done in conjunction with the Offices of the Dean of Student Affairs, the CAO and the Chief Librarian and the completion of the Academic Plan which was in its last year of completion. She acknowledged the work of Professor Amrita Daniere, the previous Vice-Principal Academic & Dean with respect to the development and execution of the Academic Plan thus far.
To conclude her presentation, Professor McEwen reported on fall 2021 course delivery, noting that the total number of courses with at least one in-person delivery component was 213, out of a total number of 791 courses. There had been 15747 students enrolled in at least one online course, with 8702 students enrolled in a course with at least one in-person delivery component. Professor McEwen noted that informed by regular contact with and guidance from Peel Public Health, UTM’s approach was to transition back to in-person campus operation in January of 2022.
In response to a member’s question about campus space shortages and how the planned 34 new faculty searches could be accommodated, Professor McEwen explained that faculty complement planning had included detailed space planning and that no approvals had been granted without an accompanying space assignment. She also noted that some of the 34 searches would be replacing retirements. A member commented that faculty were able to make decisions about in-person or online teaching for the fall 2021 term and asked whether this would extend to the winter term. Professor McEwen explained that the goal was to get back to in-person teaching in January, but that this would be guided and informed by advice from Peel Public Health. She noted that she would communicate about this with the UTM community on a regular basis and she expected to have more concrete information on this issue in October.
The Chair called on the Interim Chief Administrative Officer to discuss her portfolio and goals for 2021-22. Ms Senese referred members to the organizational chart of her office and provided an overview of their responsibilities. She reported that priorities for her office included managing COVID-19 impact and supporting each UTM area with pandemic planning and re-entry. She noted that UTM had formed an operational readiness committee that was comprised of all units and departments of the campus, whose goal was to ensure UTM was quickly pivoting and adapting to changing circumstances related to the pandemic. She reported that there would be a particular focus on facilities management and planning in the coming year to support re-entry, and that this unit had been amalgamated under a new executive director, Luke Barber, who now had responsibility for both Facilities Management Planning and Information & Instructional Technology services. That unit was also looking forward to supporting the sustainability strategic plan and related to that, the development of a species at risk program. Continuing to discuss priorities for the Office of the CAO, Ms Senese reported that a long-term strategy for ancillary services would be developed. There would also be ongoing focus on enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives and partnerships and the health, safety and well-being of the UTM community. Ms Senese concluded her remarks by noting that members could look forward to seeing the finalized Campus Master Plan at the next meeting of this Committee. In addition, plans for several capital construction projects were underway, as well as the completion of the campus utility plant and utility services long-range plan.
The Chair called on the Mr. Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs, to provide an overview of his portfolio and goals for 2021-22. Mr. Overton began his presentation with showing an overview of the organization of his portfolio, which covered eight general areas of responsibility. He then discussed the key portfolio challenges and goals for the coming year, and noted that the Student Services Hub, which was on the Committee’s agenda today, had been a major focus. A second focus was working in partnership with teams from the offices of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, academic departments, and the Office of the Registrar to optimize academic advising, with special attention to first-year students and students who were undecided in their programs of study. Other areas of focus included exploring which elements of student services might be better maintained online and which were better served by “high touch” interactions and launching the Health & Counseling Centre’s new counselling space and new clinic space. Finally, he noted that his office would continue planning for residence expansion to accommodate growth in first-year student demand, and would also reconsider UTM outdoor recreational facilities to accommodate increasingly diverse interests in sports and activities.
- Capital Project: Student Services Hub, UTM
The Chair reminded members about the policy framework for the consideration of capital projects and invited Mr. Mark Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs to introduce the item.
Mr. Overton noted that he was pleased to bring information about the Student Services Hub (SSH) to the Committee. He explained that the SSH would provide a first stop for most student services offering students choices among self-service, peer support, group experiences, and professional staff support. The SSH would also encourage expanded cross departmental innovation, while increasing front and back of house efficiencies. Mr. Overton noted that the proposal had been developed through consultation with students, including student leaders and student users of services, along with professional staff, campus leadership and external consultants. He explained that the proposed SSH would address the long-standing challenge experienced by units in his portfolio, such as the Career Centre, which had to be split into three different sites because of space limitations. Mr. Overton explained that the SSH would address the long-held vision of his unit whereby student services would come together to ultimately provide a much better student experience, with a team across these services operating together. The proposed space would be the first stop for students seeking developmental opportunities and support provided by the various component units. It would also be a space where more complex requests could be addressed through the involvement of more services working together. In this way, student issues could be triaged, and students could be provided with a custom path for support and success.
Mr. Overton showed several architectural renderings and highlighted various components of the proposed space and what each area was meant to accomplish. He concluded his presentation by noting that the SSH was full of thoughtful and engaging spaces, which would encourage staff to expand their existing work across departments and to allow for an efficient use of space, while providing students with expanded choices in seeking services.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED
THAT the project scope of the Student Services Hub at University of Toronto Mississauga, as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Services Hub dated August 6, 2021, totalling 1354 net assignable square metres (nasm) (2040.9 net square metres) be approved in principle, to be funded by UTM Capital Reserves derived from the UTM Operating Budget and Financing.
- Revisions: University of Toronto Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects
The Chair invited Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships to present the item.
Professor Mabury noted that in the fall of 2020, the Chair of the Governing Council, Ms Claire Kennedy, established the Working Group on Governance Oversight of Capital Projects (WGGOCP) with an overall objective to review and make recommendations to enhance governance oversight of capital projects. This group was later chaired by Brian Lawson, current chair of the Governing Council.
Professor Mabury noted that the last update to the Policy had been in 2017 and was no longer responsive to the scope and scale of capital projects occurring across the three campuses. He referred members to the documentation available on the governance portal and highlighted the following major changes and updates reflected in the new Policy, which addressed many issues identified by the WGGOCP, while at the same time respecting the principles of governance oversight:
- Added emphasis on Campus Master Plans;
- Improved clarity on capital project priorities, which incorporated an annual presentation to the relevant governance bodies of capital projects prioritized for the year;
- Revised approval levels with Level 1 classified as project with a cost up to $10 million; Level 2 classified as a project with a cost between $10 million and $50 million and Level 3 classified as a capital project with a cost more than $50 million;
- Financing and Execution of Capital Projects has been clarified, so that any financing will be approved by the Business Board, whose role was exclusively to consider the financial impact in the context of the University’s debt capacity, while execution of a project was under the authority to the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP);
- Changes in Scope have been clarified so that the VPOREP had the authority to approve minor scope changes. For more major scope changes, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies (Committees, Campus Councils, Boards) that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether a revised Project Planning Report (PPR) should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
- Project Budget Increases have been clarified, so that approval of cumulative project budget increases up to 10% of the original Total Project Cost (TPC), to a maximum of $30 million, were within the authority of the VPOREP; for those over 10% of the original TPC or between $30 to $50 million, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether the revised TPC should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
- Emphasis of Project Completion Reports was strengthened so that a written report to University governance bodies was required to confirm financial closure of the Capital Project had occurred and to identify any budget and schedule variances;
- Property Acquisitions, Real Estate Partnerships, and Capital Leases sections have been added, with an explanation of the authority of the Business Board;
- Four Corners (“4C”) and Infrastructure Projects have been recognized in the Policy and the related approval processes have been specified.
- Revisions to the UTM Campus Council and Campus Affairs Committee Terms of Reference
The Chair invited Ms. Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council to present the item. Ms. Drummond noted that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference resulted from the proposed changes to the Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects as described under the previous item.
Ms Drummond referred members to the documentation on the governance portal which outlined the detailed changes that resulted in both the Campus Council and the Campus Affairs Committee terms of reference. She noted that these changes were made to provide clarity and to ensure that the terms of reference reflected both what was required under the proposed new Policy and current practices.
Members had no questions.
- Calendar of Business
The Chair referred members to the Calendar of Business and advised that the document was available and updated regularly on the Office of the Governing Council website. He encouraged members to review the Calendar on a regular basis and consult with the Secretariat if they had questions about forthcoming items.
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED
THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 8 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.
- Report on Capital Projects – as at March 31, 2021
- Report of the Previous Meeting
Report number 47, dated April 27, 2021, was approved.
- Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
- Date of Next Meeting – October 21, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Committee was scheduled for October 21, 2021.
- Other Business
There was no other business.
IN CAMERA SESSION
The Committee moved in camera.
- Capital Project: Student Services Hub – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding
On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried, YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED,
THAT the recommendation regarding the Capital Project: UTM Student Services Hub – Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding contained in the memorandum from Ms Susan Senese, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, UTM, dated September 3, 2021, be approved.
The meeting adjourned at 4:29 p.m.
September 17, 2021