Report: UTM Campus Affairs Council - September 14, 2020

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Via Virtual Meeting Room

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA CAMPUS COUNCIL
REPORT NUMBER 42 OF THE CAMPUS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Mississauga,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on September 14, 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, Lee Bailey, Dario Di Censo, Noha Farawi, Saher Fazilat, Imre Gams, Claudiu Gradinaru, Shelley Hawrychuk, Yuhong He, Tanya Kenesky, Allen Lu, Hans van Monsjou, James Parker, Stephanie Santos, Joanna Szurmak, Laura Taylor, Ryan Tomlinson, Anthony Wensley, Fatima Yakubi, Marc Yegani

Non-Voting Assessors:
Tammy Cook (Executive Director, Facilities, Management & Planning), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Financial & Budget Services), Andrea Carter (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success)

Regrets:
Adriana Grimaldi, Ashley Monks, Brandon Nageer

In Attendance:
Luke Barber (Director, Information and Instructional Technology Services), John Flynn (Assistant Director, Planning & Analysis, Planning, Budget & Finance), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management)

Secretariat:
Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council), Alexandra Di Blasio (Governance Coordinator)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the Campus Affairs Committee for the 2020-21 academic year. He introduced the Committee’s Presidential Assessors and new members.
  2. Key Portfolio Challenges and Priorities for 2020-21

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Ms Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, and Mr. Mark Overton, Vice-Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs, provided overviews of their portfolios and their priorities for 2020-21.

    Professor Daniere discussed the various portfolios within her office and the implementation of the Academic Plan. She reported that sustainability initiatives continued to be a priority in terms of academic planning, research, and the physical environment at UTM. She reported on the progress of writing and numeracy initiatives, and noted that Professor Ruth Childs on loan to UTM from OISE had been appointed the Interim Director of the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP), and would oversee the hiring of five additional faculty. Areas of focus for the coming year included experiential learning opportunities, faculty growth and renewal, with 29 searches planned for 2020-21, and diversity initiatives. Professor Daniere noted that six Indigenous faculty had been hired at UTM in the past three years and discussed that, in the future, the faculty will take the lead on the creation of more formal programming, such as a potential Minor in Indigenous Studies. Lastly, Professor Daniere provided an update on fall course delivery, and noted that of the 807 courses offered in the fall term, 71 have an in-person component of delivery.

    Ms Fazilat stated that a primary priority and challenge of her office was managing the impact of the pandemic on the campus. She stated that ancillary services had been greatly impacted, and since the operating budget did not support ancillary services, there would be significant changes to these budgets in the coming year. Work continued to ensure that adequate resources were provided to students, staff and faculty, and that appropriate support for online and in-person classes was readily available. Other areas of focus included working to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of daily operations across campus, expanding equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as creating standardized templates for agreements and legal transactions. Lastly, Ms Fazilat reported that a draft of the Campus Master Plan would pass through governance in early 2021. In terms of capital projects that would be submitted for governance approval in the coming year, she listed the Arts, Culture & Technology (ACT) Building, the Student Commons, a Robotics Laboratory Environment, and a new residence building.

    Mr. Overton noted that the development of the Student Services Commons continued to be a priority, which would bring together most campus student affairs departments into one location, including the Career Centre, Centre for Student Engagement, International Education Centre and Accessibility Services, as a first stop for triaging and supporting student concerns. He stated that the creation of the new counselling space under the Health and Counselling Centre had been underway prior to the pandemic, and was scheduled to be completed by early next year. He noted that planning for residence expansion remained underway so that increasing first-year student demand could be met, as well as plans for the renewal of aging townhouses to meet returning students’ interests. Mr. Overton discussed plans for increased outdoor field space to accommodate a wider range of outdoor activities, and noted the development of a cricket program in particular. Lastly, he discussed efforts to support recovery from the impact of the pandemic on students and student services. He stated that a mobile information desk had launched on campus to provide information on student services for those physically present at UTM.

    In response to a question about the robotics research cluster, Professor Daniere clarified that robotics was considered part of the computer science area within the Department of Mathematical & Computational Sciences. She noted that four professors had been hired in this area and three more would be hired, eventually. It was UTM’s hope that a program would be created in this area in the relatively near future.

    In response to a question about enrolment targets, Professor Daniere stated that fewer domestic students had accepted offers than had been expected, however, she further noted that overall enrollment had been strong.

    In response to a question about the Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre (RAWC), Mr. Overton stated that the RAWC had been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Staff reductions had taken place due to the inability to offer certain programs, and had been temporarily replaced with an enhanced focus on online services and customized personal training programming for students. A range of outdoor activities would be the focus while the weather was still warm for those on campus, such as outdoor yoga and badminton. He stated that the mandatory athletics and recreation fees paid by students had been reduced by 25% for the fall, and a review of the fees would be conducted mid-fall for the winter term.

    In response to a question about students moving into residence, Mr. Overton stated that the move-in period spanned four days rather than the normal one day to allow for more comfortable social distancing, and added that double rooms were not available and the number of people per shared bathroom had been reduced.

    Several members expressed their gratitude for the supported they had received in the transition to remote teaching and learning.
  3. Campus Fall Re-entry Planning and Preparation – Information and Instructional Technology Service (I&ITS) and Facilities, Management & Planning (FMP)

    The Chair invited Ms Tammy Cook, Executive Director, FMP, and Mr. Luke Barber, Director, I&ITS, to present. Ms Cook reported on the various measures taken in the physical campus environment to protect against the spread of COVID-19. She reported that all public spaces and classrooms on campus had been mapped to calculate occupancy rates that would allow for two metres of physical distancing, and seating has been blocked with plastic wrapping or removed to ensure that individuals maintained distance while seated. Signage, directional separations and plexiglass barriers had been installed, and personal protective equipment, including sanitary wipes and sanitizer, were made available. She further reported that the UTM Readiness Committee had managed the campus’ Mask Distribution Program. Mr. Barber discussed measures related to classroom infrastructure amidst the shift to hybrid and remote learning. Among the many supports undertaken, he reported that classroom equipment had been refreshed, including the installation of professional cameras, remote support capabilities were upgraded, the campus’ Zoom license capacity was increased and security features were enhanced, and support capabilities with other interfaces had been improved. Mr. Barber stated that the I&ITS Service Desk had created over 300 knowledge-based articles to support members of the UTM Community. Mr. Barber also reported that UTORid activations were a particular current focus and it was estimated that these would be completed by the week of September 21st.

    Members commended the efforts made to ensure a safe campus environment and a smooth transition to remote teaching and learning.
  4. Revisions to the UTM Campus Affairs Committee Terms of Reference

    The Chair invited Ms Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council, to present. Ms Drummond provided an overview of changes to the Terms of Reference for the Committee as a result of recommendations from the Report of the 2020 Committee to Review the UTM and UTSC Campus Councils, which was approved by the Governing Council at its June 25, 2020 meeting. Primary changes included adjustment to the governance pathway for the campus operating budget, which shifted engagement through an administrative process and allowed for increased engagement of the local community. There was also an adjustment to membership such that full-time and part-time undergraduate constituencies would be combined, with no change to the total number of seats. This would not preclude an outcome whereby there were students from each of these constituencies, but it is hoped that it would increase the likelihood that no student seats would go unfilled, which sometimes occurred within the part-time student constituency. This change would be reflected in the in the Election Guidelines 2021.
  5. Calendar of Business, 2020-21

    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.
  6. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Ms Andrea Carter, Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success, to report on the continuity of mental health services amidst the remote learning environment. Ms Carter stated that while the Health & Counselling Centre was open and operational, many appointments occurred virtually, but in person appointments were available if needed. She stated that 24/7 crisis support services were provided through My SSP, a student service that provided direct counselling and crisis support to students. The service also allowed for counsellors to make referrals for students of concern, and enabled staff and faculty to contact after hours counsellors regarding issues of concern related to students. As a response to the Final Report of the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health, a mental health website would be launched shortly that would provide resource links to connect students with appropriate supports. Lastly, she stated that a UTM portal would be launched through Quercus shortly that would support faculty and staff with respect to managing concerning situations in the online environment and best supporting students.


CONSENT AGENDA

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.

  1. Report on Capital Projects – as at August 31, 2020
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 41 – April 28, 2020

    Report number 42, dated April 28, 2020, was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
  5. Other Business

    There was no other business.

    The meeting was adjourned at 4:48 p.m.


September 16, 2020