Report: UTM Campus Council - May 25, 2020

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Via Virtual Meeting Room

REPORT NUMBER 42 OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA CAMPUS COUNCIL

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on May 25, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. in a Virtual Meeting Room.

Present:
Mohan Matthen (Chair), Samra Zafar (Vice-Chair), Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President & Principal), Sultan Akif, Hassaan Basit, Mitchell Bonney, Dario Di Censo, Ivana Di Millo, Imre Gams, Robert Gerlai, Shelley Hawrychuk, Joseph Leydon, Cesar Lozano, Jay Nirula, Lisa Petrelli, Steven Short, Laura Taylor, Ziyaad Vahed

Non-Voting Assessors:
Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Saher Fazilat (Chief Administrative Officer)

Regrets:

Miguel Cabral, Teresa Lobalsamo, Kayla Sousa, Xing Wei

Attendance:
Heather Miller (Vice-Dean, Teaching & Learning), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, UTM Budget, Planning & Finance), Alexandra Gillespie (Chair, Department of English & Drama), Lorretta Neebar (Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management)

Secretariat:
Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council), Anwar Kazimi (Deputy Secretary of the Governing Council), Alexandra Waters (Governance Coordinator)


  1. Chair’s Remarks
    The Chair welcomed members to the meeting. He welcomed Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Chair, Department of English & Drama, to the meeting. Professor Gillespie would begin her term as Vice-President & Principal on July 1, 2020.
  2. Report of the Acting Vice-President and Principal
    Professor Orchard began his report by welcoming and congratulating Professor Alexandra Gillespie on her appointment as Vice-President & Principal, wishing her much success in her new role.

    Professor Orchard provided an update on COVID-19 planning and stated that the focus of the Incident Leadership Team had shifted to recovery and adaptation. The recovery process was outlined by the President in UTogether2020, which was a roadmap for the University that considered the phased, gradual and safe return of the University community to campuses.

    Professor Orchard reported that, University of Toronto Principles for Research Recovery and Adaptation, had been recently released and included guidelines for the reopening of labs and research spaces, the responsibilities of unit heads, lab workers, controls to reduce the risk of transmission, personal protective equipment, safety training and supplies. He noted that at UTM, the phased reopening would likely begin with web labs and would then move to other areas of research. In terms of business continuity, guideline documents would be released that focused on construction, caretaking, food services, information technology and classroom scheduling. The environmental health and safety team would release a document titled COVID-19 General Workplace Guidelines, which would follow provincial public health guidelines. Professor Orchard explained that these plans and guidelines had been developed through broad consultations and would be released in the coming weeks.

    A member inquired about the strategies UTM had to offset a potential revenue shortfall in 2020-21 given the impact of COVID-19 on international travel, and consequently, the international student population. The member further inquired about general strategies that would potentially be employed due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

    Professor Orchard stated that at this time, the campus could not predict September enrolment levels, but he reassured members that efforts were underway to ensure that UTM met its enrolment targets. In terms of the international student population, the President worked closely with federal ministers and ambassadors to aid in the fast-tracking of visas from certain countries. International students would be able to start their education online as an interim measure, with the hope that they would be able to attend in-person classes once restrictions were lifted. Addressing domestic enrolment, Professor Orchard explained that many students cited financial hardship as a primary concern when the pandemic began, but this concern diminished with the rollout of federal benefits to students.

    Moving to addressing the budgetary impact of the pandemic, Professor Orchard explained that the budget was structured such that the variance from the plan in the current year was paid in the following year, and therefore the costs of recovery would be put off for one year. He noted that there were increased costs associated with pandemic planning, which included expenses associated with online course offerings, information technology, instruction, increased demand for teaching assistance and cleaning staff, personal protective equipment, and signage. The ancillary services (parking, hospitality, residence, and athletics) had experienced financial impacts, as they were self-funded operations that continued to lose revenue. As a result, it was likely that loans would need to be arranged from the operating budget to these areas. Fortunately, many of the units were able to absorb losses within existing reserves.

    Professor Orchard further explained that UTM experienced the highest level of summer enrolment to date, which was estimated to have a net impact of $2 million that would be used to offset losses. If necessary, the campus would delay staff and faculty hires. He noted that the campus entered a hiring pause for staff a few weeks back; also, there was some modest delay in the hiring of replacements for faculty retirees and faculty growth positions.

    Professor Orchard stated that the campus would adjust capital spending priorities if necessary. A financial contribution to fund the planned Arts, Culture and Technology (ACT) building could be adjusted such that a smaller contribution would be made in 2021, and the remaining contribution would be made in a future year, which would not impact the timing of the opening of the building. He added that this delay in contribution for one capital project may affect other projects, such as a planned student residence.

    Regarding advocacy efforts, Professor Orchard reported that the Council of Ontario Universities lobbied the Provincial Government for financial stabilization to mitigate higher operating costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to emphasize the University’s role in driving economic recovery.

    In response to question about the potential to conduct fall term courses fully online, Professor Orchard stated that, given students’ desire for a well-balanced educational experience and keeping the health and safety of the community paramount, the University would offer in-person experiences where possible. As an interim measure, courses could begin online, but as restrictions were lifted by the Government, the University hoped to transition to in-person classes.

    A member stated that some faculty members expressed concern regarding how to determine the safe delivery of courses and asked about how much freedom individual faculty members would have to make such decisions. Professor Orchard acknowledged the importance of the issue and advised that faculty members with concerns discuss such matters with their respective Chairs and the Office of the Dean for advice. Further information would be provided in the Work Safe document.

    A member expressed gratitude for Professor Orchard’s contributions to UTM during his term as Acting Vice-President & Principal and remarked on his outstanding leadership amidst an unprecedented situation.
  3. Establishment of an Extra-Departmental Unit A (EDU:A): Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP)
    The Chair invited Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, to present. Professor Daniere stated that teaching and learning in higher education had become a distinct form of scholarship and research at UTM, and there was no centre for research that existed as a home for these practitioners. The proposed ISUP would become the intellectual and administrative home for existing faculty at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC) who worked in cross-disciplinary research and scholarship focused on teaching in higher education, and new writing and numeracy scholars. Professor Daniere stated that since faculty at the RGASC were able to hold 100% appointments, the ISUP was proposed as an EDU:A in order to support these appointments. The budget for creation of the EDU had been allocated through funds from the Academic Plan. Extensive consultations had occurred and across the University and stakeholders were in favour of creation of the Unit.

    A few members commended the proposal and remarked on the progress it represented on the goal to reimagine undergraduate education.

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED,

    THAT the proposal to establish the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) at the University of Toronto Mississauga, as an EDU: A, as described in the Proposal for the Establishment of an EDU:A, Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP), University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), dated April 16, 2020, be approved, effective July 1, 2020.
  4. Proposal to Close the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development (FMIHD) as an Extra-Departmental Unit C (EDU:C)
    The Chair invited Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, to present. Professor Daniere stated that the closure of the FMIHD was initiated by the Faculty of Medicine and would pass through governance processes for the three units involved: the Faculty of Medicine, UTM and OISE. Funding and activities for the unit had ceased in 2016 and admissions in the specialization were suspended in 2018 due to low enrolment.

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried,

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT subject to confirmation of the Executive Committee,

    THAT the proposal to disestablish the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development as an EDU: C, as described in the Proposal to Close the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development (FMIHD), dated March 27, 2020, be approved, effective January 1, 2021.
  5. Major Capital Projects Update
    The Chair invited Ms Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, to present. Ms Fazilat reminded members that level 2 capital projects cost $5 million to $20 million, and level 3 capital projects cost above $20 million. She provided a summary of one level 2 capital project, the Student Services Commons, which would be located where the Temporary Food Court had operated and would house 60-65 staff members. It was estimated that the project would receive governance consideration in spring of 2021 and full occupancy was targeted for December 2022. In terms of level 3 capital projects, Ms Fazilat stated that work was underway to resolve some final deficiencies in the Meeting Place. The Science Building received governance approval in February and construction was underway. The occupancy target was early 2023. In terms of the Arts, Culture and Technology (ACT) Building, a team of local and European architects had been contracted. It was estimated that the project would pass through governance in fall of 2020, and occupancy was targeted for summer 2024. Lastly, given potential adjustments due to budget shortfalls, the funding schedule of the ACT building and the timing of a new residence building would likely be adjusted.

    In response to a question about adjustments to the funding schedule, Ms Fazilat stated that funds had been set aside for upcoming projects and the funding schedule could be adjusted without affecting the occupancy target. She further noted that characteristics such as the size of the project and the duration of construction provided for greater flexibility.

    In response to a question about the process for awarding an architect, Ms Fazilat stated that teams qualified to submit bids based on a two-stage request for proposal (RFP) process, and from that group, a shortlist of architects were identified by the Consultant Review Committee for interviews. Interviews were scored based on predetermined criteria. Final consensus was reached based on a combination of interview scores, past performance and price.

CONSENT AGENDA

6. Report on UTM Capital Projects – as at February 29, 2020

7. Reports for Information
(i) Report 42 of the Agenda Committee (May 13, 2020)
(ii) Report 41 of the Campus Affairs Committee (April 28, 2020)
(iii)
Report 37 of the Academic Affairs Committee (May 4, 2020)

8. Report of the Previous Meeting
Report number 41, dated April 21, 2020, was approved.

9. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

10. Date of the Next Meeting – Monday, June 22, at 4:10 p.m. (reserve date)
The Chair reminded members that the next meeting of the Council was scheduled for Monday, June 22, 2020 at 4:10 p.m., which was a reserve date that likely would not be required. He advised that the Secretariat would provide notice if the reserve meeting dates were to be cancelled.

11. Question Period
There were no questions.

12. Other Business
There was no other business.


The Chair thanked the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Standing Committees for their time and efforts devoted to the committees throughout the year. He also thanked the assessors to the bodies for their diligence in bringing business forward for governance consideration, namely Professor Ian Orchard. He additionally thanked members who had served on Council over the past year and recognized those whose terms had ended. The Chair further recognized the support received from I&ITS during meetings throughout the year. He additionally thanked the Secretariat for their continued support and contributions.

Ms Cindy Ferencz Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, and Professor Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President & Principal, recognized the outgoing Chair, Professor Mohan Matthen, and formally thanked him for his many contributions to governance during his three-year term on the Governing Council and its Boards, Councils and Committees. A Chair was presented to Professor Mohan Matthen in recognition of exemplary service and leadership as Vice-Chair of the UTM Campus Council from 2017 to 2019, and as Chair of the UTM Campus Council from 2019 to 2020.

The Council moved in camera.

  1. Appointments: 2020-21 University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council Members’ Standing Committee Assignments

    YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

    THAT the recommended appointments of members of the UTM Campus Council to the Standing Committees and related leadership roles, as recommended by the Nominating Committee, and as specified in the documentation dated May 15, 2020, be approved for one year terms, effective July 1, 2020.


The meeting adjourned at 5:36 p.m.

May 26, 2020