Report: UTM Campus Council - November 20, 2019

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

REPORT NUMBER 38 OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA CAMPUS COUNCIL 

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on November 20, 2019 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chambers, William G. Davis Building, University of Toronto Mississauga.

Present:
Mohan Matthen (Chair), Ian Orchard (Acting Vice-President & Principal), Hassaan Basit, Mitchell Bonney, Miguel Cabral, Dario Di Censo, Ivana Di Millo, Imre Gams, Robert Gerlai, Shelley Hawrychuk, Teresa Lobalsamo, Cesar Lozano, Jay Nirula, Laura Taylor, Ziyaad Vahed

Non-Voting Assessors:
Amrita Daniere (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean)

Regrets:
Sultan Akif, Joseph Leydon, Lisa Petrelli, Steven Short, Kayla Sousa, Samra Zafar, Xing Wei

In Attendance:
Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President & Provost), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), Ellen Hodnett (University Ombudsperson), Mark Overton (Dean of Student Affairs), Atif Abdullah (President, UTMSU), Nour Alideeb (Chair, Quality Service to Students committee & Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students), Christine Capewell (Executive Director, Financial & Budget Services), Andrea Carter (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness, Support & Success), Brian Cunha (Assistant Director, Residence Life, Student Housing & Residence Life), Sashi Kant (Master of Science in Sustainability Management Program Director, Institute for Management and Innovation), Ulrich Krull, Rob Messacar (Director, Campus Police Services), Pascal Michelucci (Chair, Department of Language Studies), Richelle Nelson (Vice-President Campus Life, UTMSU), Kai Ng (Vice-President External, UTMSU), Kathy Pichora-Fuller (Professor, Department of Psychology), Farzana Reburiano (Assistant Director, Academic Financial Operations, Financial & Budget Services), Anuar Rodrigues (Director, Academic Planning, Police & Research), Susan Senese (Executive Director, Strategy), Kaveh Shahrooz (Director of Partnerships & Legal Counsel), Jessica Silver (Director, Student Engagement, Centre for Student Engagement), Isabela Simon (Director of Operations, Office of the Registrar), Jane Stirling (Executive Director, Communications), Yan Tam-Seguin (Project Manager, Special Projects, Student Affairs), Angela Treglia (Director, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre), Sherry Yuan Hunter (Associate Registrar, Student Success, Office of the Registrar)

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

 

  1. Chair’s Remarks
    The Chair welcomed members to the meeting. He informed Council that nominations for elected positions on the UTM Campus Council would open on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, and close to Friday, January 17, 2020. Once filled, these terms would begin on July 1, 2020. Those interested in the available positions were invited to attend an Elections Information Session, held by Ms Ferencz Hammond, Deputy Returning Officer, on November 21 at 12:00 noon in the Council Chamber.

    Finally, the Chair reported that one speaking request pertaining to student mental health had been received from the President of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU).  He noted that while the item was not on the agenda, the Acting Vice-President and Principal would address it as part of his Report.  Consistent with the practice of granting speaking privileges to executive members from “representative campus groups" (i.e., the five student governments), the request was granted.
  2. Report of the Acting Vice-President & Principal
    Professor Orchard discussed the Annual Budget Review process (ABR), and noted that the past 15 years marked a transformative period of development and growth for UTM. This year’s budget submission focused on the unique characteristics that made UTM important within the broader UofT community and would highlight the campus’s positive relationship with the City of Mississauga, which continued to shape research development on campus and opened learning opportunities for students.

    UTM continued to strengthen its faculty complement, enrich the student experience and expand programming, which required continued enhancement of campus infrastructure and resources. The campus continued development in line with the President’s Three Priorities, which included leveraging our urban location through the development of a mutually beneficial relationship with the City; continued strengthening of key international partnerships; and reimagining and reinventing undergraduate education.  He listed key areas in which the campus planned to invest, as follows:
  • Student Services and the development of a Student Services Commons;
  • Increases to Accessibility services;
  • Expansion of campus medical services;
  • A scholarship program for international students to diversify country of recruitment; and  
  • Enhancement of research programs and funding.

    Professor Orchard noted that each of these investments would help UTM meet the goals identified in its Academic Plan. He further reported that research support would be enhanced through the new Science Building, and participation in proposals to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the New Frontiers for Research Fund, a tri-agency fund, which would invest $275 million over the next five years, and $65 million ongoing, to support international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research.

    Next, Professor Orchard addressed recent media coverage regarding University responses to suicide-related cases that involved students and acknowledged that traditional university-aged students were particularly vulnerable to mental health issues.  Professor Orchard then invited Mr. Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs, to provide information about campus services’ care for the safety of UTM students.

    Mr. Overton assured members that campus medical professionals were well-trained to assist individuals that experienced physical or mental health crises. He noted that the UTM Health and Counselling Centre had a range of nurses, which included specialized mental health nursing, personal counsellors and physicians that were accessible every weekday. After-hours and off-site supports were available, which included services that focused on gender issues, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, text-based supports, multilingual and immigrant-focused services.

    Mr. Overton reported that hospitalizations related to suicide concerns were relatively rare, and of those cases, most were voluntary hospitalizations and therefore did not require any security measures or police involvement.  Campus Police would become involved in cases in which an individual demonstrated warning signs of acute risk of suicide that indicated a heightened risk of harm. Examples of such warning signs included:
  • previous suicide attempts or related hospitalizations;
  • talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary;
  • threatening to hurt or kill oneself or others; and
  • having considered methods or made plans to kill oneself.

    He noted that, in the most challenging cases, the campus had a greater responsibility to keep individuals safe and had to ensure they reached the hospital for the in-depth and specialized emergency medical attention that they needed.

    Mr. Overton stated that UTM’s Campus Police practices were well aligned with practices at the St. George and Scarborough campuses, the Peel Regional Police and Toronto Police Services, although he noted that some jurisdictional differences existed. The University had indicated that it would undertake a review of related police procedures on all three campuses. 

    Mr. Overton emphasized that the safety of members of the UTM community was of primary concern, and the University wanted to ensure that they were cared for when they were most vulnerable, adding that each case presented unique elements, and factors could change throughout an interaction. Health & Counselling Centre staff, Campus Police partners, and others that served students kept student safety as the foremost goal when making decisions on such cases. He stated that the greatest concern was that students that needed help would not pursue it. He hoped the commentary shared would assist the campus community to reinforce the openness and good work of the staff toward student health and safety.

    The Chair invited Mr. Atif Abdullah, President, UTM Students’ Union (UTMSU), to speak to the matter. Mr. Abdullah expressed concern for the state of student mental health at UTM and referenced lengthy wait times for those that sought counselling. He remarked that the current policies and practices at the University further stigmatized individuals that struggled with mental health issues, and feared that students would not feel empowered to ask for help when it was needed. He noted a number of recommendations made by UTMSU with respect to mental health support, which included:
     
  • a review of Campus Police policy
  • the provision of mandatory equity training for staff
  • removal of fees for medical notes
  • the provision of mandatory sexual consent seminars
  • a survivor-centric Sexual Violence Centre
  • waiving fees for late exams
  • that the University address the culture of fear around the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy

    In response to a member’s question, Mr. Abdullah stated that UTMSU worked to maintain a respectful relationship with the Administration as a means to present issues and implement change. He expressed concern over the length of time taken to implement better supports, policies and solutions.  He confirmed that representatives from UTMSU had provided input to the Task Force. 

    Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, noted that mental health and counselling clinics were available at each of the three campuses, and worked collaboratively and were guided by specialized training to safely address physical and mental health care issues.  Staff at the centres participated in professional development sessions together. She noted that tri-campus discussions of issues would consider variations across campuses, such as jurisdictional differences across locations, policing practices, and relationships with community healthcare providers.

    In response to a question about how change to existing regulations could be enacted, Professor Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost, stated that in 2014, a Provostial Advisory Group put together the University’s mental health framework, and the current Task Force would conduct a review of that framework. The framework focused on preventative practices and counselling practices for individuals in distress, with the goal of identifying how the University would assist individuals that required support. Professor Regehr further noted that the University’s health and medical services were funded by student fees. 

    In response to a member’s question, Mr. Overton stated that protocols in place for Campus and Peel Regional Police provided guidance on the use of physical restraints.

    In response to a question about UTMSU’s efforts to improve supports for students, Mr. Abdullah stated that the Union focused on changes to academic policies as a proactive measure to reduce stress.

    A member expressed confidence that the issue of mental health was taken extremely seriously across the University. In light of recent events, the member encouraged the Administration to conduct reviews of policies and protocols, and where appropriate, reconsider what must be done in situations of ensuring student safety and noted that compassion could make a significant difference in such instances.

    Professor Orchard thanked members for their comments and stated that the tri-campus review of policies and protocols was underway.

    The Chair also thanked members for their thoughtful remarks. He stated that the issue of student mental health had been considered with urgency over the past year, and efforts were underway to further address the matter. He noted that the Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health (https://www.provost.utoronto.ca/committees/task-force-on-student-mental-health/) continued consultations and would release a report in December. An online form was available until November 25 for individuals to submit comments. The Chair encouraged individuals to share their opinions with the Task Force, and noted that written submissions could be provided via e-mail to studentmentalhealth@utoronto.ca.
  1. Annual Report of the University Ombudsperson
    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Emeritus Ellen Hodnett highlighted some of the matters raised in the Report. She noted that the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy (UMLA) required that the Ombudsperson conducted an annual review of the cases in which the Policy was applied. She had reviewed the cases of the 8 students to whom the Policy was applied in its first year of implementation and noted that she had been greatly impressed by the extreme care and compassion with which the Policy was applied in each case. Students had been offered the help they needed, without ending up with police records and expulsion from the University, while they and the University community had been protected from serious harm.

    Professor Hodnett highlighted the tri-campus nature of the Office and acknowledged the work of the Ombuds Officers. She noted that the University was already reaping the benefits of their extensive knowledge of the University and their commitment to fair treatment of all who seek the help of the Office in the context of increasingly complex problems. She added that her Office had worked with the Office of the Vice-President, Communications, to promote the services of the Office of the Ombudsperson across the University community.

    Professor Hodnett continued her report with highlighting a few the recommendations in her Annual Report. One recommendation concerned undergraduate students who had been granted formal leaves of absence, or whose registrations had been suspended due to poor academic performance. In those cases, she had asked that Administration explore the possibility offering these students a way to pay for ancillary services that could help them succeed when they returned to their studies. She added that the School of Graduate Studies already had a comparable policy. Another recommendation concerned longstanding problems in some basic science laboratories, some experiencing harassment, bullying and intimidation. Many students were reluctant to pursue formal complains for fear of putting their funding, graduate work and future careers in jeopardy. Professor Hodnett’s recommendation for a positive laboratory campaign would address this systemic issue through the development and dissemination of resources and ideas on creating optimal laboratory environments for students and faculty. She reported that the School of Graduate Studies had accepted and endorsed the recommendation. Professor Hodnett stated that all recommendations from the Report had been met with a favourable response from administration.

    A member asked for clarity with respect to the current practice, should graduate students experience issues in a laboratory environment.  Professor Hodnett indicated that currently, problems could be addressed by consulting the Vice-Dean, Students at SGS or if warranted, a formal investigation could be initiated by the Ombudsperson. She noted, however, that many graduate students did not wish to pursue formal processes for fear of affecting their future careers. A shift in focus to the positive aspects of the laboratory environment would promote student learning and a successful educational environment, and this approach had been incorporated in training programs of new faculty.
  2. Campus Strategic Priorities
    The Chair informed members that the presentation by Professor Emeritus Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President & Principal, and Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean 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. 

    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 William G. Davis Building Meeting Place Revitalization project had progressed well, with work on the front entrance continuing as fast as possible to completion in the near future. 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.

    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

    In response to a question about the hiring of racialized faculty, Professor Daniere reported that three searches for Indigenous faculty were underway. Professor Orchard also referred members to a report on the UTM faculty complement given to the Academic Affairs Committee’s last meeting by the Vice-Dean Faculty. Professor Regehr additionally noted that a Human Resources & Equity survey was recently distributed to staff in which they could choose to self-report sexual orientation and race, among other characteristics.

    In response to a question about funds used to hire five new faculty for writing and numeracy initiatives, Professor Daniere stated that specific funds had been committed to the Academic Plan for this purpose.
  1. Revisions to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Regehr, Vice-President & Provost, provided a summary overview of the review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (SVSH Policy). She noted that the Policy came into effect in January 2017 as a result of Bill 132, which required that all universities put policies and processes into place to deal with sexual violence on campus. As required by the government and Section IX of the Policy, a review of the SVSH Policy was conducted, which reviewed the elements of the Policy itself, the contents of the Companion Guide to the Policy (the Guide), and the work of the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre (the Centre), which had a tri-campus presence. It also included open consultation sessions for students, staff and faculty as well as online consultation. As a result of the review and feedback received during consultation, both policy and operations changes were proposed. Notably, among the operational changes were proposed revisions to the Guide and a review of staffing at the Centre as well as efforts to promote increased awareness of the Centre. Policy changes included definitional issues for the purposes of clarity, and in response to feedback, providing increased opportunities for informal resolutions for those who did not wish to pursue formal processes.

    A member asked about whether the numbers reported in the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey could be an underrepresentation of the actual incidences. The Provost responded that while participants may choose not to report for many reasons, 20,000 students responded to the survey, representing 26% of the student body, which was a very high response rate.   
  2. Revisions to the Code of Student Conduct
    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students reported that the Code of Student Conduct (the Code), together with other specific codes of conduct such as residence, athletics facilities, professional codes, and library use codes, set out expectations for student behaviour and prescribed processes for dealing with behaviour that is prohibited under the Code.

    With the implementation of the SVSH Policy, allegations of sexual violence and/or sexual harassment previously addressed under the Code were now addressed under the SVSH Policy. However, there remained interactions between the SVSH Policy and the Code in cases where a hearing was required for a student respondent. As a result, various technical changes were necessary to align the Code with the SVSH Policy.  Changes also reflected alignment with the latest language in the Ontario Human Rights code.

    A member asked how this as well as the SVSH Policy were disseminated throughout the institution to ensure everyone was knowledgeable about their requirements.

    Ms Angela Treglia, Director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Support, noted that various initiatives were being undertaken across the University to encourage participation in the online training.  She explained that outreach efforts were focused on ensuring education throughout someone’s entire experience at the University, including orientation activities, information in curriculum, and working with student leaders and peer to peer engagement.

    In response to a member’s question about how systemic issues would be addressed, the Provost explained that the SVSH Policy applied equally to students, faculty as well as staff and that anyone reported would need to follow the same process as prescribed in the Policy
  3. Update on the Budget Model Review (BMR)
    The Chair invited Professor Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost to update members on the conclusion of the University’s review of its budget model.

    Professor Regehr noted that the University’s budget model had been adopted in 2006, and that the last comprehensive review had been undertaken in 2010-11. She explained that as provincial support continued to decline and began to shift toward performance-based metrics, it was an opportune time to ensure that the budget model would continue to serve the University well into the future.

    The objective of the BMR was to improve budgetary processes across a number of different areas. The Review was divided into five pillars:
    1. Inter-Divisional Teaching Working Group
    2. Alternative Funding Sources Advisory Group
    3. Strategic Mandate Agreement Budget Implementation Committee
    4. Operational Excellence Working Group
    5. Tri-Campus Budget Relationships Working Group

The Steering Committee played a key role in harmonizing the recommendations of the working groups and in determining when and how to implement those recommendations that it endorsed. 

Professor Regehr concluded her report by indicating that the BMR was scheduled to conclude by December 2019.

In response to a member’s question, the Provost confirmed that the University had been actively engaged with the Provincial government on issues related to the recent tuition cuts as well as changes to OSAP regulations.  

 
CONSENT AGENDA

8. Report on UTM Capital Projects – as at September 30, 2019

9. Reports for Information

  1. Report 38 of the Agenda Committee (November 11, 2019)
  2. Report 37 of the Campus Affairs Committee (October 29, 2019)
  3. Report 34 of the Academic Affairs Committee (October 28, 2019)
     

10. Report of the Previous Meeting
Report number 37, dated October 2, 2019, was approved.

11. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

12. Date of the Next Meeting – Wednesday, January 29 at 4:10 p.m.

13. Question Period
There were no questions.

14. Other Business
There was no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m.

November 22, 2019