Report: UTM Campus Council - October 03, 2022



October 3, 2022

To the Governing Council, University of Toronto

Your Council reports that it met on October 3, 2022 at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis Building, with the following members present:

Shashi Kant (Chair), Ann Curran (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal),  Hassaan Basit, Crystal Cheng, Rafael Chiuzi, Laura Cocuzzi, Ivana Di Millo, Robert Gerlai, Shelley Hawrychuk, Sanja Hinic-Frlog, Karen Kwan Anderson, Eha Naylor, Laura Taylor, Ryan Teschner, Ziyaad Vahed, Ron Wener, Kathleen Yu

Non-Voting Assessors:
Amrita Daniere (Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer), Mark Overton (Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs)

Uday Dhingra, Rayan Hobeika, Asif Mohammed, Hana Tariq

In Attendance:
Luke Barber (Executive Director, Digital & Physical Infrastructure, Brian Hoppie (Operations Manager, Parking & Transportation), Vicky Jezierski (Director, Hospitality & Ancillary Services), Amanda Luongo (Assistant Director, Residence Life), Chad Nuttal (Assistant Dean of Students),


Cindy Ferencz Hammond (Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of Council for the academic year and provided some reminders about meeting procedures in a virtual setting.
  2.  Report of the Vice-President and Principal

    Professor Gillespie began her report by expressing her thanks to faculty, staff and librarians who made the biggest back to school in the history of UTM a celebratory and welcoming occasion. She also showed pictures of and referred to several major events and initiatives since the last meeting of the Council including the launch of UTM’s undergraduate robotics lab, the opening of a dedicated on-campus space for the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, field work in forensic science, and convocation and graduation to post-graduation experience in the INSPIRE program for pharmaceutical drug discovery.

    She reminded members that during the previous academic year, UTM had developed its own Strategic Framework and that the framework, along with other campus plans such as the Sustainability Plan, Master Plan, and Defy Gravity Campaign Plan pointed to UTM being a resilient community distinctly positioned to flourish during what seemed to be a time of great change and upheaval in the world.  She noted that the Framework’s priorities would also be extended into more specific areas of focus, such as research, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and student services.

    Professor Gillespie explained that the Framework’s approach was one of principled flexibility: the resilience to adapt to new circumstances guided by consistent priorities and values.  This approach aligned with UTM’s embrace of its place in the Peel Region, which had resulted in one of Canada’s first and largest vaccine clinics last year.   UTM would use the same approach to tackle new pressures in budget and space and although UTM took great pride in its achievements during a period of rapid growth, it had to reorient its philosophy to address current economic circumstances, including a province-wide tuition freeze, skyrocketing capital development costs, and record-high inflation, in addition to responding to an urgent need to reach net zero carbon emissions.   She noted that while UTM’s story of an eighteen-year rapid growth needed recognition and celebration, the campus was looking to re-orient its focus and pursue opportunities for partnership, philanthropy, and tri-campus investment with an increasingly intentional focus on UTM’s stewardship. 

    Professor Gillespie concluded her report by providing some examples of UTM’s plans in action, as detailed below:

    Truth & Reconciliation: UTM formally expanded the role Tee Duke as its first-ever Director of Indigenous Initiatives. The change reflects our Strategic Framework’s focus on truth, reciprocity, and Indigenization, and UTM’s continued responsibility to centre the calls to action of Wecheehetowin. It also opened new opportunities for collaboration, including in a special initiative on Indigenous rematriation led by Professor Robin R.R. Gray, who was developing a plan for the safekeeping of Indigenous artefacts from the excavated Antrex village site in Mississauga, now housed in UTM’s Department of Anthropology.

    Urban Ecologies: the Centre for Urban Environments (CUE) completed its first five-year cycle, led by Professor Marc Johnson, one of UTM’s thirteen Canada Research Chairs. CUE was now exploring opportunities for collaboration, including work focused on the wellbeing and biodiversity of UTM’s physical campus. UTM would soon welcome a new national-leading researcher to study an endangered species of Jefferson Salamander and develop strategies for its on-campus conversation. The work opened an opportunity, to foster sustainability and embrace UTM’s place: to model the positive environmental impact that UTM researchers created in the larger world.

    Robotic Innovation: UTM recently opened an undergraduate robotics lab, led by Professor Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, which is unrivalled anywhere else in Canada.  The space created an advantage for UTM’s students, in a world where robotics engineer is one of the fastest growing jobs nationally and globally. It also contributed to U of T’s advantage institutionally, as the home of Canada’s largest and most diversified network of robotics faculty.  These investments recognized that robotics mattered even more in Mississauga, Peel, and the Greater Toronto Area, which prioritized innovation sectors impacted by robotics, including life sciences, supply chain logistics, and advanced manufacturing.  

    New Arts: UTM continued to make progress on a new public art project that explored the ambitions and realities of Black achievement and histories in Canada. UTM recently opened the call for artists and was welcoming project proposals on a rolling basis until December 9th. The project enacted commitments of U of T’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, which expressed the urgency of creating more Black-inclusive spaces on campus. It also advanced priorities of the Strategic Framework, which worked towards belonging, anti-racism, and creativity and would also contribute to new opportunities in student experiential learning, on which UTM continued to focus as an area of place-based strength: UTM had increased its enrolment in hands-on courses by 67% over the past five years.


  1. Portfolio Overview and Priorities for 2022-23

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Amrita Daniere, Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Ms Deborah Brown, Chief Administrative Officer, and Mr. Mark Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services & Dean of Student Affairs, provided overviews of their portfolios and their priorities for 2022-23.

    Professor Daniere provided an overview of the structure of the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean. She then summarized her office’s priorities for the 2022-23 year, which included the following:
    • Creating Self-Study Report and overseeing UTM’s Provostial Review;
    • Improving access to Sustainability/Climate Change education at UTM;
    • Unpacking Retention Patterns at UTM and Creating new Retention Strategies; and
    • Minimize Impact of Budget Concerns on the Academic Plan (current and future),

    Finally, Professor Daniere gave a snapshot of UTM’s fall enrollment.  UTM currently had 2705 domestic first year students and close to 760 new international students for total of 3465 first year students.  With respect to returning students, UTM had approximately 8264 domestic students and 3535 international students for a total of approximately 11,799 and a total headcount of over 15,000 students.

    In response to a member’s question about why retention was an ongoing issue to be addressed, Professor Daniere explained that UTM had always had between a 2 to 4% difference in retention rates compared to other U of T divisions.  She summarized the possible reasons behind this difference as follows:  - difficulty in attracting the top students in the region due to a lot of competitors;  - during the pandemic, students had many more options to choose from to pursue their studies online; - a recent study on the UTM student advising landscape had shown that it needed to be modernized and centralized so that first year students in particular could be provided with more holistic advising, including advice on financial aid; and - structural issues around enrollment and access to UTM’s most popular programs that posed difficulties for students being able to finish in a program of their choice.

    Also in response to a member’s question about student expectations upon their return to campus this fall, Professor Daniere responded that the overwhelming sentiment from students had been their gratitude to be back in person, especially since for many students this had been their first in-person experience of their studies. 

    At the invitation of the Chair, Ms Deborah Brown, Chief Administrative Officer provided an overview of the structure of her office and discussed priorities for the year.

    She noted that with respect to the return to campus, priorities included the following:
    • Support UTM with ongoing pandemic response, health, safety and wellbeing, and re-entry;
    • Full return of ancillary services, including food services, parking and transportation, conferences; and
    • Ensure adequate online and physical resources for supporting our students, faculty and staff needs.
    With respect to continuous improvement, Ms Brown listed the following goals: 
    • Efficiencies - expand the use of ServiceNow platform to support transactional service requests across campus departments;
    • IT Upgrades – security, data centre, classroom technology, websites;
    • Sustainability- finalize the Campus Utilities Master Plan and Low Carbon Expansion Strategy; support Sustainability Strategic Plan;
    • Implementation of the Campus Master Plan; and
    • A new culture of space – pilot launch of a new capital projects and space allocation committee, MCaPS.
    Reporting on UTM’s capital projects, the CAO, noted that completion of the New Science Building was on target for spring 2023 and that completion of the Student Services Hub, for the summer of 2023.  Planning for the new F2 Building and new student residence was underway and there were also ongoing deferred maintenance and renovation projects.
    Ms Brown noted that several other major priorities related to the campus operating budget.  She explained that the academic business review or ABR process involved the creation of UTM’s balanced budget for the next five years, which would be achieved through implementation of various new initiatives, as well as some budget reduction strategies.  To that end, the newly created budget planning committee would support budget alignment to key Strategic Framework priorities, the University’s Strategic Mandate Agreement, the Academic Plan, and the Campus Master Plan.

    Turning to the next presentation, the Chair called on Mr. Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs, to provide an overview of his portfolio and goals for 2022-23.  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 affairs departments were preparing for a fall 2023 opening of the new Student Services Hub (SSH), with new and enhanced space for Accessibility Services, Career Centre, Centre for Student Engagement, International Education Centre, and Wellness Outreach.  The SSH offered a new first stop service to untangle complex issues and support a strengthened and engaged student experience.

    Mr. Overton summarized other areas of focus for the year, including the following:
    • Open an expanded Health & Counselling Centre (HCC) medical clinic in the Davis Bldg. in summer 2023, following the recent opening of the HCC’s expanded counselling suite;
    • Continue pursuing the Housing Master Plan recommendations to add a new first-year residence to keep pace with the university’s first-year housing guarantee, and upgrade and renovate townhouses;
    • Accelerate planning for UTM RecZone outdoor fields and courts expansion to meet students’ recreation, sport, and wellness interests; and
    • Support phased launch of Support - Engage - Experience (SEE) partnership with Peel District School Board, to increase PSE access for high school students who are black, Indigenous and/or have disabilities.
    Mr. Overton then invited Ms Jessica Silver, Director of the Centre for Student Engagement to share a more detailed information about the SEE partnership.

    During her presentation, Ms Silver shared the following information about SEE:

    • The program was for students in grade 11 or 12 enrolled in U/M courses (university pathway);
    • It included co-op placements on campus and other experiential learning activities at UTM;
    • It provided an opportunity to earn 0.5 University Credit;
    • There was on-going peer-to-peer mentorship provided by current UTM students; and
    • Experience UTM and post-secondary campus life through organized initiatives throughout the semester on-campus.

Ms Silver reported that the schools in the partnership were Meadowvale Secondary School and Fletcher Meadow Secondary School and 22 students had been placed at UTM in this pilot program.  She noted that these schools were selected in partnership with superintendents and principals from the Peel District School Board to achieve both UTM's recruitment goals as well as the post-secondary attainment goals of their students.  With respect to program eligibility, it was explained that it was available to those who self-identified as Black, Black African, Afro-Caribbean, Latinx Black; were Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, were enrolled as a full-time student at either of the two schools mentioned, possessed an overall academic average of at least 70% and were enrolling or enrolled in English ENG3U or ENG4U with an expected grade of 70% or higher.  Ms Silver pointed out that these schools used the SVI or Social Vulnerability Index, which used advanced statistical modeling techniques to precisely identify the factors that increased vulnerability for students in Peel board schools.  Ms Silver noted that it was hoped that the program would be expanded to also include Indigenous students and students with disabilities.

 A member congratulated Ms Silver on this innovative program and commented on an excellent partnership with the Peel community.  In response to a member’s question about whether the students who participated in the program would then choose to attend UTM, Ms Silver explained that this was the hope and that these students would be provided with information and support, for example, this cohort, along with their families, would be provided with special access to the upcoming fall campus day at UTM.  They would also be provided with support during their application process, through a one-on-one interaction with a recruitment officer, in addition to earning a UTM academic credit, which could also be transferred to another institution.   This cohort would also receive financial support to complete their Ontario university application.  Several members commented on the unique program and congratulated Ms Silver and UTM on the potential positive impact this partnership could have. 

  1. Calendar of Business

    The Chair referred members to the UTM Campus Council’s 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


    THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 10 - Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  2.   Report on Capital Projects – as at August 31, 2022

  3. Reports for Information

    1. Report 49 of the Agenda Committee (September 21, 2021)

    2. Report 48 of the Campus Affairs Committee (September 13, 2022)

    3. Report 42 of the Academic Affairs Committee (September 12, 2022)

  4. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 54 – May 24, 2022

    The report of the pervious meeting was approved.


  5. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

  6. Date of Next Meeting – November 16, 2022 at 4:10 p.m.

  7. Other Business

    There was no Other Business.

    The Council moved In Camera.

  8. Appointments to the 2022-23 UTM Nominating Committee

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


     THAT Crystal Cheng (student member of the Campus Council) and Professor Hinic-Frlog (teaching staff member of the Campus Council) be appointed to serve on the Agenda Committee when that Committee serves as a Nominating Committee of the UTM Campus Council for 2022-23, effective October 4, 2022.

    The meeting was adjourned at 5:19 p.m.

     October 11, 2022