Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - February 08, 2023

UTSC Campus Council Chambers, AA160


FEBRUARY 8, 2023

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your committee reports that it met on February 8th, 2023 at 3:10 p.m., with the following members present: 

Present: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Gillian Mason (Vice-Chair), William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean)*, Irena Creed (Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation), Katie Larson (Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs), Rene Harrison (Vice-Dean, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies), Syed Ahmed, George B. Arhonditsis, Corinne Beauquis, Elyse Caron –Beaudoin, Rana Behzadi, Shelley-Anne Brunt, Sotirios Damouras, Suzanne Erb*, Fatima Formuli, Angela Hamilton, John A. Hannigan, Irmi Huftless*, Randy Lundy*, William Nelson*, Elizabeth Ann O’Brien*, Natalie Oswin*, Zoreh Shahbazi, Anthony Charles Ruocco*, Mark A Schmuckler, Valentina Shamoun, Rachel Sturge*, Sofia Suleman, Judith Ann Teichman*, Shelby Verboven*, Jessica Marie Wilson*

Regrets: Wisdom Tettey (Vice President and Principal), Iris Au, Sandra Bamford, Joshua Barker, Christopher Cochrane, Divya Dey, Kyomi Duncan, Barry Freeman, Paula Hastings, Qusai Mahmud Hassan, Joseph Hermer, Thembela Kepe, Philip Kremer, Michelle Lone, Nathaniel Luces, Andrew Mason, Alice Maurice, Sharlene Mollett, Michael Molloy, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Cheryl Regehr, Laura Risk, Paulina Rousseau, Mahinda Samarakoon, Zohreh Shahbazi, Michelle Silver, Grace Skogstad, Sofia Alana Suleman, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Liana Williams, Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis, David Zweig 

Non-Voting Assessors: Kyomi Hastings Duncan (Associate Registrar and Director of Admissions & Student Recruitment)*, Martha Harris (Academic Programs Officer), Varsha Patel (Assistant Dean, Student Success and Career Support)*, Suzanne Sicchia (Associate Professor, Teaching Stream Associate Dean Undergraduate Programs & Curriculum)

In Attendance: Maggie Cummings (Associate Professor, Teaching Stream), Chris McCarthy (Arts & Science Co-op), Atiqa Hachimi (Associate Professor),), Amrith David (VP, SCSU), Thai Dillon Higashihara (VP, SCSU), Christopher Payne (Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream), Walter Tavares (Assistant Professor)

Secretariat: Lydia Gill (Secretary), Kata Skoko, Timothy Harlick* 

* Participated remotely 


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the fourth meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee for the academic year. She also provided a brief update regarding the 2023 governance election season and encouraged members to vote for their peers.
  2. Minor Modification: Graduate Curriculum, Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Rene Harrison, Vice-Dean Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies) to present the item. Professor Harrison reported that the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences was seeking to introduce a Research Master’s program to accompany their current offerings of a PhD and a professional master’s program. This addition would include the introduction of two new courses in a cohort style offering. Additionally, they sought to make a minor name change to the title of the EES 1122 course.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences graduate curriculum changes for the 2023-24 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.

  3. Minor Modification: Undergraduate Curriculum, Humanities, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson to deliver the presentation for this item. Professor Larson noted that the Department of English proposed online versions for seven courses. The proposed changes stemmed from learnings from the pandemic that allowed for further flexibility and accessibility for students. The Department of English engaged in consultation and worked with the curriculum team to develop the online offerings. The Department of Language Studies proposed thirteen new courses that were associated with their program in English and Chinese Translation.

    A member inquired as to whether the proposed online courses in the Department of English are to be offered in a different section than the in-person offering. Professor Alice Maurice noted that in some cases the changes involve adding an online section to a large required course. This has been a successful model that the department has been piloting in emerging from the pandemic. Many of the Department’s online courses have been offered in a synchronous manner, although there were cases where they had asynchronous options. She clarified that it would ultimately depend on the Professor that is teaching the course at the time.  

    A member followed with an inquiry as to whether the online course would have different requirements (i.e. exams, essays etc) than the in-person offering. Professor Maurice responded by stating that the requirements would primarily remain the same, whether taken in an online section or in-person.

    Questions were raised by members about enrolment allotments and caps. Professor Maurice and Professor Larson explained that enrolment caps would continue to be informed by the department.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed Humanities undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2023-24 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.

  4. Minor Modification: Undergraduate Curriculum, Social Sciences, UTSC

    Professor Larson presented that the Department of Anthropology had proposed two new courses: Anthropology of Science Fiction and Education, Power and Potential and Anthropological Perspectives and Ethnographic Insights. The Department of Health and Society had proposed one new course: Health Professions Education.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed Social Sciences undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2023-24 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.

  5. Minor Modification: Undergraduate Curriculum, (Out of Cycle Courses, Summer 2023), UTSC

    Professor Larson reported that the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies proposed one new course on Abolition Feminisms, contributing to a new course sequence related to Black feminisms being offered by a new faculty member, and the Department of Language Studies had proposed two new courses in Korean.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


    THAT the proposed Humanities undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2023-24 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.

  6. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    There were two reports for the committee’s attention.

    Professor Bill Gough, Vice Principal, Academic and Dean (VPAD) provided a report of the work of his unit, sharing the following information:
  • Students would continue to struggle with the return to in-person learning. VPAD and the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing (OSEW) continued to collaborate to support student success.

    Policy Updates
  • ​​​The Course Retake Policy would have undergone a review in the last year at UTSC. A more fulsome report would be brought forward to the Academic Affairs Committee in Cycle 5.  
  • The Credit/No Credit Policy continued to be discussed across the tri-campus registrarial groups. Updates would be provided to this committee at a later date.
  • The Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) project would include funding for 300 graduating life science students. Moreover, VPAD would continue to work with the partnering professional faculties to develop pathways and bridging opportunities for UTSC students.

    Next, Professor Irena Creed, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation provided an update from her unit. She noted that the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives (OVPRISI) started a process for exploring how best to support core facilities. As the representative for UTSC on the OVPRISI Working Group, Professor Creed would develop a set of guidelines for UTSC Core Research facilities. These guidelines were presented to, reviewed, revised, and ultimately endorsed by the Executive Group in January 2023.

    UTSC had shared their guidelines with U of T who were in the process of finalizing their policy for U of T core facilities.


  1. Modification: Undergraduate Curriculum, UTSC (For Information) *
  2. Report of the Previous MeetingReport Number 61 – January 10, 2023 (For Approval) *
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  1. Date of Next Meeting - Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 3:10 p.m.

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 8, the Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  2. Other Business

    There was no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 3:52 p.m.

February 13, 2023