Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - January 10, 2023

UTSC Campus Council Chambers, AA160


JANUARY 10, 2023

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

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

Present: Gillian Mason (Vice-Chair – in the 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), Iris Au, Corinne Beauquis*, Elyse Caron –Beaudoin, Corinne Beauquis*, Rana Behzadi, Shelley-Anne Brunt, Christopher Cochrane, Sotirios Damouras, Suzanne Erb, Fatima Formuli, Angela Hamilton, John A. Hannigan, Qusai Mahmud Hassan*, Irmi Huftless*, Randy Lundy*, Michael Molloy*, William Nelson*, Elizabeth Ann O’Brien, Natalie Oswin, Anthony Charles Ruocco*, Mark A Schmuckler, Valentina Shamoun, Rachel Sturge, Judith Ann Teichman, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Shelby Verboven*, Liana Williams, Jessica Marie Wilson*, David Zweig

*Participated remotely

Regrets: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice President and Principal), Syed Ahmed, George B. Arhonditsis, Sandra Bamford, Joshua Barker, Divya Dey, Kyomi Duncan, Barry Freeman, Paula Hastings, Joseph Hermer, Thembela Kepe, Philip Kremer, Michelle Lone, Nathaniel Luces, Andrew Mason, Alice Maurice, Sharlene Mollett, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Cheryl Regehr, Laura Risk, Paulina Rousseau, Mahinda Samarakoon, Zohreh Shahbazi, Michelle Silver, Grace Skogstad, Sofia Alana Suleman, Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis, Suzanne Sicchia

Non-Voting Assessors: Varsha Patel (Assistant Dean, Student Success and Career Support), Martha Harris (Academic Programs Officer)

In Attendance: Kara Gaston (Associate Professor & Associate Chair, English), Chris McCarthy

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


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the third meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee for the academic year. She also provided a brief update regarding the 2023 governance election season.
  2. Strategic Presentation – Update on Academic Integrity Initiatives

    A strategic presentation on Academic Integrity Initiatives was delivered by Professor David Zweig (Vice-Dean, Recruitment, Enrolment & Student Success). The presentation covered the progress that UTSC has made on Academic Integrity Initiatives. Highlights from Professor Zweig’s presentation were as follows: 
  • In April 2022, there were 278 active academic integrity cases. By January 2023, this number had been reduced to 33 active cases, with none preceding the 2021 academic year. In total, this was a near 90% reduction in the backlog of academic integrity cases.
  • This reduction could be attributed to additional resources and system procedural changes that UTSC had dedicated to the academic integrity file. Such as;
    • 3 Academic Integrity Staff and 6 Dean’s Designates
    • Introduction of the Traffic Ticket System to quickly process first offence cases.
  • Moving forward, there would be efforts placed on education and prevention, including:
    • Modules that would be offered in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching and Learning. These modules supported students with understanding the premise of academic integrity.
    • Academic Integrity resource modules would be included in all Quercus course pages by Summer 2023.
    • Development of a new Academic Integrity Case Management system that would be customized to the needs at UTSC, streamlining processing of cases.  
  • Artificial Intelligence tools presented a challenge for post-secondary institutions, including UTSC. The University was discussing how it would manage and navigate the emerging landscape of artificial intelligence tools as it pertained to academic integrity.  

    A member inquired as to the process for identifying and addressing buttonhole cameras and earpieces within an exam setting. Professor Zweig clarified that invigilators or faculty should follow the same process as any identifying an unauthorized aid.

    A member inquired about the timeline for guidance from the University about artificial intelligence tools. Professor Zweig noted that this was an ongoing discussion across the University, and that any response would need to be tri-campus in nature.
  1. Sessional Dates: Update

    The Chair invited Shelby Verboven, Registrar & Assistant Dean, Strategic Enrolment Management, to present the item. Ms Verboven provided a brief update on the Summer 2023 Sessional Dates. She noted that June 30, 2023 would now be a University holiday – a Presidential day. As a result of this new holiday, there was an adjustment to the approved Summer Session Dates. The adjustment would reflect a make-up for Friday course meets to be held on Wednesday, August 9, 2023
  2. Minor Modifications to Undergraduate Curriculum, Humanities, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson (Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning and Undergraduate Programs) to deliver the presentation of a series of minor modifications.   Professor Larson noted that the minor modifications had been proposed by the Department of English and the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies. Both departments had proposed a suite of new courses; three new courses from the Department of English, and two new courses from the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies.

    There were no questions.

    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.

  3. Minor Modifications to Undergraduate Curriculum, Sciences, UTSC

    Professor Larson noted that the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences had proposed five new courses for 2023-2024 academic year. Two of the courses were in mathematics, and three courses in statistics.

    There were no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


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

  4. Minor Modifications to Undergraduate Curriculum, Social Sciences

    Professor Larson presented the minor modifications for the Social Sciences. She reported that the Department of Global Development Studies proposed three new courses in African Studies. The Department of Human Geography had proposed a course change to a City Studies course with a re-titling and course description change to better reflect the course content. The Department of Political Science had proposed five new courses: one focused on Critical issues in Canadian politics, another on the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights, Law and Politics, a seminar, and Public Law and the Canadian Immigration System.  

    There were no questions.

    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. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    There were two reports for the Committee’s attention. The Chair invited Professor Bill     Gough, Vice-Principal and Dean (VPAD) to deliver his report. Highlights from Professor           Gough’s report included the following:
  • Professor Gough thanked Professor David Zweig (Vice-Dean, Recruitment, Enrolment & Student Success) for his leadership in steering the reduction of the backlog on Academic Integrity cases.
  • He reported that December marked the conclusion to a successful transition back to an in-person semester, with all examinations being completed on schedule.
  • Professor Gough recognized the impact of the pandemic on both upper year and first year students. He noted that VPAD was working closely with the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing to support student success.
  • Course offerings continued to be primarily delivered in-person. A small percentage was offered online. VPAD, along with guidance from the Office of the Provost, would be planning to increase the number of online course offerings for the summer term. This would support degree completion, make UTSC attractive to students who may be outside of the Campus’ direct catchment area, and support accessibility for students with disabilities.
  • UTSC was revisiting the Course Retake Policy to better align with UTM and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Professor Gough thanked the SCSU for their leadership on this item. He noted that consultation on the Policy was nearly completed, and it would be coming forward to the Committee that term.
  • Professor Gough remarked that similar consultations were taking place with the Registrars across the three campuses as it pertained to the Credit/No Credit Policy. The Deans would be receiving a report from the Registrars this term.

    The Chair invited Professor Irena Creed, Vice Principal, Research & Innovation to deliver her report. Highlights from Professor Creed’s report included the following:
  • Professor Creed reported that OVPRI received a significant number of applications during the recruitment for both Associate Vice-Principal Research & Innovation positions; (1) Research, Facilitation and Infrastructure, and (2) Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships.
  • The OVPRI had been working to develop a “one stop shop” website that would provide all relevant information related to all aspects of the research lifecycle. The website would support researchers navigate the complexities of the research enterprise at U of T. An initial version of the website was available and the weblink was communicated to all Chairs and faculty. Professor Creed noted that feedback on the initial website was welcomed and should be communicated to the OVPRI team.
  • UTSC continued to advance the efforts of the Environmental and Related Technologies Hub (EaRTH) partnership with post-secondary institutions in the Eastern GTA – Centennial College, Ontario Technical University, Trent University, Durham College, and Fleming College – to establish the EaRTH District. Over the past year, UTSC had been working closely with Centennial College on developing a plan for a second EaRTH facility – the first is the Environmental Science Building – that would be located at UTSC. Consultations on the project were ongoing, with two scheduled for late January. Professor Creed encouraged members of the UTSC community that would like to participate in these consultations to connect with the OVPRI team.
  • With the launch of GTA-RISE on the horizon, OVPRI would be undertaking some initiatives to reintroduce GTA-RISE to the U of T community. A news story was in development, along with a series of virtual forums/ drop-in sessions for the U of T community to engage with the inaugural and interim Directors. An in-person Town-Hall would be convened in April to officially launch GTA-RISE and its founding institutes. As GTA-RISE is tri-campus in scope and the OVPRI would be promoting GTA-RISE across the tri-campus through presentations at governing bodies and boards.

    A member asked for clarity regarding the Credit/No Credit Policy. Professor Gough clarified that the discussion on the Policy had been longstanding and was raised at this         Committee over the last few years. He noted that at the onset of the pandemic the administration had relaxed the rules on the Credit/No Credit Policy. A review had been completed by Professor Schmuckler that resulted in a report with a set of recommendations on the Credit/No Credit Policy that was then taken for to a Tri-Campus Dean’s Group. Professor Gough would report back to the Committee when more information was available.

    A member inquired as to whether there were plans to expand online course offerings, if there was a specific percentage of courses that should be offered in an online form, and if so, was there a justification for this change. Professor Gough noted that there were no specific quotas to be met and that decisions regarding the expansion of online offerings would be pedagogically driven. Professor Gough and Professor Larson remarked that the online offerings in the summer would be expanded to support flexibility and completion options for students.



On motion duly made, seconded and carried,


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 9, the Report of the Previous Meeting, be approved.

  1. Minor Modifications to Undergraduate Curriculum, UTSC (for information)
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 60 October 20, 2022 (for approval) *
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  1. Date of Next Meeting - February 8th, 2023, 3:10 p.m. 
  2. Other Business

    There was no other business.


The meeting adjourned at 4:09 p.m.