Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - March 23, 2021

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Virtual Meeting Room


THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SCARBOROUGH CAMPUS COUNCIL

REPORT NUMBER 49 OF THE UTSC ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

March 23, 2021


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,


Your Committee reports that it met on March 23, 2021 at 3:10 p.m. in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Present: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Shadi Dalili (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice President and Principal), Bernie Kraatz (Vice-Principal, Research), Jamie Donaldson (Vice-Dean, Recruitment, Enrolment and Student Success), Katie Larson (Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs), Mary Silcox (Vice-Dean, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies), Grace Skogstad (Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Research - Strategic Initiatives), Rakiya Abdullahi, George Arhonditsis, Glenn Brauen, Corinne Beauquis, Shelley Brunt, Christine Bolus-Reichert, Radhapriya Chawla, Curtis Cole, George Cree, Sarah Guay, Alen Hadzovic, Angela Hamilton, John Hannigan, Paula Hastings, Margaret Kohn, Patricia Landolt, Daniel Lysak, Gillian Mason, Karen McCrindle, Laura Risk, Silma Roddau, Paulina Rousseau, Larry Sawchuk, Michelle Silver, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Jessica Wilson, Liana Williams, Betel Woldu, Xiaoyu Yuan

Non-Voting Assessors: Annette Knott, Varsha Patel

In Attendance: Christine Arsenault, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Genevieve Dewar, Tarun Dewan, Michael Evans, Melissa Pullara, Andrew Stark

Regrets: William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean ), Grace Skogstad (Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Research - Strategic Initiatives), Syed Ahmed, Sandra Bamford, Suzanne Erb, Jacob Koudys, April Franco, Barry Freeman, Thembela Kepe, Neil ten Kortenaar, Hugh Laurence, Brenda Librecz, Parsa Mahmud, Andrew Mason, Michael Molloy, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Natalie Rothman, Sonja Sedivy, Michael Souza, Changmiao Yu, Shelby Verboven

Secretariat: Emma Thacker (Secretary), Patrick McNeill


OPEN SESSION

  1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair, Professor Sonja Nikkila, welcomed members and guests. She noted for members that the closed captioning option was now available through the virtual meeting.

  1. Presentation – UTSC Campus Curriculum Review Update

The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning and Undergraduate Programs, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the focus of the review was on Indigenous knowledges, Black knowledges, racialized perspectives, international, and intercultural perspectives. She also highlighted the importance of intersectional approaches to the review. The process was being led by a Working Circle, comprised of faculty, staff, students and academic leaders; the circle-based structure builds inclusivity into the process. The goal of the review was to address structural change, and to think about how to embed UTSC’s commitment to inclusion, Indigeneity and anti-racism across the programs, and into the pedagogical approaches and supports. The Working Circle was launched in November of 2020. Meetings initially focused on laying the foundations for the circle process itself, which emphasizes relationality, trust building, and the importance of listening. In January of 2021, four sub-circles were set up to take the lead on four key areas of the review: 1) Landscape review (internal and external); 2) UTSC listening and conversation; 3) Community listening and engagement; and 4) Institutional resources and supports.

A curricular assessment survey was forthcoming to the departments and faculty. This survey would build upon the UTSC calendar keyword scan (summer of 2020). The survey would also be complemented by feedback from Departmental Chairs and faculty members. The Working Circle was aware that many departments were actively engaged in this work in various ways. Professor Larson acknowledged that the Working Circle had been balancing the urgency and the importance of this work with recognition of the fact that everyone is collectively exhausted due to the pandemic. Lastly, she reported about the upcoming launch of a public facing website, and that the initial recommendations and action areas would be drafted in the Summer of 2021.

A member asked about how the project had engaged with the community. Professor Larson responded that the Working Circle was considering how to engage in outreach with the community, especially in ways that integrate the engagement with other forms of outreach and conversation. The forthcoming website may assist with feedback from the community. UTSC also had pathways in place to engage with community members, which we were drawing on so as not to duplicate efforts or over-stretch community members.

A member asked about building wellness into the curriculum review, including considerations related to accessibility, which would be emphasized by upcoming recommendations from the AODA. The pandemic had also illuminated the various ways that inclusive pedagogies and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was connected to student wellness.

  1. Changes to Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), UTSC


The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the proposed change to the BBA degree, included adding a requirement of 0.5 FCE which was designated for work-integrated learning. The proposed change was intended for the 2021-2022 academic year. The requirement would apply to all students in all BBA programs, and was included as part of the required 20 FCEs to complete the degree. Professor Larson acknowledged that Professors Christine Arsenault and Andrew Stark from the Department of Management were in attendance to respond to any questions.

A member asked about the number of hours that were required to meet the 0.5 FCE of work-integrated learning. Professor Arsenault responded that the learning experience criteria was developed with reference to the terms and definitions provided by the Provost’s Office, which required an external partner, a reflection assignment and evaluation, and a live, active case study. The member also added that hours could be tracked for consistency and standardization.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

THAT the proposed changes to degree requirements in the Bachelor of Business Administration degree, as detailed in the proposal dated January 22, 2021, be approved.

4. Major Modification: New Major and Major (Co-operative) programs in Environmental Chemistry (HBSc), UTSC

The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (DPES) was proposing to introduce new Major and Major (Co-operative) programs in Environmental Chemistry (HBSc), where Specialist and Specialist (Co-operative) programs in Environmental Chemistry (HBSc) already exist. Professor Larson provided highlights of the proposal and noted that the new majors were proposed to be offered in the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Larson acknowledged that Professor George Arhonditsis from the DPES was in attendance to respond to any questions.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

THAT the proposed Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.

  1. Major Modification: Statistical Science Stream - Specialist and Specialist (Co-operative) programs in Statistics (HBSc), UTSC

The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) was proposing to introduce a new stream called ‘Statistical Science’ to the Specialist and Specialist (Co-operative) programs in Statistics (HBSc). The proposal also included minor modifications to the existing enrolment and course requirements for Specialist and Specialist (Co-operative) programs in Statistics. Professor Larson provided highlights of the proposal and explained that the changes were proposed to be offered for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Larson acknowledged that Professor Michael Evans, from the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences was in attendance to respond to any questions.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

THAT the proposed Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.

  1. Minor Modification: Collaborative Specialization in Development Policy and Power, UTSC

The Chair invited Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, to present the item. Professor Silcox provided a broad overview and explanation of collaborative specializations in graduate studies. She explained that the Centre for Critical Development Studies (CCDS) was proposing to add the Master of Arts in Women & Gender Studies as a participating program to the existing Collaborative Specialization in Development Policy and Power. Professor Silcox acknowledged that Professor Anne-Emanuelle Birn had attended to respond to any questions.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

THAT the minor modification proposed by the UTSC Centre for Critical Development Studies for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.

  1. Minor Modification: Graduate Curriculum Changes – Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, UTSC

The Chair invited Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, to present the graduate curriculum changes for the Master of Environmental Science program. Professor Silcox explained that the program requirements for the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation field had been modified to accommodate changes associated with an optional course (EES 1131H), there were modification to admission requirements to the Conservation and Biodiversity field, and EES1131H was modified to add an exclusion. If approved, these proposed changes would become effective for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Silcox acknowledged that Professor George Arhonditsis from the DPES had attended to respond to any questions.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED,

THAT the proposed Graduate Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences graduate curriculum changes for the 2021-22 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum reports, be approved.

  1. Report of the Presidential Assessors

The Chair invited Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, to present a report on behalf of Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean. Professor Silcox shared with members that Professor Goughs had sent his regrets.

Professor Silcox reported that following extensive consultation, the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean had decided to delay the start of classes in the January 2022 session by one week, similar to the recent 2020-21 December break. This planned weeklong delay was intended to provide an additional period of respite for students and faculty, and would avoid any compression of the exam period. This, in turn, would mean a delay in the start and end of the summer 2022 session, however this would not affect the subsequent fall 2022 session start date.

Regarding modes of course delivery, Professor Silcox reported that the summer 2021 session would look much like the current term, with the majority of course offerings online. With respect to Fall of 2021, the University was looking forward to a much richer array of course delivery offerings, while continuing to plan locally for items such as public transit and the student residence. She explained that gathering limits and rules about physical distancing might still be in place, and the administration was in process of determining how best to use the campus learning spaces. UTSC was planning for a transitional fall semester, with an expanded array of face-to-face offerings, but also with a rich array of online course options. With vaccination timelines, it was anticipated that the winter 2022 session would hold fewer in-person constraints for course delivery.

A member asked about how large classes would manage with physical distancing. Professor Silcox responded that there would likely be a mixture of in-class and remote sections for larger courses.

A member asked if faculty were expected to prepare online content, if a course was scheduled as an in-class offering in the fall. Professor Silcox responded to say that the Fall will likely not offer a comprehensive remote guarantee for every single course, as had been offered in the past. Principal Tettey added that the safety of the community was paramount, and there was significant work involved to ensure that safety protocols were met while providing space to engage.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 48 – January 13, 2021

The report of the previous meeting was approved.

  1. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

  1. Date of Next Meeting - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

  1. Other Business

Members had no questions.

The meeting adjourned at 4:18 p.m.