Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - May 01, 2023

UTSC Campus Council Chambers, AA160


MAY 1, 2023

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your committee reports that it met on May 1, 2023 at 3:10 p.m., with the following members present: 

Present: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Gillian Mason (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal)*, 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, Corinne Beauquis, Elyse Caron–Beaudoin, Shelley-Anne Brunt, Christopher Cochrane, Sotirios Damouras, Suzanne Erb*, Fatima Formuli*, John A. Hannigan, Irmi Huftless, Elizabeth Ann O’Brien, Alice Maurice, William Nelson, Natalie Oswin*, Laura Risk, Zoreh Shahbazi, Mark A Schmuckler, Rachel Sturge, Sofia Suleman*, Judith Ann Teichman*, Shelby Verboven*, Liana Williams, David Zweig

Regrets: George B. Arhonditsis, Iris Au, Sandra Bamford, Joshua Barker, Rana Behzadi, Divya Dey, Kyomi Duncan, Barry Freeman, Paula Hastings, Qusai Mahmud Hassan, Angela Hamilton, Joseph Hermer, Thembela Kepe, Philip Kremer, Michelle Lone, Nathaniel Luces, Randy Lundy, Andrew Mason, Sharlene Mollett, Michael Molloy, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Cheryl Regehr, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Paulina Rousseau, Anthony Charles Ruocco, Mahinda Samarakoon, Valentina Shamoun, Grace Skogstad, Michelle Silver, Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis, Jessica Marie Wilson

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: Cynthia Jairam-Persaud, Naureen Nizam, Thy Phu, Susan Soikie, Katherine Shwetz

Secretariat: Lydia Gill (Secretary), Anwar Kazimi

* Participated remotely 


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the sixth meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee for the year. She also provided a brief update regarding the results of the 2023 governance elections. Following the declaration of student winners on April 3rd, 2023, the Chair announced the following students as the winners of the undergraduate seats on the Academic Affairs Committee: Bavan Pushpalingam, Niyonta Zulfiqar, Dhra Chourey, Sofia Suleman, Karyn Sethi, and in the graduate constituency, Avesh Chadee. The Chair thanked all candidates for their participation in the elections.
  2. Annual Report: Office of the Vice-Principal Research & Innovation, UTSC

    The Chair invited Professor Irena Creed (Vice-Principal Research and Innovation, UTSC) to deliver the annual report. She also noted that there would be an extended presentation under this item from the Vice-Principal Research & Innovation, UTSC. Highlights from Professor Creed’s report, entitled Transforming U of T Scarborough, are as follows:
  • There were Five Design Aspirations that were guiding the Transformation at UTSC:
    • Leverage Our Place
    • Model the Way
    • Capitalize on Strengths
    • Empower Action
    • Catalyze Social Change
  • The proposed Institutes for Resilient and Inclusive Societies and Ecosystems (iRISE) was one of the primary ways that UTSC was advancing the transformation on campus.
  • iRISE would be an organizing framework and an administrative home for its three constituent and interrelated institutes and was the product of extensive community consultations and evidence-based review of the campus’ scholarly record during the development of UTSC’s Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence.
  • The three inaugural institutes of iRISE are:
    • Institute for Environment, Conservation & Sustainability
    • Institute for Inclusive Health & Well-Being
    • Institute for Inclusive Economies & Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Over 800 members of the UTSC and broader U of T community were engaged in the strategic planning process for iRISE.
  • UTSC would be seeking approval for an Institutional Strategic Initiative (ISI) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The ISI would be part of the larger iRISE ecosystem at UTSC.
  • UTSC had submitted a proposal for a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Sustainability Transitions. The research program would be entitled Just Urban Sustainability Transitions Centred in Equity (JUSTICE).
  • There were seven Cluster of Scholarly Prominence (CSPP) at UTSC spanning multiple disciplines.  
  • OVPRI would invest in the development of UTSC Core Facilities to ensure that researchers had the infrastructure, tools and techniques needed.
  • UTSC researchers had outperformed national averages as it pertained to securing tri-agency funding. OVPRI would continue to engage UTSC faculty to encourage increased participation in the application for tri-agency funding.
  • OVPRI would propose a new Centre of Inclusive Excellence in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CIEIEL) to further enhance the innovation ecosystem at UTSC.
  • The SWITCH program offered through the Environment and Related Technology Hub (EaRTH) district in partnership with the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) would introduce high school and post-secondary students to new careers in the field of Vehicle Innovation and Electronic Vehicles.
  • In November, UTSC partnered with the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) to co-design and facilitate a one-day event committed around publicly engaged scholarship across the university and community to move recommendations into action from the UTSC working paper, Publicly Engaged Scholarship & Innovation: Towards Inclusive Excellence in Research. ​
  • UTSC was developing a Publicly Engaged Scholarship & Innovation Framework (PESI) Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Several faculty at UTSC were the recipients of national and international awards for research and innovation.
  • OVPRI had identified 10 strategic priorities to further advance the research vision of the campus in the coming year.

    A member inquired as to the strategy OVPRI would apply to engage faculty in the tri-agency granting process. Professor Creed noted that plans included an increased number of open houses and presentations to departments. She also noted that OVPRI would support any UTSC faculty member seeking a tri-agency grant through a 3-year matching agreement from the OVPRI.

    Another member inquired as to the definition of research faculty that would be eligible to apply for tri-agency grants. Professor Creed clarified that this would be inclusive of Teaching Stream faculty that do research.
  1. New Program: Specialist (Joint) in Music, Industry and Technology, UTSC

    Professor Larson presented that the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media was proposing a new Joint program with Centennial College, the Specialist (Joint) in Music Industry and Technology, leading to an Honours Bachelor of Arts (H.B.A) degree from the University of Toronto. Students in the new Joint Specialist would earn an Ontario College Certificate in Music Business and Technology from Centennial. Professor Larson also noted that the new Joint Specialist would be structured similarly to existing Joint programs between UTSC and Centennial College. This new program would be the third joint program offered through the Department of Arts, Culture and Media.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried, 


    THAT the new Specialist (Joint) in Music, Industry and Technology, as described in the attached proposal dated April 18, 2023, be approved effective, September 1, 2024.
  2. Minor Modification: new Certificate in Pathways to Health Professions (Category 2 Certificate)

    The Chair introduced this item as the first of two items on the agenda (items 4 and 5) that were connected to the launch of the Scarborough Academic of Integrated Health (SAMIH) at UTSC. The Chair then invited Professor Larson to deliver the proposal for the new Certificate in Pathways to Health Professions.

    Professor Larson reported that the Certificate would be offered by the Department of Health and Society and that it was intended to support provincially supported growth in Life Sciences at UTSC connected to the establishment of SAMIH.  It would also draw upon the multidisciplinary expertise at UTSC to offer life sciences students a more holistic perspective on health care beyond the traditional Life Sciences curriculum. Professor Larson thanked members of the UTSC administration and faculty for their support in developing this new Certificate and proposal.

    Discussion on the proposal, included the following:
  • Regarding the promotion of the new Certificate to the local community, it was noted that UTSC was in the process of developing new marketing and communication materials. Additionally, there was a working group associated with the launch of SAMIH that was looking at new outreach strategies to engage the local community.

  • Regarding the level and number of courses required to complete the certificate, it was noted that further analysis with departments on the senior level course offerings associated with the Certificate was taking place. It was also noted that dedicated Certificate courses and capstone projects would be explored for some senior level courses.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried, 


    THAT the proposed Certificate in Pathways to Health Professions as described in the proposal dated April 13, 2023, be approved, effective September 1, 2024.
  1. Major Modification: new Major (Co-operative)/Specialist (Co-operative) programs, Departments of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, and Psychology, UTSC

    Professor Larson reported that UTSC was proposing to introduce 12 new Co-operative Majors and Co-operative Specialists, where there were existing Majors and Specialists in the same subjects, in the Departments of Biological Sciences, Anthropology and Psychology.

    She further noted that these new Co-op offerings were proposed to achieve two important goals: to offer students new pathways to the completion of a Co-op program of study; and to provide for essential growth in life science programs and work-integrated learning offerings. These goals were in line with the Experiential Learning priorities laid out in UTSC’s Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence (2020-2025), and the need for expanded undergraduate programs to serve (SAMIH). The proposed Co-op programs would attract new applicants to UTSC and would support the new Certificate in Pathways to Health Professions by ensuring that all major or specialist programs affiliated with the proposed Certificate would be available in both Co-op and non-Co-op programs.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried, 


    THAT the proposed new Major (Co-operative) and Specialist (Co-operative) programs, in the Departments of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, and Psychology, as described in the proposal dated April 13, 2023, be approved, effective September 1, 2024.
  2. Minor Modifications: Arts and Science Co-op programs, Sciences, UTSC

    Professor Larson reported that the Office of Arts and Science (A&S) Co-op was proposing changes to the Science Co-op programs. The proposed change would be to increase the work term requirement from two to three work terms and adjust course and minimum credit requirements for the first work term to allow students attend the work term earlier in their degree/program. She further noted that these changes would standardize A&S Co-op programs and bring them into compliance with Co-Operative Education Work and Integrated Learning (CEWIL) guidelines and accreditation standards and Ontario Tax Credit guidelines, while ensuring that no additional time to completion would be needed. The proposed changes would enable students to enter the workplace earlier in their degrees.

    A member inquired as to whether students seeking earlier Co-operative placements would have earlier access to the required courses for those placements. Ms. Soikie noted that all preparation would be completed in their first year.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried, 


    THAT the proposed modifications to Arts & Science Co-op programs in the Sciences, as described in the proposal dated April 13, 2023, be approved, effective September 1, 2024.
  3. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum Changes, Humanities, UTSC

    Professor Larson reported that the Department of Arts, Culture and Media was proposing a suite of new courses. There were four courses to be considered during this cycle of governance, as they would need to be in cycle for Fall 2023.

    Members had 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, dated April 13, 2023, be approved, effective May 1, 2023.
  4. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    There was one report 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:

  • Professor Gough, Professor Zweig, and the International Academic Programs and Initiatives Group (IAPI) visited China to engage with the leadership of the UTSC Greenpath Program partner schools. The (IAPI) hosted a Principals’ Conference for the Principals of the Greenpath Partner schools. The IAPI would continue to seek out additional partner schools for the Greenpath program.

  • There were some concerns as it pertained to technology and academic integrity during the examination period. Professor Gough thanked the Registrarial team for their swift action in addressing academic integrity issues.


  1. Minor Modifications: Undergraduate Curriculum, UTSC
  2. Number 63, March 22, 2023

    Report number 63 of the AAC was approved.

  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
  4. Date of Next Meeting – May 29, 2023, 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next meeting was scheduled for May 29, 2023.
  5. Other Business

    There was no Other Business.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

May 5, 2023