Report: UTSC Academic Affairs Committee - October 20, 2022

UTSC Campus Council Chambers, AA160


October 20, 2022

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your committee reports that it met on October 20, 2022 at 3:10 p.m., with the following members present:

Present: Sonja Nikkila (Chair), Gillian Mason (Vice-Chair), 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, Iris Au, Élyse Caron- Beaudoin, Rana Behzadi, Shelley-Anne Brunt, Christopher Cochrane, Fatima Formuli, John A. Hannigan, Qusai Mahmud Hassan, Nathaniel Luces, William Nelson*, Kamini Nadine Persaud, Elizabeth Ann O’Brien*, Natalie Oswin*, Laura Risk*, Paulina Rousseau*, Anthony Charles Ruocco*, Mark A Schmuckler, Zohreh Shahbazi, Valentina Shamoun, Rachel Sturge, Suzanne Sicchia, Judith Ann Teichman, Shelby Verboven, Jessica Marie Wilson*

*Participated remotely

Regrets: Wisdom Tettey (Vice President and Principal), William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Georgios (George) B. Arhonditsis, Corinne Beauquis, Sandra C. Bamford, Joshua Barker, Divya Dey, James D. Donaldson, Sheree Drummond, Suzanne Erb, Janet L. Ecker, Meric S. Gertler, Angela Hamilton, Paula Hastings, Joseph Hermer, Irmi Huftless, Thembela Kepe, Philip Kremer, Michelle Lone, Martha Harris, Anna Kennedy, Randy Lundy, Andrew C. Mason, Alice Maurice, Karen Lyda Mc Crindle, Sharlene Mollett, Michael S.O. Molloy, Juvenal Ndayiragije, Julia Nefsky, Rose M. Patten, Cheryl Regehr, Mahinda Samarakoon, Larry A. Sawchuk, Michelle Silver, Grace Skogstad, Sofia Alani Suleman, Phil Triadafilopoulos, Liana Williams, Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis, David Zweig

Non-Voting Assessors: Kyomi Duncan (Associate Registrar and Director, Student Recruitment & Admissions), Varsha Patel (Assistant Dean, Student Success and Career Support)

In Attendance: Sotirios Damoutras (Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Computer & Mathematical Sciences), Philip Monahan (Associate Chair for Linguistics, Department of Language Studies)

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


  1. Chair’s Remarks
    Professor Sonja Nikkila, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, welcomed members and guests to the second meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee (Cycle 2) for the academic year.
    The Chair welcomed Lydia Gill, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, UTSC. Lydia will be covering the secondment of Emma Thacker, who has accepted the role of Director, Graduate Awards & Financial Aid at the School of Graduate Studies until June 2023.
  2. Minor Modifications to Undergraduate Curriculum, UTSC
    The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, to present the item. Professor Larson explained that the new courses were proposed to be taught in the 2022-2023 academic year (winter session). The curriculum changes were from the Department of Historical & Cultural Studies, which was proposing two new courses and the Department of Language Studies, which was proposing one new course.

    Members had no questions.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the proposed Humanities and Language Studies undergraduate curriculum changes for the 2022-23 academic year, as detailed in the respective curriculum report, be approved.
  3. Sessional Dates
    The Chair invited Shelby Verboven, Registrar & Assistant Dean, Strategic Enrolment Management, to present the item. Shelby provided an overview of the sessional dates for 2023-24, which included information about the examination periods and reading weeks.
    Shelby also noted that in collaboration with the University Registrar and Vice-Provost Strategic Enrolment Management, there were efforts underway to align sessional dates across the tri-campus. This continued to be a work in progress and there would be more to share with the Committee closer to the 2024-2025 academic year.
    In response to a member’s question regarding the challenge with aligning sessional dates, Shelby explained that due to the size of the University and complexity of the registrarial system, it could be challenging to align dates tri-campus. However, the discussion was ongoing, and progress was being made.
  4. Report of the Presidential Assessors
    There were two reports for the Committee’s attention.
    The Chair invited Professor Irena Creed, Vice-Principal, Research & Innovation (OVPRI) to present her report. Professor Creed made several announcements about the submission of the UTSC CERC Nomination, the hiring of the Directors for the GTA-RISE Research Institutes, upcoming health conferences, and a Forum on Publicly Engaged Scholarship and Innovation.

    Highlights of Professor Creed’s report included the following:
    • A $35 million Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) nomination was submitted by UTSC on October 11.
    • The CERC nominee was an internationally recognized scholar who had been offered and accepted a position in the Department of Sociology, set to begin on July 1, 2023.
    • OVPRI successfully completed the recruitment process for the Directors of the three founding GTA-RISE research institutes, as follows:
      • Professor Imre Szeman was the inaugural Director of the Institute for Environment, Conservation, and Sustainability, and a faculty member in the Department of Human Geography
      • Associate Professor Allison Crawford was the inaugural Director for the Institute for Inclusive Health and Well-Being (IIHWB), and a faculty member in the Department of Human Geography, with the Interim Director position being filled by Professor Charles Trick from the Department of Health and Society
      • The inaugural Director for the Institute for Inclusive Economies and Sustainable Livelihoods (IESL), would be announced later, following a tenure review, with the Interim Director position being filled by Associate Professor Caroline Shenaz Hossein.
    • OVPRI was organizing two conferences at UTSC focused on healthcare in the Eastern GTA, to support the development of the Health and Resilience Together (HeART) Innovation District:
    • The Great Age: Sustainability in Aging Societies was a one day in-person conference in Highland Hall on October 24, 2022; and Shaping the Future of Care was a two day in-person conference organized jointly with the Scarborough Health Network (SHN), occurring at UTSC on November 25 and 26. Professor Creed noted that this ground-breaking conference celebrated the recently announced creation of the Eastern GTA's all-new medical and healthcare education hub at UTSC – the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH).
    • A day-long forum on Publicly Engaged Scholarship & Innovation, was planned to take place at UTSC on November 11th (with breaks for those observing Remembrance Day). It would bring together UTSC faculty, staff and community partners to assess the recommendations contained in a Working Paper on publicly-engaged scholarship produced by Professor Patricia Landolt and Dr. Sharad Barkataki.

The Chair invited Professor Katie Larson, Vice-Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs to deliver the assessor’s report on behalf of Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean. Professor Larson provided a report with respect to the pandemic and the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH).

Highlights from the assessor’s report included the following:

  • Currently, most courses are being offered in-person. VPAD was paying close attention to the possibility of an ‘eighth wave’ based on wastewater analysis.
  • UTSC has deployed WebOption with prioritization for large enrolment classes this Fall which enabled students who were symptomatic to access course material remotely. This will be continued in the Winter.
  • The University will continue with student self-declaration of absences but in a modified way. Revisions are expected in Fall 2023.
  • SAMIH has received provincial funding. In addition to the funding allocated to both the Scarborough Health Network and U of T Scarborough, the province will also provide funding for both undergraduate and second entry programs. Second entry programs, additional allocation, include the following programs; medicine, physician assistant, physical therapy, plus reallocation, nursing practitioner – these students will be managed (recruitment, enrollment, etc) by host faculties. In addition, there was an undergraduate allocation of 300 graduating students per year in the life sciences. This will begin in 2024.
  • VPAD was actively working on this opportunity for growth by expanding existing programs and taking into consideration the development of new certificate programs to guide students towards health professions.

In response to a question from a member regarding the ‘eighth wave’ and the recording of classes, Professor Larson clarified that prioritization for recordings was placed on larger classes, of 200 students or more.

The Vice-Chair asked for clarification on how the Academic Affairs Committee would be involved in the course development and approval of the three new institutes. Professor Creed noted that senior leadership was in discussion with the OVPRI to develop these institutes into either EDU A, B or C’s, which would then proceed through appropriate governance consideration.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 59 – September 12, 2022
    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  3. Date of Next Meeting – January 10, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
    The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on January 10, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
  4. Other Business
    A member asked a question regarding the process for getting items onto the Academic Affairs Committee and Campus Council agendas. The Chair referred the member to contact the Secretariat for further information.

    No other business was raised by members.

The meeting adjourned at 3:48 p.m.

October 25, 2022