Report: UTSC Campus Affairs Committee - October 26, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting Room


October 26, 2020

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your Committee reports that it met on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3:10 p.m., in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Tayyab Rashid (Chair), Tarun Dewan (Vice-Chair), William Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing), Philip August, Janet Blakely, Kyle Danielson, Jacqueline M. Deane, Mark Fitzpatrick, Alexander Irving, Sheila John, Paul Kingston, Daniel Lysak, Alice Maurice, Sonja Nikkila, Andrew Tam

Non-voting Assessors:
Jamie Donaldson, Helen Morissette, Jeff Miller, Nadia Rosemond

Emma Thacker (Secretary), Cindy Ferencz-Hammond

Guests: Kimberley Tull (Director, Community & Learning Partnerships & Access Pathways), Melanie Blackman (Coordinator, Community Development); Greg Hum (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life)

Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal USTC), Rakiya Abdullahi, Hamde Abubeker, Monisha Chawla, Obidimma Ezezika, Liben Gebremikael, Ken Howard, Sylvia Mittler, Naureen Nizam, Jacqueline Sahagian, Deena Yanofsk

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair, Dr. Tayyab Rashid, welcomed members and guests to the virtual meeting. He welcomed and congratulated Professor Mark Fitzpatrick (Department of Biological Sciences) who filled the vacant teaching staff seat on the committee, for a three year term.
  2. Annual Report: Community Partnerships and Engagement

    The Chair invited Kimberley Tull (Director, Community & Learning Partnerships & Access Pathways), and Melanie Blackman (Coordinator, Community Development), to present the annual report. Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC Chief Administrative Officer introduced the item. He noted the overall goals of the institution with community engagement, and touched on some of the opportunities gained by this critical work. He also clarified for members that this presentation was deferred from the previous governance year (2019-20).

    Kimberley Tull (Director, Community & Learning Partnerships & Access Pathways), and Melanie Blackman (Coordinator, Community Development) presented the community partnership and engagement report, titled, It Starts with a Conversation. They discussed the approach to the community partner work, referring to it as the ‘reciprocal-learning community development approach’. They reported on four key areas: Relationship Development, Community Support & Sponsorship, Access & Outreach, and Research & Knowledge Mobilization. The presentation also included a short video to highlight the CARES (Collective Action and Response for Everyone in Scarborough) program. CARES supports food repackaging and distribution to address food insecurity for local people in the Eastern Greater Toronto Area.

    A member noted the comment that the work was ‘messy’ and asked for an example. Mr. Arifuzzaman provided the example of the CARES program, which required a quick turnaround to address lease and partnership issues during the early pandemic. Ms Blackman provided the example of a tragic situation for a local family, which required sensitivity and the efficient navigation of institutional resources to respond.
  3. Status Report on Campus Strategic Priorities

    The Chair explained that this item reflected the first step in the governance process for consideration of budget matters. He invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC Chief Administrative Officer to present the status report. Mr. Arifuzzaman reported that the budget process had changed, and that this presentation would provide members with information about the priorities going into the Academic Budget Review (ABR) process. Mr. Arifuzzaman reported the following highlights, noting that the priorities were connected to the UTSC Strategic Plan - Inspiring Inclusive Excellence: A Strategic Vision for the UTSC:
    • Key priorities for the ABR included: support for senior and equity hires, Indigeneity initiatives, support for renewable scholarships, support of research institutes, organizational structures to support the Strategic Plan, supporting research, startup packages, facilities, and capital plans;
    • Key space pressures for the campus included: core academic facilities, innovative classroom space, teaching labs (more and upgraded), faculty & administration office space, research space, student residence, parking structure, the Arts Centre (cultural centre), hotel centre, partnership/incubator centre, and the ‘Four Corners’ real estate plan; and
    • Related to the COVID-19 impact, he spoke to enrolment, student service budgets, and ancillary operations.

A member asked if there were contingency plans in place, given the uncertainly of the times. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that the campus is operating with very minimal people on campus at the moment, and that one focus was on reducing expenses for non-operating ancillary services (e.g., food services). For affected staff, the university was working to second them to other units for work continuity.

  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the UTSC Indigenous House

    The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC Chief Administrative Officer to present the capital project for the UTSC Indigenous House. Mr. Arifuzzaman reported the following highlights:
    • The Indigenous House would provide spaces for Indigenous students, staff, and faculty and would serve as communal space for the suburban and beyond Indigenous community. It would also provide spaces for teaching and research along with spaces for social connection, reflection gathering and ceremony;
    • Indigenous House and was a clear signal of the commitment to fully address the findings and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
    • In consultation with the Elder Circle and the Indigenous community a vision statement was jointly created for an Indigenous House at UTSC:
      • The Indigenous House at the University of Toronto Scarborough brings together our community of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous lifelong learners, by supporting and celebrating diverse Indigenous Ways of Knowing locally and from across Turtle Island.
    • The Indigenous House would represent a highly visible step in the heart of our campus and moved UTSC into a new chapter of rehabilitating the relationship with Canada’s Indigenous population with the aim of being an integral part of our academic mission.
    • The 10,700 sq. ft. space, would be located south of the Instructional Centre and would be visible from Ellesmere Road. Placed on a gradual sloping piece of land, it would offer a view of the surrounding Highland Creek ravine.
    • The Indigenous House was proposed to be built with two storeys. The first floor would comprise offices, lounge area, library, kitchen and a multi-purpose space, gallery/vitrine space. The upper floor included gathering spaces and meeting rooms.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,


THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Indigenous House at the University of Toronto Scarborough, dated September 18, 2020, be approved in principle; and,

THAT the project totaling 481 net assignable square metres (nasm) and 962 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded by UTSC Major Capital Project Reserve, the Major Capital Construction Account, and a fundraising campaign.

  1. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean to present his Report. He provided an update regarding the ongoing campus response to the pandemic. Professor Gough reported on the additional measures announced by the Province and the resulting changes to in person courses, which are now largely in remote mode. The timing of UTSC Fall reading week provided a buffer for communications to students and the transition to online. Campus had returned to a mode of operation that was similar to the summer session, for example, campus check-in points and spaces set up for students to access resources such as computers and Wi-Fi, with COVID protocols in effect. UCheck, an online self-assessment tool, had also come into effect. It was hoped that some in-person offerings would be offered for Winter and Summer sessions, however Public Health regulations and community safety was a priority. Professor Gough provided an enrolment update and he reported that compared to last year (2019-20), there were 252 more students registered. Distribution among various groups differed from planned targets, such as lower domestic enrolment, however this was consistent with other Toronto based universities. Retention rates also continued to improve. Faculty hiring (new and replacement) was underway and he noted that the Provost had provided a diversity fund to support the hiring of under-represented groups. He highlighted an inclusive excellence post-doctoral program to support the careers of indigenous and Black scholars, and the Transitional Year Programme (TYP).

    The Chair invited Mr. Desmond Pouyat, Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing, to present his report. Dean Pouyat invited Greg Hum (Director, Student Housing & Residence Life), Nadia Rosemond (Assistant Dean, Co-Curricular Engagement and Student Leadership) and Sheila John (Assistant Dean Health, Wellness, Recreation, Physical Activity and Sport) to present on supports provided to students since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The presentation highlighted the administrative supports (e.g., quarantine/isolation support) and residence life programs (e.g., outdoor move night; Bob Ross painting night). The integrated support and collaborations across the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing was also explained. A number of outdoor activities were offered to students, including outdoor yoga and hikes in the Highland Creek ravine. The Health & Wellness Centre continued to offer on campus and online services (individual, group and peer-to-peer supports).

    Members had no questions.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 39 – September 15, 2020

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  4. Date of Next Meeting - Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on January 5th, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
  5. Other Business

    Members had no other business.

The Committee moved IN CAMERA.

  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Scarborough Indigenous House - Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding

    The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC Chief Administrative Officer to present the item. Mr. Arifuzzaman presented the total project cost and sources of funding.

    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,


    THAT the project scope of the University of Toronto Scarborough Indigenous House, as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the University of Toronto Scarborough Indigenous House, dated September 18, 2020, be approved in principle.

The Committee returned to Open Session.

The meeting adjourned at 5:02 p.m.

November 4, 2020