Report: UTSC Campus Affairs Committee - September 14, 2021

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Virtual


UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SCARBOROUGH CAMPUS COUNCIL
REPORT NUMBER 44 OF THE CAMPUS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

September 14, 2021


To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your Committee reports that it met on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 3:10 p.m., in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Present:
Tayyab Rashid (Chair), Tarun Dewan (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal USTC), William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing), Angela Abuel, Philip August, Dhra Chourey, Kyle Danielson, Jacqueline M. Deane, Mark Fitzpatrick, Jason Glover, Brian Harrington, Alexander Irving, David Kwasny, Daniel Lysak, Alice Maurice, Joseph Peter McNamara, Sonja Nikkila, John Ramdeen, Andrew Tam


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

Secretariat:
Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Emma Thacker (Secretary), Kristi Gourlay

Regrets:

Esma Boztas, Monisha Chawla, Obidimma Ezezika, Sheila John, Sylvia Mittler, Sonja Nikkila, Naureen Nizam, Nidhi Shah, Jessica Urbach

Guests:

Professor Scott Mabury (Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships); Greg Hum (Director of Student Housing & Residence Life)

OPEN SESSION
  1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair, Dr. Tayyab Rashid, welcomed members and guests to the virtual meeting. He introduced the Committee’s Presidential Assessors and new members and provided reminders about virtual meeting procedures.

  1. Revisions to the Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects

The Chair invited Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships to present the item. Professor Mabury noted that in the fall of 2020, the Chair of the Governing Council, Ms Claire Kennedy, established the Working Group on Governance Oversight of Capital Projects (WGGOCP) with an overall objective to review and make recommendations to enhance governance oversight of capital projects. This group was later chaired by Brian Lawson, current Chair of the Governing Council.

Professor Mabury noted that the last update to the Policy had been in 2017 and was no longer responsive to the scope and scale of capital projects occurring across the three campuses. He highlighted the following major changes and updates reflected in the new Policy, which addressed many issues identified by the WGGOCP, while at the same time respecting the principles of governance oversight:

  • Added emphasis on Campus Master Plans;
  • Improved clarity on capital project priorities, which incorporated an annual presentation to the relevant governance bodies of capital projects prioritized for the year;
  • Revised approval levels with Level 1 classified as project with a cost up to $10 million; Level 2 classified as a project with a cost between $10 million and $50 million and Level 3 classified as a capital project with a cost more than $50 million;
  • Financing and Execution of Capital Projects has been clarified, so that any financing will be approved by the Business Board, whose role was exclusively to consider the financial impact in the context of the University’s debt capacity, while execution of a project was under the authority to the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP);
  • Changes in Scope have been clarified so that the VPOREP had the authority to approve minor scope changes. For more major scope changes, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies (i.e., Committees, Campus Councils, Boards) that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether a revised Project Planning Report (PPR) should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
  • Project Budget Increases have been clarified, so that approval of cumulative project budget increases up to 10% of the original Total Project Cost (TPC), to a maximum of $30 million, were within the authority of the VPOREP; for those over 10% of the original TPC or between $30 to $50 million, a meeting of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the applicable governance bodies that recommended the Capital Project for approval would be held to decide whether the revised TPC should be brought back through the full governance path for approval;
  • Emphasis of Project Completion Reports was been strengthened so that a written report to University governance bodies was required to confirm financial closure of the Capital Project had occurred and to identify any budget and schedule variances;
  • Property Acquisitions, Real Estate Partnerships, and Capital Leases sections have been added, with an explanation of the authority of the Business Board;

Four Corners (“4C”) and Infrastructure Projects have been recognized in the Policy and the related approval processes have been specified.

A member asked if any consideration was given to community benefits when moving through capital project procurement, such as the hiring of local workers. Mr. Mabury responded by explaining that while there were some limitations with respect to procurement requirements, contractors can be asked to describe how they will address local opportunities. He also noted that the RFP process was being considered with an indigenous equity lens. Andrew Arifuzzaman also explained an initiative to hire trade apprentices and noted that there had been very positive feedback from contractors and unions.

Another member asked how the Committee had landed on the revised approval levels, given the robust market. Mr. Mabury responded that the new levels were roughly double their previous threshold, and that the Working Group had spent time trying to find the right balance of oversight and consideration for the value proposition of a capital project. He further explained the objective to ensure the appropriate expertise from governance to oversee budget and scope components, and the ad hoc body for major scope changes.

  1. Revisions to the UTSC Campus Council and UTSC Campus Affairs Committee Terms of Reference

The Chair invited Ms. Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council to present the item. Ms. Drummond noted that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference resulted from the proposed changes to the Policy on Capital Planning & Capital Projects as described under the previous item by Professor Scott Mabury. Ms Drummond referred members to the meeting documentation which outlined the detailed changes that resulted in both the Campus Council and the Campus Affairs Committee terms of reference. She noted that these changes were made to provide clarity and to ensure that the terms of reference reflected both what was required under the proposed new Policy and current practices. Members had no questions.

  1. Presentation – Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing

The Chair invited Nadia Rosemond, Assistant Dean, Co-Curricular Programs & Student Leadership, and Greg Hum, Director of Student Housing & Residence Life, to share their presentation regarding ‘Orientation and Transition’. Dean Rosemond and Mr. Hum provided an overview of some of the back-to-school transition and pre-orientation programming that was offered this year from the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing, such as the ‘Virtual Get Started’ initiative offered on the Quercus LMS platform. Ms. Rosemond reported on the 4-day transition program offered by AccessAbility Services. Mr. Hum reported that Orientation was offered over two weekends and included many in-person and virtual events and initiatives (e.g., Fire Pit Circle with Residence Life for Indigenous students). Several communities of practice had also been launched to provide additional supports and programming for students.

A member asked how the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing was addressing the issue of sexual violence prevention. Ms Rosemond responded that education modules, support, and training sessions were offered in partnership with Campus Safety, Health & Wellness, and the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre. Some of this training was integrated into orientation. Mr. Hum added that student leaders in residence also received specific training to support education around consent and campus resources. He provided an example of a workshop called ‘Amazing Relationships,’ which explored consent culture.

  1. Report of the Presidential Assessors

The Chair invited Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean to present his Report. Professor Gough reported that Professor Jessica Fields had been appointed as Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success, and Professor Lynn Tucker was appointed as the inaugural Associate Dean Experiential & Global Learning. There was a search underway for the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs & Curriculum position.

Professor Gough provided an update regarding the fall session, reporting that academic planning was ongoing, and that UTSC Departments were making decisions on the distribution of in person/remote courses, to support the needs and circumstances which varied across the units. He referred to the University-wide vaccination approach, exemptions, and testing protocols in place. He reported that although the Province had relaxed the classroom distancing requirements for Fall, UTSC had maintained ‘step-3’ and did not make any late adjustments to classroom capacity, noting that course waitlists for in-person class were quite small, and so no urgent need to change mode of delivery was required. Planning was underway for a fully in-person winter 2022 session. The uneasiness among faculty, staff and students was recognized, and it was hoped that some uneasiness may be mitigated by deployment of vaccinations for those under 12. Circumstances of the fourth wave would be monitored closely (e.g., transit, local vaccination rates), and should any adjustments to winter planning be required, it was hopeful that these announcements would be provided in October of 2021.

The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, to present his report. Mr. Arifuzzaman thanked the many teams operating over the summer months to prepare for the fall term. He reported that each unit had created re-entry plans in consultation with Facilities Management, and Occupational Health & Safety. He noted that at UTSC, only 25% of courses were delivered in-person, and that the campus was prepared to adjust services very quickly should the student the population on campus change. With respect to Capital projects, the residence building and IC2 (Instructional Centre - 2) construction were both underway. He reported that other capital projects would come forward to this CAC later in the year, noting high demands in the construction industry and other challenging complexities. He closed by reporting that over the summer, UTSC was actively working with the Scarborough Health Network regarding vaccine implementation. The SCSU was also active and engaged, supporting the vaccination efforts on the campus and within the local community.

Members had no questions.

6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 43 - May 3, 2021

The report of the previous meeting was approved.

7. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

8. Date of Next Meeting - October 20, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

9. Other Business

Members had no other business.


The meeting adjourned at 4:18 p.m.