Report: UTSC Campus Affairs Committee - September 15, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting


September 15, 2020

To the Campus Council,
University of Toronto Scarborough,

Your Committee reports that it met on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 3:10 p.m., in a virtual meeting, with the following members present:

Tayyab Rashid (Chair), Tarun Dewan (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal USTC), William Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing), Hamde Abubeker, Rakiya Abdullahi, Philip August, Janet Blakely, Monisha Chawla, Kyle Danielson, Jacqueline M. Deane, Ken Howard, Alexander Irving, Sheila John, Paul Kingston, Daniel Lysak, Alice Maurice, Sonja Nikkila, Jacqueline Sahagian, Andrew Tam

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

Emma Thacker (Secretary), Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Tracey Gameiro

Obidimma Ezezika, Liben Gebremikael, Sylvia Mittler, Naureen Nizam, Deena Yanofsky

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair, Dr. Tayyab Rashid, welcomed members and guests to the virtual meeting. Principal Tettey also welcomed members and thanked them for their service to governance, their collective commitment to health and safety throughout the pandemic, and to maintaining our academic mission throughout.
  2. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    The Chair invited Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean to present his Report. He provided an update on staffing in the Dean’s Office, and an overview of the commitment to UTSC students regarding remote course access. He noted that for all students who anticipated graduating in June of 2021, there was a pathway to graduation, which will include some course flexibility. He also noted that the distribution of T-Cards was in progress. Professor Gough commented that the Winter session would look quite similar to the Fall. It was hoped that some in-person offerings would continue to be offered, and he noted that some teaching labs may be able to open, however this was dependent on government regulations and Public Health advice. Summer 2021 scenarios were being considered for a range of options.

    Professor Gough reported that an equity and diversity lens was a priority in the Dean’s Office, in part as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report (2015), and more recently in response to the spectrum of anti-black racism seen in North America and other locations. He reported there were 29 total faculty searches, with 12 of these being new positions as part of the longer term plans for faculty augmentation. The Provost had provided a diversity fund to support the hiring of under-represented groups. Under the direction of the Vice-Dean, Faculty Affairs, Equity and Success, this program had locally manifested into a number of hires. Vice-Dean Katie Larson was undertaking a curricular review, which stemmed from a review of the Dean’s portfolio, but also with the lens of the TRC and anti-black racism. A consultative working circle would be created, which would include a range of portfolios and student groups. Professor Gough also reported that the Transitional Year Programme was now operating on the UTSC Campus which had enabled students from a variety of different backgrounds, in particular black and indigenous students, to access the University. Finally, he commented that Academic Program Reviews would be completed remotely for the year.

    The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, to present his report. Mr. Arifuzzaman reported that since March a COVID-19 emergency response team was activated which had continued to operate. There were approximately 125 students on campus, compared to the typical 14,000 people on campus. The University had installed hand sanitizer, enhanced cleaning protocols, and implemented check-in areas to support campus safety. It was anticipated that numbers would grow on campus over the session. The campus was prepared to expand hours of operation as well as add additional student study spaces with adequate social distancing. The pandemic had impacted budgets and revenue. It was too early to confirm Fall 20202 student enrolment. There had been a great deal of work to ensure that the community was provided with the best possible resources to work from home – this includes faculty, student and staff. The University had also implemented ‘UCheck’, which was a voluntary, online COVID screening tool. Finally, Mr. Arifuzzaman reported that a number of UTSC capital projects would be coming forward to this body for consideration. He also updated members to advise that the Student Residence project had broken ground.

    The Chair invited Mr. Desmond Pouyat, Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing, to present his report. Dean Pouyat provided an overview of his portfolio responsibilities and provided an update with regard to the COVID-19 response. He reported that services had been mostly all virtual since March 2020. He commented that capacity for services had steadily improved over this period as well as outreach which had extended to supporting international students - many of whom are studying from their home countries.

    Starting in the fall session, in-person hours were offered by all departments, and they would continue to provide virtual services. The Department of Athletics & Recreation had gradually re-opened to in-person services as permissible given the COVID restrictions. The student orientations were virtual, and were well attended. The Student Mental Health Advisory Group, which was an advisory to the Dean of Student Experience & Wellbeing continued to meet. As noted by the Chief Administrative Officer, given the uncertainty around enrolment numbers, budget development would have its challenges. The student residences were running at reduced capacity. Mr. Pouyat concluded by assuring members that supporting the UTSC staff was also a top priority for senior administrators.
  3. Revisions to the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee – Terms of Reference

    The Chair invited Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council, to present. Ms Drummond provided an overview of changes to the Terms of Reference for the Committee as a result of recommendations from the Report of the 2020 Committee to Review the UTM and UTSC Campus Councils1 , which was approved by the Governing Council at its June 25, 2020 meeting.

    Primary changes included revisions to the governance pathway for the campus operating budget, which provided a local administrative process and allowed for increased engagement of the local community. There was also an adjustment to membership such that full-time and part-time undergraduate constituencies would be combined, with no change to the total number of seats. This would not preclude an outcome whereby there were students from each of these constituencies, but it was hoped that it would increase the likelihood that no student seats would go unfilled, which sometimes occurred within the part-time student constituency. This change would be reflected in the in the Election Guidelines 2021.

    Professor Gough provided an endorsement of the changes, specifically regarding the part-time student seats. He noted that historically it had been challenging for students to secure nominations in the part-time constituency, and that the part-time and full-time student experience was more fungible than it had been in the past.
  4. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 38 - May 4, 2020

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  6. Date of Next Meeting - Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
  7. Other Business

    Members had no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 4:18 p.m.

September 25, 2020

1 CRCC Report, Approved June 25, 2020