Report: UTSC Campus Affairs Committee - September 19, 2023

UTSC Council Chamber



To the UTSC Campus Council,

University of Toronto,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Jason Glover (Vice-Chair), William Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Neel Joshi (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing), Tarak Ahmed, Beheshta Ali Dad Khan, Tiffany Castell, Mark Fitzpatrick, Pratik Guha, Brian Harrington, Manisha Kabi, Elaine Khoo, David Kwasny, Ainsley Lawson, Zanira Manesiya, Joseph Peter McNamara, Tanzina Mohsin, Aliya Shaikha, Dorinda So, Rachel Sturge, Andrew Tam, Arjun Yanglem, Hoorik Yeghiazarian

REGRETS: Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), Tarun Dewan, Kyle Danielson, Jeff Miller, Sylvia Mittler, Soham Naya

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Irena Creed, David Zweig, Ramona Gonsalves, Sheila John, Nadia Rosemond

SECRETARIAT: Emma Thacker, Megann Davidson

IN ATTENDANCE: Grace Westcott (Acting Chair)


        Secretary's Remarks

        The Committee Secretary, Emma Thacker, advised members that the Chair was unable to attend, and the Committee must approve a Presiding Officer pro tempore for the meeting. 

        On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,   


        THAT Ms Grace Westcott act as the Presiding Officer, pro-tempore, to Chair the Campus Affairs Committee meeting held on September 19, 2023, in the absence of the Chair, Professor Tarun Dewan.

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Acting Chair, (Grace Westcott) welcomed members and guests to the meeting. She introduced the Committee’s Presidential Assessors and members of the administration.

     2. Assessor Portfolio Overview & Priorities for 2023-24

    1. The Chair invited Professor William A. Gough (Vice-Principal Academic & Dean) to present his Report. Highlights of the presentation included:
    • UTSC had encountered an international student enrolment shortfall for summer session 2023. This had impacted revenue and the budget. The student melt rate (admission accepted then later declined) had also been less than anticipated.
    • Strategies were under development to address enrolment (e.g., more direct offers), however several enrolment initiatives were already in place to support admissions (e.g., new residence) and student visa processes (IRCC) had improved.
    • A ‘flexible’ strategic enrolment plan was under development to help with short and long-term enrolment planning.
    • Recent salary settlements (in part in response to Bill 124), while equitable, had also impacted the budget, leading to some delays in hiring faculty and staff.
    • The UTSC Teaching Stream Working Group has submitted its final report and recommendations to the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean’s Office (Report was still under review). The recommendations aimed to better support the success of Teaching Stream faculty. The Dean’s Office was seeking to appoint a Special Advisor on Teaching Stream Faculty Success to implement the Report recommendations, and overall to ensure continued focus on the professional and career interests of Teaching Stream faculty, to enhance representation, and to support and advance Teaching Stream contributions to the strategic direction of UTSC.
    • Professor Juvénal Ndayiragije had accepted the position of Special Advisor, Black Faculty Success until June 2025. In this new role Professor Ndayiragije would provide counsel and advice to the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, Vice-Deans, and Associate Deans focusing on the recruitment and retention of Black faculty and postdoctoral fellows.
    1. The Chair invited Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer) to present his Report. Highlights of the presentation included:
    • The UTSC Strategic Plan guided all priorities and initiatives.
    • Balanced budget for 23-24, with almost 70 percent of revenue coming from tuition and fees. Most of the expenses fell to faculty and staff compensation.
    • Great deal of change in the compensation budget due to the ratification of collective agreements, and impact from Bill 124.
    • Capital projects in various stages of planning and development, such as:
    • Student Residence (Harmony Commons) had opened three weeks prior. The new residence was designed mostly for first-year students and accommodated 750 students. It offered a high sustainability standard and was the first of its kind for efficiency in the world.
    • The Indigenous House was on track for a Fall 2024 completion.
    • Sam Ibrahim Building (formerly known as Instructional Centre 2) would provide more classroom space with 23 lecture halls and was planned to open in 2024.
    • SAMIH (Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health) planned to open in 2026.
    • Retail and Parking Commons would provide 1084 new parking spaces, planned to open in 2024.
    • Field House and Vertical Farm were in development.
    • Several ongoing community partnerships (e.g., Earth District, Toronto Zoo, Terroni Pizza, Golden Mile, and ‘Hammers Up’ Apprenticeship program).
    • With a focus on sustainability, the UTSC community found a natural affinity with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). They are active participants in the collective effort towards achieving these goals.
  1. The Chair invited Neel Joshi (Dean, Student Experience and Wellbeing) to provide his report, with the following highlights:

  • The Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing had seven offices (Academic Advising & Career Centre; AccessAbility Services; Athletics & Recreation; Student Life Programs; International Student Centre; Health & Wellness Centre; Student Housing & Residence Life.)

  • This September, the UTSC residences received 1150 new students, and the kitchen services were now open to the community at Harmony Commons.

  • Frosh and orientation week went well, with the support of the SCSU and 150 volunteers.

  • Mr. Joshi reported on the following five priorities for 2023-24.

  1. Promote the Healthy Campus and increase mental health literacy through the implementation of the Mental Health Task Force recommendations;
  2. Support international, underrepresented and equity-deserving student retention and success;
  3. Deepen practices for career learning, and enhance employer relations to prepare students for the world of work, and/or further education;
  4. Enhance campus infrastructure with capital projects that reflect our dedication to a comprehensive, inclusive community experience, e.g., Indigenous House and Field House;
  5. Oversee the expansion of the campus residences to increase occupancy and provide high quality student support and programming, e.g., launch of Living Learning communities.

    A member asked for clarification on the difference between Field House and the Toronto PANAM Sports Centre. Assistant Dean John responded that the PANAM Centre was co-owned with the City of Toronto. The Field House was in indoor turf which offered more opportunities for different programming and to bring in the community.

    A member asked if enrolment targets should be adjusted given the enrolment pressures. Dean Gough responded that while it was doubtful that summer enrolment would return to pandemic numbers, this may support program completion. The University would not reduce undergraduate enrolment projections overall, however, may redistribute them from UTSC to other divisions, as needed. The Dean’s Office was working on strategy and enrolment plans.  

    A member asked about the student meal plan, and asked if year-end meal plan dollars could roll over into the next year, rather than be converted to TBucks. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that he would look into the query.

    A member asked about enhancing communications, especially around capital projects, noting that Alumni may be an untapped opportunity. Professor David Zweig (Vice-Dean Recruitment, Enrolment & Student Success) responded that his office was working with the Marketing and Communications Office, and that it was a multi-pronged issue and a priority. He also mentioned some initiatives such as search engine optimization, and revising admissions webpages, based on data and feedback.

    A member commented that when crossing Ellesmere Road and Military Trail, many cars continued to miss the ‘no right turn’ sign and this was a danger. He asked about connecting with the City of Toronto for additional signage and awareness. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that he had spoken with the Deputy Mayor.​​​​​

  1. Report of the Presidential Assessors

    No remarks.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 53 – June 9, 2023

    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 – October 18, 2023, 3:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Committee would meet again on October 18, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.

  5. Other Business

    The Chair noted the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the UTSC Campus Council and its Standing Committees. To acknowledge the milestone, the Chair invited members to a brief celebration reception that would follow the first meeting of the Campus Council on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. Members had no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

September 26, 2023