REPORT NUMBER 47 OF THE CAMPUS COUNCIL
April 21, 2021
To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto
Your Campus Council reports that it met on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 4:10 p.m. virtually, with the following members present:
Paul Kingston (Chair), Grace Westcott (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), William Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (CAO), George Cree, Shadi Dalili, Tarun Dewan, Irmi Hutfless, Brenda Librecz, Jason Glover, Elaine Khoo, Daniel Lysak, Gillian Mason, Sonja Nikkila, Rose Patten, Tayyab Rashid, Silma Roddau, Paulina Rousseau, Dorinda So, Lara Zink
In Attendance: Bernie Kraatz (Vice-President, Research & Innovation), Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Experience & Wellbeing), Jennifer Davies, Patricia Escobar, Vina Goghari, Jeff Miller, James MacLellan, Grace Skogstad
Secretariat: Emma Thacker (UTSC Campus Council Secretary)
Regrets: George Fadel, Liben Gebremikael, Changmiao Yu, Xiaoyu Yuan
- Chair’s Remarks
The Chair, Professor Paul Kingston, welcomed members and guests to the meeting. The Chair offered a special welcome to Chancellor Rose Patten. He commented that Dr. Patten had served on the Governing Council for nine years, including three years as its Chair, from 2004 until 2007. Dr. Patten had recently been re-elected for a second three-year term as the Chancellor of the University of Toronto. When invited to say a few words, Chancellor Patten commented that she looked forward to when the University community could be together again in-person, and that she was eager to hear the presentations regarding all the work going on at the UTSC campus, and in the wider community.
- Report of the Vice-President and Principal
The Chair invited Principal Tettey to provide his Report.
- Principal’s Report
Principal Tettey shared with members that the new Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Ms. Cherilyn Scobie Edwards, would be joining UTSC on May 3, 2021. Ms Edwards had held several leadership positions with the Toronto District School Board, including her current position as Principal.
Principal Tettey reported on the progress of the National Dialogues & Action and resulting draft Scarborough National Charter. He noted that the deadline for institutional partners to submit feedback on the draft Charter was Monday, April 5th, 2021, and that the response rate had been very positive. He noted that the next step was to convene with the President members of Universities Canada for further discussion and refinement of the Charter. The goal was to present the Charter to institutional partners for signing in the Fall of 2021. He also shared that the University’s Anti-Black Racism Task Force had delivered its final report. The University administration had accepted all 56 recommendations.
Principal Tettey reported that May was Asian Heritage Month. He commented that this provided an opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions of Asian members of the community to enriching the experience at UTSC, to advancing the UTSC mission, and to historical contributions to support and sustain the quality of our lives. He noted that it was also important to acknowledge the challenges of anti-Asian racism. He also explained that the University Anti-Semitism Working Group was pursing work in this area. He reminded members to stand firm on our inclusive values and be supportive of our community members who were negatively impacted.
Lastly, Principal Tettey provided an update on the UTSC Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence, noting that the plan was in the implementation phase. He highlighted the work of the Campus Curriculum Review Working Circle and thanked the communications team for their work in elevating UTSC’s message of inclusive excellence.
Professor William A. Gough, Vice-Principal - Academic & Dean, reported that the summer term would be held remotely with the exception of a few courses that were deemed essential and included educational components that could not be delivered remotely. The fall term would be transitional, and both in-person and remote offerings were planned, which could be expanded or retracted depending on the public health guidelines at that time. The Library, Centre for Teaching & Learning, and the Doris McCarthy Gallery were also considering options for student engagement. Student study space, with WIFI, would be available. Next winter (2022), it was anticipated that students would be back on campus, however, safety and guidelines would need to be considered.
Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC CAO, reported that construction projects continued to move forward. He also commented that the campus water systems were being cleaned and maintained in preparation for the return to campus.
Dean Pouyat reported that the Student Experience and Wellbeing portfolio would see its departments, programs and services returning to in-person delivery in the fall term within whatever public health requirements were in effect at that time. It was likely that operations would see a hybrid model due to the anticipation of public health requirements still being in place as the fall term begins. He reminded members that the student residence had been open throughout the pandemic and in a safe manner, and that the OSEW portfolio did offer services in-person, though limited, and within guidelines, during the summer and fall term of last year, ceasing to do so just prior to the Province moving into the grey zone.
A member asked about Asian Heritage Month, and the University’s plans to address racism. Principal Tettey responded that the university would not wait for Asian Heritage Month to begin before looking at these issues, and that plans and initiatives were underway.
- Presentation: The Golden Mile ‘Communiversity’ Partnership
The Chair invited Professor Gough, Professor Kraatz, and Mr. Arifuzzaman to present the item. The Golden Mile was a commercial district in Scarborough. Mr. Arifuzzaman discussed the plans to augment the Golden Mile redevelopment. The plan would bring together academia, developers and the city, setting the Golden Mile up for steady and prosperous growth for years to come. The Communiversity would focus on establishing a campus presence, academic engagement, promoting culture and arts, sustainable design and construction, and promoting research and development within key industry sectors. The redevelopment would result in driving economic growth and attracting high value companies and residents. Professors Gough and Kraatz discussed the access, pedagogical, research, and scholarship aspects of the community partnership.
A member asked how the University could support implementation with the developers. Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that memorandum of understanding had been developed for the first phase of the project. The approach was to create an environment where the university role added multiple levels of value, and he confirmed that interactions with developers had been very positive thus far. Principal Tettey added that the process had been consultative with members of the community, and other mechanisms had positively shaped support for the project.
A member asked about the specific industry sectors, and about engagement with the local community. Principal Tettey responded that the University would be taking the opportunity to co-learn and co-create. Part of this process would be listening to and engaging with the community to help to shape and inform choices as an expression of UTSC’s living lab commitment. Mr. Arifuzzaman added that there was also a plan to expand the number of community partners and opportunities.
- Presentation: Sustainability Highlights Towards Inclusive Excellence
The Chair invited Dr. James MacLellan, Program Director Environmental Studies in the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, and Mr. Jeff Miller, Director, Facilities Management, to provide the presentation. The presentation was an overview of the work which aligned with and was an extension of the work of the University President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS). The presentation highlighted the following points:
- Principal’s Report
- There was a complexity to managing sustainability on campus. An ‘old school’ approach passively interpreted external environmental change as beyond its ‘control’. Alternatively, the institutional actor could rely upon the expertise of others to ‘keep it in the game’;
- Sustainability was part of the UTSC Strategic Plan, noting that the plan committed to, “evolve our processes and planning to enable the talented members of our community to develop their fullest potential”;
- The University could apply knowledge to the issue of sustainability, across various knowledge domains, to create systems to prepare, bring resources to bear, and move itself towards sustainability;
- There were research, teaching and knowledge events (e.g., conferences, workshops) and knowledge applications (e.g., co-op program) aspects;
- Sustainability plans aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals.
Members had no questions.
- Annual Report: UTSC Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation
The Chair invited Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, Professor Bernie Kraatz to present the Annual Report of the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation (OVPRI). Professor Kraatz shared the winners of recent awards and honours, highlighting to members the many scholarly accomplishments and achievements. He provided an overview of the UTSC research funding from grants and other sources. Professor Kraatz also discussed the many internal services provided to faculty seeking support and training. For example, UTSC had established the Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program (CSPP) as the new flagship program for supporting the pursuit of strategic initiatives. The CSPP was designed to promote self-sustaining, interdisciplinary, inter-departmental/inter-divisional, collaborative clusters of scholarship in areas of established & emerging strength at UTSC.
Professor Kraatz provided details on research in the context of COVID-19 and noted the work of the UTSC Restart Research Working Group. He explained that in conjunction with the Toronto COVID-19 Action Initiative, and the University of Toronto, UTSC had awarded more than $500,000 in funding to support research that renders near-term results (from one month to 12 months, depending on the nature of the impact) with strong potential to positively impact individuals, communities and public health systems. The OVPRI had secured some limited, one-time funding to help UTSC researchers mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19-related mandatory temporary cessation of research activities. He shared with members details about the Collaborative Research Consortium Program (CRCP). He explained that UTSC, Ontario Tech University, Centennial College, and Trent University had partnered in order to provide initial seed support of $50,000 for the development of high-quality collaborative research projects in areas of mutual strength and shared interest that advance the EaRTH Initiative. Professor Kraatz also provided highlights of the OVPRI Strategic Plan, which included some staff recruitment.
He concluded his report by commenting that UTSC continued to develop new tools to sustain and enhance a scholarly environment that enabled UTSC faculty to pursue and secure the resources they required to conduct cutting-edge, world-leading research that served to realize the objectives of UTSC’s Strategic Plan and the University’s Institutional Strategic Research Plan.
Members had no questions.
- Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 46 – March 10, 2021
The report of the previous meeting was approved.
- Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting
There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
- Reports for Information
Members received the following reports for information.
- Report Number 47 of the UTSC Agenda Committee (April 7, 2021)
- Report Number 49 of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (March 23, 2021)
- Date of the Next Meeting – Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 4:10 p.m.
The Chair advised members that the Council was scheduled to meet again on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 4:10 p.m.
- Question Period
Members had no questions.
- Other Business
No other business was raised.
- Appointments: 2021-22 UTSC Campus Council Community Members
On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,
YOUR COUNCIL RESOLVED,
THAT the four community member applicants identified and endorsed by the UTSC Nominating Committee, and as specified in the documentation dated April 12, 2021, be approved to serve three-year terms on the UTSC Campus Council, effective July 1, 2021.
The Council returned to open session.
The meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.
April 30, 2021