Report: UTSC Campus Council - May 26, 2020

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Via Virtual Meeting

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SCARBOROUGH CAMPUS COUNCIL

REPORT NUMBER 42 OF THE CAMPUS COUNCIL

May 26, 2020

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto

Your Campus Council reports that it met on May 26, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. virtually, with the following members present:

Present: Preet Banerjee (Chair), Paul Kingston (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), William Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman, Fareed Amin, Shadi Dalili, Tarun Dewan, Arda Erturk, George Fadel, Jason Glover, Elaine Khoo, Daniel Lysak, Mari Motrich, Gillian Mason, Sonja Nikkila, Tayyab Rashid, Silma Roddau, Annie Sahagian, Dorinda So, Lynn Tucker

Regrets: Liben Gebremikael, Brenda Librecz, Mari Motrich

Secretariat: Emma Thacker (Secretary), Kristi Gourlay, Anwar Kazimi, David Walders

In Attendance: Maydianne Andrade (Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs & Equity), Mary Silcox (Vice-Dean Graduate), Desmond Pouyat (Dean, Student Affairs), Tina Doyle (Director, AccessAbility Services), Jessica Fields, Cassandra Hartblay


OPEN SESSION

1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the Council meeting. He offered reflections and highlights on the work of the Council over the past governance year and thanked all members for their engagement and thoughtful questions throughout the year. The Chair reminded student members that the Co-Curricular Record (CCR) included UTSC governance bodies, and they may submit their positions for validation by the Secretariat.

2. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

The Chair invited Professor Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President and Principal, to provide his report. Professor Tettey thanked students, faculty and staff for their ongoing collaborative efforts in the community in response to COVID-19, and in keeping with UTSC values. He reported that the UTSC Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence: A Strategic Vision for the University of Toronto Scarborough, had received final governance approval. He discussed the next stages of implementation. He stated that the virtual convocation ceremony would begin at noon on June 2, 2020, and encouraged all to attend. Professor Tettey noted the University’s key imperatives in decision making regarding academic and campus planning for the fall, which included the promotion of health and safety, advancement of academic excellence, and ensuring the needs of the community were met. He invited several members of the leadership team to share updates from their portfolios.

Mr. Desmond Pouyat, Dean, Student Affairs, provided an overview of the online offerings and services available for students, including those for athletics and recreation. He noted several of the initiatives to build the community and support students, which included online counselling, immigration advice, and the ‘Get Hired’ virtual conference. He noted that while there was still uncertainty, he was confident that the community would rise to the occasion.

Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, provided an overview of the changes to operational aspects on campus, and reported that the focus has shifted to fall session planning and the reopening of operations. Considerations included the support that would be required for online teaching and learning activities, such as new technology. He noted that reopening decisions would align with the Strategic Plan and reported that UTSC continued to work with community partners to support COVID-19 related initiatives.

Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, reported on behalf of Professor William Gough, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, regarding academic continuity updates. She noted the principles of health and safety, academic excellence, and meeting the needs of the UTSC community that guided academic continuity planning. She mentioned that public transportation and the age of faculty (20% over age of 60) were specific concerns for UTSC. Physical distancing was assumed to be part of the fall semester, which reduced classroom capacity (down to about 20%). Professor Silcox provided an overview of the ‘remote guarantee’ for UTSC students in the fall session, which provided a commitment to remote access for fall session courses. Some in-person offerings would be considered which would have remote counterparts so students that participated remotely would not be disadvantaged. Professor Silcox thanked the community for all of their hard work and dedication in response to COVID-19.

Members had no questions.

3. Proposal to Convert the Centre for French and Linguistics (EDU:A) to the Department of Language Studies

Professor Maydianne Andrade, Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs and Equity, presented the proposal to convert the Centre for French and Linguistics (EDU:A) to the Department of Language Studies. Professor Andrade explained the distinctions between an EDU:A and a department, and provided some of the history, including the growth of the Centre for French and Linguistics.

Professor Andrade explained that the Centre for French and Linguistics sought departmental status as the unit already functioned as a department. The unit had a strong common, scholarly focus on human languages, with the goal of understanding, analysing, and interpreting human language, and its connections and manifestations in culture. She provided members with information regarding faculty appointments, student enrolment, budget, and other elements of the proposed department. In addition, the proposal consultation was reviewed, and it was clarified that there would be no staffing, budget, or program changes as a result of the conversion.

Dr. Tayyab Rashid, Chair of the Campus Affairs Committee, and Professor Elaine Khoo, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, both confirmed that the proposal was approved for recommendation by their respective governance bodies.

Members had no questions.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COUNCIL RECOMMENDED,

THAT, the Centre for French and Linguistics (EDU:A) be converted to the Department of Language Studies, as described in the proposal recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William Gough, and dated April 17, 2020, be approved to be effective as of July 1, 2020.

4. Proposal to Convert the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society (EDU:B) to the Department of Health and Society

Professor Maydianne Andrade, Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs and Equity, presented the proposal to convert the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society (ICHS) (EDU:B) to the Department of Health and Society (provisional title). Professor Andrade explained the characteristics of an EDU:B in relation to a department, and provided some of the history and growth of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society.

Professor Andrade explained that the ICHS sought departmental status and described the academic mission and aspirations of the unit. She stated that there was a distinct need for change in the organizational structure of the unit to support degree programs and its robust research mission. The conversion to a department would allow faculty to hold primary appointments within the unit. In addition, proposal consultation was reviewed, and it was clarified that there would be no changes to staffing or programs due to the conversion. Professor Fields (Director, ICHS) provided further remarks on the history of the ICHS, and discussed the unit’s strong position and coherent vison. Dr. Tayyab Rashid, Chair of the Campus Affairs Committee, and Professor Elaine Khoo, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, both confirmed that the proposal was approved for recommendation by their respective governance bodies.

A member asked if COVID-19 was included in the curriculum for the upcoming semesters. Professor Jessica Fields responded that the faculty submitted an article to The Conversation that highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary thinking with respect to health and society. In addition, a course was developed to highlight COVID-19 and could be adapted to support other related issues.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COUNCIL RECOMMENDED,

THAT, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society (EDU:B) be converted to the Department of Health and Society, as described in the proposal recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William Gough, and dated April 17, 2020, be approved to be effective as of July 1, 2020.

5. Creation of the Centre for Global Disability Studies as an EDU:C

Professor Mary Silcox, Vice-Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, presented the proposal to create the Centre for Global Disability Studies (CGDS). Professor Silcox explained the characteristics of an EDU:C, which supported research clusters, and explained the goals of the new Centre. She noted that the CGDS would position UTSC as a regional and international leader of the emerging field of global disability studies, and would act as a tri-campus hub to foster interdisciplinary research and scholarly interest in the field. She noted that the CGDS would activate core elements of UTSC’s Strategic Plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence.

Professor Cassandra Hartblay provided context to the term ‘global’, included in the Centre’s title, and provided information on the global disability studies movement. She noted that the CGDS would partner with UTSC AccessAbility Services, to position UTSC as a leader in student support and service and discussed the research aspirations of the Centre. Dr. Tayyab Rashid, Chair of the Campus Affairs Committee, confirmed that the proposal was approved for recommendation, on May 4, 2020.

A member asked about protocols for identifying and establishing Centre and community relationships, and further inquired about how the Centre would interact with other national or international Centres with similar goals. In addition, the member sought clarification on the language of ‘troubling’ and ‘anti-ablest’ and asked if scholarly journals existed in this area of inquiry. Professor Hartblay responded that the Centre would act as a potential home for visiting scholars and it was hoped that the Centre would attract students to the area of disability studies. She clarified that disability studies had several scholarly journals and provided historical context with respect to the contested and critiqued language within the field. She also reported on the long-term goals to support community relations and outreach with similar academic centres.

A member asked about the terminology of ‘disability’. Professor Hartblay responded that there was little agreement about the use of the term ‘disability’ and provided an overview of the fraught point of discussion within the field of study, and the intentions of the proposed Centre.

On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,

YOUR COUNCIL RESOLVED,

THAT subject to confirmation by the Executive Committee,

THAT, the creation of the Centre for Global Disability Studies as an Extra-Departmental Unit C as described in the proposal recommended by the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor William Gough, and dated April 7, 2020, be approved to be effective as of July 1, 2020. 

6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 41 – April 22, 2020

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. Reports for Information

Members received the following reports for information.

  1. Report Number 42 of the UTSC Agenda Committee (May 13, 2020)

  2. Report Number 44 of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (April 28, 2020)

  3. Report Number 38 of the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee (May 4, 2020)

9. Date of the Next Meeting – June 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

The Chair advised members that the Council was scheduled to meet again on June 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. He noted this was a reserve date and it was anticipated the meeting would be cancelled. The Chair noted that the 2020-2021 governance schedule was posted to the Governing Council website and would be circulated.

10. Question Period

A member asked how the Credit / No Credit (CR/NCR) option at the St. George Campus would affect UTSC students over the summer session. Professor Gough responded that the CR/NCR option had reverted back to the way it was prior to the winter 2020 session for both the Faculty of Arts & Science and UTSC. He noted that any difference in the date of declaration was consistent with past practice.

11. Other Business

The Chair thanked the Vice-Chair, Assessors and outgoing members of the Campus Council. Professor Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President and Principal, expressed his appreciation for members’ commitment to serving on the Campus Council.

No other business was raised.

The Council moved in camera. 

IN-CAMERA SESSION 

12. Appointments: 2020-21 UTSC Campus Council Standing Committee Assignments, including the Agenda Committee 

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried,  

YOUR COUNCIL RESOLVED,   

THAT the identified UTSC Campus Council members be appointed to serve on the standing committees and in related leadership roles, as recommended by the UTSC Nominating Committee for one-year terms effective July 1, 2020.

The Council returned to open session. 

The meeting adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

June 3, 2020