Report: UTSC Campus Council - November 15, 2023

Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, Room 160

Report Number 61 Of The Utsc Campus Council


To the Governing Council, University of Toronto,

Your Campus Council reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 4:10 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Grace Westcott (Chair), Sotirios Damouras (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), Muntaha Almahjub, Tarun Dewan, Jason Glover, Edward Henley, Irmi Hutfless, Paul Huyer, Mariana Jardim, Sameer Lal, Gillian Mason, John Ramdeen, Silma Roddau, Shennell Simpson, Dorinda So, Arjun Yanglem, Zachary Kileeg, Hoorik Yeghiazarian, Sonja Nikkila

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS PRESENT: Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Neel Joshi (Dean, Student Experience and Wellbeing)

REGRETS: William A. Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean), Elaine Khoo, Rachel Sturge, Imran Khan

SECRETARIAT: Emma Thacker (Secretary, Campus Council), Megann Davidson

IN ATTENDANCE: Bruce Kidd (Ombudsperson), Greg Hum (Director, Housing and Residence Life), Dorcas Mensah (Manager, Residence Life), Chris McCarthy (Assistant Director, Services & Systems)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair, Grace Westcott, welcomed members and guests to the meeting. She reported on the upcoming governance elections (January 2024), highlighting the seats to become vacant in June 2024. She confirmed that the governance elections information session would occur virtually on November 21, 2023. The Chair extended a special welcome to Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, University Ombudsperson.

  2. Report of the Vice-President and Principal
    1. Principal’s Report

      The Chair invited Principal Tettey to give his report.

      Principal Tettey reported that he was taking an administrative leave in January 2024 for six months. The University President would appoint an Acting Vice-President and Principal in the coming weeks.

      In collaboration with the Scarborough Health Network (SHN), UTSC had hosted the ‘Building Communities through Inclusive Health Conference’ which was held on October 13-14, 2023. The Conference was a tremendous success and brought together close to 500 participants. The event kick-started a community, drawing together academics, policy makers, community agencies, and health care practitioners to address health inequities.   

      The Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) building broke ground on November 6, 2023. In addition to several elected representatives and University leaders, two Ministers joined the event - Sylvia Jones (Deputy Premier and Minister of Health) and Jill Dunlop (Minister of Colleges & Universities). UTSC was looking forward to all that the SAMIH would bring to the University and wider community. Principal Tettey acknowledged Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd for his contributions to the campus - Professor Kidd had served as Vice-President and Principal of UTSC (2014-2018).    

      Principal Tettey reported that the new residence, Harmony Commons, offered living space to 750 students which had doubled the number of students living on campus. This addition had allowed UTSC to accommodate upper year undergraduate students, as well as graduate students on campus. The Harmony Commons community was not just a place to sleep; it offered a place of exciting activities, with a strong sense of community. 


    2. Presentation: Harmony Commons and Living Learning Communities

      Principal Tettey invited Greg Hum (Director, Housing and Residence Life) and Dorcas Mensah (Manager, Residence Life) to share more about the ‘Living Learning Communities (LLCs)’ in the new residences. The presentation included the following highlights:

  • LLCs were communities in residence where students could self-select to live with others based on shared personal interests. LLCs were supported by student leaders and staff advisors, who delivered programming and education around a common interest. The 2023/24 LLCs were: Health & Wellbeing; Sustainability; and Creative Expression.
  • High interest from students (over 350 applicants, admitted 90 students)
  • LLCs were designed to connect students living in residence with others who share common interests and to extend opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. LLCs provided opportunities for students to get involved within their residence community, while connecting with peers, faculty, and staff.
  • LLC Goals: academic success; finding a sense of belonging; and personal development.
  • During the academic term, residents had the opportunity to engage in programming tailored to their specific LLC. The LLC program focused on five learning goals:
    • Personal wellness;
    • Life skills;
    • Community engagement;
    • Social responsibility; and
    • Academic achievement.
  • Students could earn cocurricular record (CCR) credits.
  • What was next for LLCs? Address program challenges; seek resident feedback (via survey); and increase faculty participation.

A member noted the high number of applications to participate in the LLCs and asked if the program would expand to involve more students in the future. Mr. Hum responded that yes, it would expand in the future. For example, there were plans to involve more faculty and to include upper year students.

  1. Annual Report: Office of the Ombudsperson, and the Administrative Response

    The Chair indicated that the Report of the University Ombudsperson, and the Administrative Response were presented annually to the UTSC Campus Council for information. The Chair invited Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, University Ombudsperson, to present the Report.

    Professor Kidd reported that the Office had received 350 new requests for assistance (2022-23), a number consistent with previous years. He referred to the Report highlighting its recommendations, as follows:
  • The University develop a comprehensive, tri-campus communication strategy to address website accuracy, accessible contact information, and the prompt and effective response to queries.
  • The University continue to give high priority in its efforts to ensure that all members of the community are treated with civility, dignity, and respect.
  • The University review and update as needed, several outdated institutional policies, including the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, also ensuring the timely resolution of cases under the Code.

Professor Kidd reported that he was encouraged by the Provost and the broader Administration’s response, including the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). He was also pleased with the efforts made to support institutional communications, and the Vice-Provost, Students’ recent webpage to assist students in understanding pathways to resolve issues and conflicts outside of their academic units. He also noted that three of the four largest divisions had addressed their academic misconduct case backlogs which had no doubt required leadership and the deployment of resources. He praised the leadership of William A. Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean) and Professor David Zweig (Vice-Dean Recruitment, Enrolment & Student Success) in addressing UTSC’s backlog of academic misconduct cases.

A member asked if there was concern that international students were not aware of the Office of the Ombudsperson, and if language barriers were an issue in bringing forward complaints. The Ombudsperson responded that the Office used a variety of methods to communicate about services (e.g., social media, through Registrar’s), and he was not aware of a specific barrier in access for international students.

A member asked if there were current conversations regarding first year student preparation and unreadiness, as it related to academic integrity. Professor Kidd confirmed that yes, there were active conversations about this at the University, both proactive and mandatory approaches to integrity and misconduct. Dean Joshi also spoke to some of the resources available to students (e.g., Get Started Program in the Academic Advising & Career Centre).

  1. Status Report on UTSC Campus Strategic Priorities

    The Chair invited Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), to present his Report.

    The strategic priorities highlighted in the presentation included:
  • Addressing increased staffing costs;
  • Development of academic departmental plans;
  • Supporting domestic enrolment:
    • Deploying more predictive yield models;
    • Continued work on alternate offer messaging;
    • Replicating the success of our international student ambassador program in domestic recruitment;
    • Partnering with the University Registrar’s Office to ensure that UTSC admitted students have access to funding package information (including scholarships and UTAPS) before the deadline to accept offers; and
    • Continuing to expand marketing and brand awareness efforts.
  • Campus spaces - new student residence (Opened), Sam Ibrahim Building (2024), Indigenous house (2024)
  • Developing programs to support life sciences growth – new certificate programs under development;
  • Ongoing student enhancement projects (e.g., Indigenous Gathering Circle);
  • Development of new campus budget model and indicator framework to measure progress of UTSC Inspiring Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan;
  • Building partnerships with other faculties – interdivisional teaching; reduce reliance on sessional lecturers;
  • Occupy and operationalize new buildings (e.g., Harmony Commons).

    A member asked for more information about the student operating grant, tuition, and ancillary fee budget. Mr. Arifuzzaman noted that for many years the operating grant had not changed. He also noted the tuition freeze, and sector anticipation for the freeze to be lifted. Principal Tettey added that the Blue-Ribbon Panel Report was just released, and that it remained to be seen how the Ministry would respond to the recommendations. There had been an increase in student meal plan purchases, and there would be growth in the campus conference service. Conference services would benefit the ancillary budget, students, and faculty.

    A member asked if there had been change to retention, given the current climate (i.e., housing, inflation). Mr. Arifuzzaman responded that there had not been a marked change, in fact retention was positive. He commented that focus was on sustaining the positive retention trend.  
  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 60 – October 10, 2023

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.

  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  3. Reports for Information
    1. Report Number 61 of the UTSC Agenda Committee (November 2, 2023)  
    2. Report Number 67 of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (October 19, 2023)
    3. Report Number 55 of the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee (October 18, 2023)
  4. Date of Next Meeting – January 23, 2024, 4:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Council would meet again on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 4:10 p.m.

  5. Question Period

    No questions.
  6. Other Business

    Principal Tettey thanked members for all their contributions and wished members the best of the holiday season.


  1. Appointments: UTSC Nominating Committee, 2023-24

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT Professor Sonja Nikkila and Muntaha Almahjub be appointed to serve on the UTSC Agenda Committee when the Committee serves as a nominating committee of the UTSC Campus Council for the 2023-24 governance year.

    The Council returned to open session.

The meeting adjourned at 5:34 p.m.

November 17, 2023