Report: UTSC Campus Council - October 10, 2023

Council Chamber, Arts and Administration Building, Room 160

Report Number 60 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 Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 4:10 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Sotirios Damouras (Vice-Chair), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President and Principal), Meric Gertler (President), Rose M. Patten (Chancellor), Anna Kennedy (Chair, Governing Council), Tarun Dewan, Jason Glover, Edward Henley, Irmi Hutfless, Paul Huyer, Imran Khan, John Ramdeen, Silma Roddau, Shennell Simpson, Dorinda So, Rachel Sturge, Arjun Yanglem, Zachary Kileeg, Hoorik Yeghiazarian

REGRETS: Grace Westcott (Chair), Muntaha Tarek Almahjub, Mariana Jardim, Elaine Khoo, Sameer Lal, Gillian Mason, Sonja Nikkila

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: William A. Gough (Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer), Neel Joshi (Dean, Student Experience and Wellbeing)

SECRETARIAT: Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council), Emma Thacker (Secretary, Campus Council), Megann Davidson

IN ATTENDANCE: Irena Creed (Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation), Fran Wdowczyk (Director, Business Development & Special Advisor), Amrith David (President, SCSU), Afsana Miah (VP Academics & University Affairs, SCSU), Andrew Leung (Alumni), Larry Whatmore (Assistant Director, Financial Services), Nicole Brayiannis (Executive Director, SCSU)


  1. Chair's Remarks

    The Vice Chair, Professor Sotirios Damouras, welcomed members and guests to the meeting. He noted that the Chair, Grace Westcott, had sent regrets. He introduced the Council’s Presidential Assessors, newly elected members, and members of the administration. He also provided some remarks about the mandate of the Campus Council and its areas of responsibility.

  2. Remarks - 10th Anniversary of the UTSC Campus Council and Standing Committees

    The Vice-Chair invited Anna Kennedy (Chair, Governing Council), Meric Gertler (President), and Rose Patten (Chancellor) to provide remarks regarding the 10th Anniversary of the UTSC governance structure. 

    Anna Kennedy commented that the 2012 creation of the tri-campus governance structure marked an important evolution in U of T’s overall governance model. The inaugural UTSC Campus Council meeting was held on October 8, 2013. Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, Wiliam Gough was presiding as Chair. President Gertler was in attendance as the President’s delegate. Sheree Drummond, the then Deputy Secretary, was also in attendance. Since that time, the Campus Council and its Standing Communities had considered a vast array of strategic matters. Ms Kennedy offered her thanks and congratulations to members and guests. 

    President Gertler remarked that the tri-campus governance structure was one of the University’s abiding and well-established sources of strength and that leveraging the strengths in the local context was a powerful differentiator for the University. It made sense that institutional governance reflected how the University was structured. It was important that the University structured its governance to ensure that UTSC could make the most of its fortunate and unique location and context. It was a pivotal and inspired step when the Council was created ten years ago. President Gertler concluded that the Campus Council structure was a true success, and this success was credited to its dedicated volunteers. He thanked all who served the UTSC Campus Council and its Committees.

    Chancellor Patten commented that she was privileged to be invited to the meeting and reception, and she congratulated all of the volunteers who served. She noted that governance volunteers dedicated both time and passion to make UTSC a dynamic space. Chancellor Patten was Chair of the Task Force that was part of the ‘Towards 2030’ strategic process. In June of 2010, as part of phase one, the Task Force was asked to consider appropriate governance authority. The Task Force report determined that the previous governance structure did not adequately provide for the needs of the tri-campus any longer, given the University’s size, complexity, and ambition. Since that time, UTSC had achieved extraordinary success and momentum, raising not just the Scarborough campus stature and its own profile, but the standing of the University as a whole. She concluded by acknowledging ten years of outstanding governance stewardship and leadership.

    A member thanked Ms Kennedy, President Gertler, and Chancellor Patten for their remarks, and noted the importance of having their feedback and insight shared with the Council and its Standing Committees.
  3. Report of the Vice-President and Principal

    The Vice-Chair invited Principal Tettey to give his report.

    Principal Tettey began his remarks by thanking Council members for their support and contributions. He remarked that like many, he felt the heartache about the events that were unfolding in the Middle East and that many members of the University community were deeply impacted. The University was standing in support of members of our community, and it was a collective hope that a peaceful solution would be found to end the conflict and its devastating impact. He also reassured Council and guests that all students in the region had been contacted and were safe. He also noted the outreach to students with ties to the region and commented on community measures to support each other and navigate the troubling times.
    1. Principal Tettey invited executive members of the Scarborough Campus Students' Union (SCSU), Amrith David (President, SCSU) and Afsana Miah (Vice-President - Academics & University Affairs) to present the 2023/2024 SCSU priorities, initiatives, and services. The priorities included the following campaigns:
  • Put Equity in Education;
  • My Mental Health Matters;
  • Where’s the Justice;
  • Fight the Fees!; and
  • Fairness for International Students.

The SCSU Executive members also provided information about several services offered to students, such as the Student Pub (1265 Bistro), Food Centre, Racialized Students’ Collective, and the Academic Support Centre. Several events were highlighted, including the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the National Day of Action (November 8, 2023), Black History Month, and Lobby Week.

A member asked for the SCSU’s perspective on student food insecurity. Mr. David responded to say that students had a great deal to pay to support their education. He also commented that international students predominantly used the services of the Food Centre.

A member asked if the University provided assistance to students with food insecurity. Dean Joshi explained that students could request one-on-one financial counseling, and if there was need, emergency funds were available. Mr. Arifuzzaman added that while UTSC had taken strides to assist students in residence with grocery shopping (e.g., weekly bus trips to store), food deserts existed, however local development would likely expand grocery shopping opportunities.

A member asked about Black and Indigenous health and wellness counsellors. Dean Joshi confirmed the active recruitment for these important roles, and that Health & Wellness offered ‘same day service,’ with no wait to see a counsellor.

  1. Principal Tettey reported that the Fall term was off to an exciting start. UTSC had welcomed nearly 4000 students from 86 countries around the world to campus. This marked the total student body at 14,250 students, which was an increase from the previous year. This increase spoke to the success of collective efforts to retain students, address enrolment challenges, and grow intelligently. First-year enrolment was a challenge, however overall enrolment numbers did indicate that strategies, such as the new residence, were working.

    UTSC was working with partners across the tri-campus on the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) initiative. UTSC was looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of Health Sciences students next Fall, to fill the additional undergraduate seat allocations.

    Fall 2023 orientation was one of the largest with more than 900 first year students participating. Part of the success was the collaboration between the University and the SCSU. Events and activities continued over the month of September.

    Residence ‘move-in day’ was the largest in UTSC’s campus history. Many parents were grateful for the student support. Harmony Commons, the new Student Residence Building, was a hub of activity with three living learning communities: Sustainability, Creative Expression, and Health & Wellness. These communities were designed to help students with personal development, academic success, and building community. The dining hall cafeteria was open to the public, with a diverse selection of foods to support the diverse community.

    A successful UTSC Homecoming event was held on September 23, 2023, which brought approximately 5000 people to campus. Homecoming activities included events where 2023 retirees were honoured along with long service honorees and award recipients.

    Harmony Commons, the new student residence, would host an official opening event later this fall. The new residence supported 750 additional students on campus, added to the vibrancy of campus community, and helped to address a shortfall of upper year undergraduate and graduate student housing. A groundbreaking event for SAMIH was planned for November 6, 2023. Also, Indigenous House was emerging, overlooking the ravine, and slated to open in spring 2024.

    Returning Council members would recall the $25 million dollar gift from Sam Ibrahim to establish the Sam Ibrahim Centre for Inclusive Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership (SICIEEIL) which will open in the new Sam Ibrahim building in Fall of 2024.

    A member inquired about the scope of enrolment challenges across the sector. Principal Tettey responded that domestic enrolment was a challenge at other institutions at this time, and that UTSC’s location and resources did have an impact. He explained that initiatives such as the residence, partnerships for admission pathways (e.g., with Centennial), and exciting new academic programs would support enrolment. Dean Gough added that student retention and program completion had increased significantly over the years.

    A member asked about gauging student success and outcomes. Dean Gough discussed some of the metrics used to assess student success and noted the ‘get finished’ initiative to support program completion.

    A member asked if the student residence could have added more floors, to offer more housing. Mr. Arifuzzaman explained that there were some restrictions on height and capacity, commenting that the City of Toronto was also involved with planning and approvals.
  1. Presentation – UTSC’s 60th Anniversary (2024-25)

    The Vice-Chair invited Fran Wdowczyk (Director, Business Development & Special Advisor), who is the 60th Anniversary Strategic Advisory (SAC) Committee Co-Chair, along with Desmond Pouyat (retired, former Dean, Student Experience and Wellbeing).

    Fran reported that 60th Anniversary planning was underway, with the following highlights:
  • the goal of the proposed celebrations was to organize a series of events and activities in the 2024-25 academic year that would bring about excitement and pride about the last 60 years and generate optimism, support, and enthusiasm for the future of UTSC.
  • the theme of the celebrations which was ‘Sustainable, Inclusive, Inspiring.’
  • several SAC subcommittees existed to move the work forward, such as the Legacy Award Adjudication Committee, Logistics and Opening Activities committees.
  • timelines for celebrations had been determined, with October 2024 hosting a week of celebrations, activities, and pop-ups.
  • further updates would be provided to Campus Council as planning continued.

    Members had no questions.
  1. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 59 – June 9, 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 60 of the UTSC Agenda Committee (October 2, 2023)
    2. Report Number 66 of the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (Sept 21, 2023)
    3. Report Number 54 of the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee (Sept 19, 2023)
  4. Date of Next Meeting – Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 4:10 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the Council would meet again on November 15, 2023 at 4:10 p.m.

  5. Question Period

    Members had no questions. 
  6. Other Business

    The Chair thanked Ms Kennedy, President Gertler, and Chancellor Patten for their remarks and invited members and guests to stay for the reception to commemorate the ten-year milestone of the UTSC Campus Council and its Standing Committees. No other business was raised.

The meeting adjourned at 5:27 p.m.

October 12, 2023