Report: October 26, 2004

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA

Erindale College Council
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

REPORT OF THE ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

PRESENT: S. Aster (in the Chair), U. Krull, D. Crocker, M.A. Mavrinac, A. Lange, D. Schulze, Y. Karshon, N. Copeland, J. McCurdy-Myers, M. Kasturi, L. Thomson, B. Thompson, P. Franks, A. Wensley, B. Khan, Sadia Khan, Shoilee Khan, D. Aldouri, R. Baker, G. Anderson
REGRETS: I. Orchard, K. Blankstein, C. Misak, M. Lord, R. Day, M. Rennie, G. White
GUESTS: Lynn Snowden, Devin Kreuger

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The Agenda as approved. (G. Anderson / P. Franks)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The report of the previous meeting dated September 14, 2004 was approved. (J. McCurdy-Myers/U. Krull)

3. Ratification of Committee Membership and Election of Chair

Professor Aster announced that the meeting would begin with the ratification of the Committee membership.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the membership of the Academic Affairs Committee be ratified. (G. Anderson / A. Lange)
The motion was approved.

Professor Aster reminded members that his term as Chair of the Committee has ended. He thanked members and the Secretary of Council for their ongoing support in his role as Chair over the past several years. He invited nominations from the floor for a new Chair. Prof. Anthony Wensley was nominated to serve as Chair (A. Lange / R. Baker.) There being no other nominations, Prof. Wensley was elected as the Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee by acclamation.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes

There was no business arising from the minutes.

5. New Business

Prof. Wensley called on Prof. Ulrich Krull, Vice-Principal: Research, to begin his presentation on research efforts at UTM.

a) Research at UTM

Professor Krull distributed a report on research at UTM, which is attached to these minutes as appendix A.

Professor Krull stated that he would like to provide this Committee with a yearly report on research at UTM that highlight UTM’s accomplishments. He also noted that additional documents created for the strategic planning exercise, which discuss aspects of the number of students divided across different disciplines, number of visitors and guest lectureships, numbers and types of publications, and web based research activities, are available through his office and the offices of various department chairs.
He began his presentation by giving a snapshot of the distribution of funding from different sources. Research funding awarded to UTM between 2000 and 2003 totalled close to $31.5M. While the three granting councils contributed 49% of the total research revenue, they represented the largest percentage of total active awards at 68%. In addition, while the combined revenue contributed by the corporate, government and other category represented 51% of total revenue, the number of awards represented 32%.

He reported that the current year (April 2003-March 2004) shows the highest level of research funding since 1997, due largely to the increase of government research funding initiatives. He pointed to the federal granting councils, including the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), which are the predominant funding sources for Canadian scholars. In addition, UTM’s level of funding from the granting councils is directly related to the number of Canadian Research Chairs, value of SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) and Federal ‘indirect cost’ payments given to UTM.

Professor Krull explained that scholars are not allowed to ask for personnel-related funding in a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) application, but that 30% of a grant could be awarded to a researcher again, without a second application, to be used for infrastructure maintenance, including personnel where necessary for infrastructure.

Professor Krull proceeded to discuss some of the problems with respect to the current funding environment. The Provincial Government no longer provides matching for CFI funding. CFI works on the basis that 40% of the total value of the project will be provide, while the remaining 60% has to be raised by means other than the granting agencies. This means that in today’s climate, a researcher has to raise 60% of the funding, before the government provides the remaining 40%. Professor Krull further noted that there is strong competition for these grants, with the average success rate at approximately 15-20%. He explained before the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) was dissolved, a 40% grants from the Federal Government, was almost automatically matched with another 40% contribution from the Province, which meant that the University and its partners only had to raise the remaining 20%. As there was no other mechanism to take over the role of this program, existing proposals were in danger of losing eligibility to remain in the competition. * Partly in response to a focused lobbying effort on behalf of the University of Toronto, the government has created the Ontario Research Fund (ORF). However, with commercialization as a focus, virtually no humanities research is eligible for this type of funding.

Moving on to a comparison to the University of Toronto at Scarborough (UTSC), Professor Krull noted that UTM has a similar share of research funding dollars. Pointing to a chart of the share of granting council funding to Ontario Universities, he explained that UTM could on its own aim to be one of the top ten Ontario institutions in this regard. The University of Toronto overall receives the predominant share of granting council funding in Ontario, but UTM is becoming competitive with the Universities of Windsor and Carleton.

Professor Krull pointed to the Office of Research web site and its section on researchers in the news and other features that highlight UTM’s successes. One of these initiatives is in the area of ethics, where UTM is establishing an Ethics Review Committee, which will review undergraduate research protocols in accordance with nationally established standards.

Professor Krull continued his report with an update on the Convergence Centre and its projects. He noted that the Healthy City Stewardship Centre (HCSC) has established its Executive Committee, which is chaired by the Mayor, and includes the CEO’s of the hospitals, the Presidents of the public and separate school boards, the United Way and Peel Police Services, and the Medical Officer of Health and Social Services for Peel Region. The HCSC is charged with examining the municipality and identifying problem areas related to youth, environmental pollution, and city structure decay. In turn, the university and the hospitals will provide the research arm to help the delivery agencies develop best practices in dealing with these problems. These programs are test programs, which if successful, will be forwarded to the World Health Organization as models (The Mississauga Model) for other cities and municipalities around the world.

Another aspect of the Convergence Centre, the Mississauga Technology Business Accelerator (MTBA) officially opened at the Sheridan Science and Technology Park. It consists of two concepts, one being a business incubator and the other an outreach program.

Professor Krull reported that UTM has developed a structured relationship with the Faculty of Pharmacy, which will provide the UTM community with access to a large scale parallel processing computational facility for high speed computing. The first node of this module is currently being installed in the CABB facility, which means that UTM now has direct access to high speed computing.

Professor Krull announced that the Office of the Vice-Principal: Research aims to keep its web site up to date with all the latest research news and events and invited members to contribute their significant research news. Additional information about research activities at UTM, including a report on UTM’s research performance, can be obtained from that web site at: www.utm.utoronto.ca/research.

Professor Krull also reported on planned CFI Innovation Fund Projects. The Wetland Laboratory Network for the Study of Environmental Health and Ecosystem Interactions, led by Professor Brian Branfireun, is a joint program with McMaster University and aims to renovate the front area of the South Building so that the new ground water run-off system would include a series of ponds for scientific observation. A project on Wellness and Adjustment from the Psychology Department, deals with the concept of how individuals see themselves and interact with their environment. There is also a proposal that will be an extension of Professor Schneider’s Biological Communication Systems, building on the Canada Research Chair clusters already in place.

Professor Krull further noted that UTM is in discussions with the University Of British Columbia (UBC) to bring sound test chambers, which are a major piece of research infrastructure to the campus. Other projects in the Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences involve the development of cryptography. There is also ongoing discussion with the Faculty of Medicine for establishing an undergraduate academy at UTM of the size and nature similar to those at the University Health Network and Sunnybrook. When implemented and at steady state, UTM would have approximately 200 students as part of this program.

Professor Krull remarked that the new medical academy at UTM is premised on full funding from the Provincial Government.

The Chair thanked Professor Krull for his report and opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question about the source of the data for the granting councils, Prof. Krull explained that most of the numbers are from the university’s primary database for capturing all of the information for research funding or the Research Cube.

A member expressed concern that that some research funds directed to UTM faculty and administered centrally at the University of Toronto, are recognized as overall University of Toronto funding dollars. Professor Krull noted that it is important to go through the Office of Research for appropriate signatures to ensure that funds can flow to UTM. He added that it is important to register the funds where the research is conducted, because this impacts the Canada Research Chair program, which grants Chairs where the funds are.

In response to a member’s questions about a way to have these types of research funds recognized at UTM, Professor Krull explained that mechanisms exist for moving funds to other accountable departments within the university, simply using FIS numbers, which are transportable anywhere within the University system and should not be affected by the location of graduate student support. Professor Krull added that a problem may arise in that there is no mechanism to keep track of research funding for a faculty member who has research done on both campuses.

b) Curriculum submissions process – Lynn Snowden

Professor Wensley noted that at the next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee, Curriculum reports will be presented for endorsement and called on Ms. Lynn Snowden, Assistant Dean, to talk about the curriculum submissions and approval process.

Ms. Snowden began her report with outlining the curriculum review timetable. She noted that departmental committees started meeting on this topic in September, with preliminary discussion beginning much earlier in the year, followed by divisional committee meetings in October. These reports then proceed to the Academic Affairs Committee for approval in November, followed by Erindale College Council in December, with final approval being granted at the Governing Council’s Committee on Academic Policy and Programs and/or Planning and Budget Committee in January. At the end of November, a tri-campus Dean’s meeting will also have the opportunity to examine the reports.

Ms. Snowden noted that Prof. Leslie Thomson (Humanities), Prof. Robert Baker (Sciences), and Prof. Graham White (Social Sciences) chair the Curriculum Committees, which are composed of departmental chairs. At the department level, curriculum committees take stock and inventory of existing courses. Courses are then added in response to the evolution of a program, the currency of offerings, and the addition of faculty. When examining the reports, Divisional Curriculum Committees base their evaluation on the impact of changes on other programs and the quality or academic merit of programs. Resource implications, which are mandated by Governing Council, require the approval of the Office of the Dean to ensure that adequate resources are available to meet the funding requests.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question on the availability of Library resources, Ms. Snowden explained that Department Chairs were asked to address this issue through the Office of the Vice Principal: Academic.

A member asked how the effect of course changes between divisions is tracked. Other members commented that in the past, members of the Academic Affairs Committee and the Curriculum Committee Chairs have performed this function. With respect to the tracking of prerequisite changes from year to year, a member suggested that it might be useful to have these changes chronologically listed on the Office of the Registrar Web site. The Registrar commented that the UTM Calendar provides links to course web sites, which may have a history of prerequisite requirements, but that the Calendar was not designed to support this kind of tracking mechanism. She added that a new software, called Degree Navigator, was in the process of being introduced, which might be able to perform this same function.

The Chair thanked Ms. Snowden for her report.

6. Other Business

With respect to the October 25th town hall meeting at UTM on the topic of the Rae Review, a member stated his concern that increased accessibility to universities, a major topic of discussion at the meeting, may mean a drop in admission standards. The Registrar ensured the member that admission figures had not decreased over the past several years. Due to time considerations, this Committee could not separately meet to discuss the Rae Review, and the member was encourage to relay his comments directly to Professor Carolyn Tuohy, Vice-President of Government and Institutional Relations at the University of Toronto.

7. Next Meeting

The Chair announced that the next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee, was scheduled for Tuesday, November 23, 2004, with the principal item of business being the curriculum reports. These reports will be posted on the Council web site one week prior to the meeting. He asked that members come to the meeting prepared by having read these reports.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m. (G. Anderson/ N. Copeland)

Secretary of Council _______________________Chair ______________________

November 15, 2004

* Secretary's Note:
Post Script: The Ontario Government subsequently announced that applications that are already in review will receive the provincial matching funds from OIT as was previously the case.