Report: October 25, 2005

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 25, 2005 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

PRESENT: A. Lange (in the Chair), U. Krull, I. Orchard, D. Schulze, D. Crocker, R. Green, C. Evans, E. Levy, L. Seco, M. Lippincott, R. Gerlai, C. Jones, J. McCurdy-Myers, G. Anderson, A. Mullin
Regrets: A. Wensley, B. Katz, M.A. Mavrinac, D. Smith, S. Munro
In attendance: Devin Kreuger, Carmen Bryson, Simone Laughton, Kathi Wilson, Lynn Snowden

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The Agenda as approved. (L. Seco/G. Anderson)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The report of the previous meeting dated September 27, 2005 was approved. (L. Seco/I. Orchard)

3. Ratification of Committee Membership

Professor Lange announced that the meeting would begin with the ratification of the new committee membership, and referred to the handout distributed to members.

She reminded members that the nomination period for faculty was September 12-23 and for administrative staff and students, it was October 3 -11. There was an election for the five positions available in the full-time student constituency for which the ballots were mailed out to full-time students of Erindale College Council on October 12 with a return deadline of October 21.

She announced the results of the election as follows:
Number of votes cast: 77
Number of illegal votes: 1

Candidates (number of votes received):
Anika Bhatti: 10 Elected
Gabriel Didiano: 9 Elected
Amjad Farah: 13 Elected
Billeh Hamud: 4
Nabila Kabir: 15 Elected
Bilal Khan: 8
Golam Khan: 10 Elected
Sadia Khan: 8

Therefore, the following students were elected in the full-time student constituency of the Academic Affairs Committee: Anika Bhatti; Gabriel Didiano, Amjad Farah, Nabila Kabir and Golam Khan. Their terms of office are for one year and take effect immediately after this membership is ratified.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the membership of the Academic Affairs Committee be ratified. (L. Seco/I. Orchard)
The motion was approved.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes

There was no business arising from the minutes.

5. New Business

Prof. Lange called on Professor Ulrich Krull, Vice-Principal: Research, to begin his report on research efforts at UTM.

a) Research at UTM

Professor Krull began his presentation on UTM Research by discussing funding patterns. He reported that pro-rated research revenue in 2004-05 reached just over $9M, which supported 371 active research projects. Revenue from the Canadian granting councils hit an all time high of approximately $5M. Revenue from the councils’ standard grant programs can be tracked to as a measure of an institution’s research success. He explained that since faculty will typically hold just one of these grants at a time, the impact of outstandingly successful researchers is tempered. He noted that in 2004-05, UTM saw a rise in revenue through each of the councils’ standard programs, including an exceptional increase in revenue through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) standard research grant program.

Professor Krull continued his presentation by reporting on the impact these investments have made to UTM. Between 1996 and 2001, UTM’s share of research funding at the University of Toronto averaged 1% ($3,715,828/year). When the Centre for Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology (CABB) equipment became available to UTM faculty and expansion was initiated, research activity surged, and UTM’s research revenue now represents 3.6% of UofT’s research revenue.

Professor Krull explained that the role of the Office of the VP Research in the UTM’s research endeavour was to build relationships with and act as a bridge to industry and government partners. He asked faculty members to participate in the expertise database developed by his office, which summarized the many talents of UTM faculty. He added that his office was also doing extensive work on connecting researchers across divisions and campuses to establish expertise in interdisciplinary studies. As an example of local and multi-campus success, he cited the Genes, Environment, Nervous System and Behaviour Group (GENAB), which is a unique cluster in Canada consisting of world-class scientists who cross genetic, molecular, neuroanatomical, and behavioural disciplines.Professor Krull noted that UTM is becoming internationally known for its research excellence and interaction, citing Professor Bruce Schneider’s work on communication and ageing.

He continued his presentation by discussing the efforts of the Western Greater Toronto Area Convergence Centre (WGTACC), a not-for-profit centre, which brings together regional stakeholders in industry, government, hospitals, colleges and universities to build an environment and to offer resources that will encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and investment. Through the activities of this Centre, UTM is a major partner in the Mississauga Healthy Cities Stewardship initiative and the Mississauga Technology Business Accelerator (MTBA) and has provided student placements to various institutions. The Healthy City Stewardship Centre is based on the Mississauga-World Health Organization “Healthy City” program, and operates to further develop local social, educational, recreational and employment/volunteer opportunities and services. Planning meetings for this initiative have taken place with groups including the United Way, Success by Six, and the Fair Share Committee, the Social Planning Council and both the public and separate school boards. These meetings are setting the stage for research plans and partnerships and provide one way of encouraging grants to Social Sciences and Humanities research, which can sometimes be difficult. The WGTACC Web site allows for a searchable list of industry resources and facilitates connectivity between interested partners. He noted that through the MTBA, UTM will be able to gain the services of a laser scanning system, an exiting new imaging technology. For more information on WGTACC he directed members to the following Web site: www.wgtacc.com.

He continued his presentation by providing the Committee with examples of new academic initiatives being explored as follows: a possible Academy of Medicine at UTM in partnership with Mississauga hospitals; developing a link with Provincial centres of forensic sciences; research collaboration in environmental sciences, community and health with Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning; and Sheridan College Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies, and new Centre for Wellness and Ageing.

Professor Krull concluded his presentation by noting 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. He thanked Devin Kreuger, Research Manager, for his extensive work on developing the Web site. 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.

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

A member asked whether there was any downside to commercialization. Professor Krull explained that his office was working to ensure that there was no conflict of interest and no downside to commercialization efforts. He added that the office was also focusing on cost recovery. He noted that all of the costs associated with the convergence centre and the associated hiring is done through the MTBA, meaning that UTM is removed from the possibility of conflict of interest. Responding to the member’s comment about UTM acting as a service organization, Professor Krull explained that UTM is supporting MTBA to deliver that particular service and added that in order for any application for funding to be successful, it is necessary to demonstrate the existence of partnerships with industry.

In response to a member’s question about CFI grants, professor Krull explained that funds are granted in two phases, infrastructure money in the first stage and operating money to run that infrastructure during the second phase.

b) Curriculum development and submissions process – Lynn Snowden

Professor Lange 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. The Chair also reminded members that an information session on curriculum was planned for Thursday, November 24, at 3:00 p.m. in the Faculty Club.

Ms. Snowden explained that curriculum changes are discussed at the three curriculum committees, which are composed of departmental chairs and are chaired by Prof. Amy Mullin (Humanities), Prof. Angela Lange (Sciences), and Prof. Graham White (Social Sciences). She noted that the curriculum process begins in late summer or early fall, while development of major proposals begins in the spring. In the beginning stages, faculty members send in their proposals, information is gathered, and departments examine the changes and reach a consensus. This process is followed by two to five meetings of each curriculum committee, which looks at the changes in detail to ensure that there are no conflicts and no overlap between different academic areas. Chair of the curriculum committees are also expected to consult with the chairs of the appropriate St. George and Scarborough campus departments if substantial changes are made to existing programs or if a department is proceeding in a major new direction. The committees examine the academic merit and substance of proposals and the committee also has a member of the Office of the Registrar to ensure that pre and co-requisites are consistent and that changes are consistent with registrarial policy. Following this process, the curriculum changes arrive to the Office of the Dean, which assesses the reports with the following in mind: their fit with UTM’s academic venture as a whole, enrolment figures for departments, academic integrity and resource implications such as staffing and library needs. The reports then go to this Committee for consideration in November, before being sent to Erindale College Council in December. In addition, the curriculum reports also go to the tri-campus dean’s group for examination ‘big picture’ perspective. Major curriculum changes then go to the Governing Council’s Committee on Academic Policy and Programs and/or Planning and Budget Committee in January as appropriate.

Ms. Snowden noted that so far, the Dean’s office had received the Humanities curriculum report, which did not identify any major changes, as compared with last year’s reports, which had a number of significant changes.

The Chair thanked Ms. Snowden for her report and opened the floor to questions.

A member commented that although she did not participate in any of the curriculum committees, in her experience some members do not question proposals brought forward by other departments and asked where these concerns could be voiced. The Chair of the Humanities Curriculum Committee replied that members of that committee did indeed question and provide feedback on some of the changes proposed by other departments. The Secretary of Council explained that members should feel free to participate in all three curriculum committees and that feedback is welcomed at all levels. Ms. Snowden added that the Office of the Dean scrutinizes the reports as well.

Another member commented on such a complex governance process with respect to introducing a course with the intention of testing its efficacy. The Assistant Dean explained that in such cases faculty can introduce a topics course and see how it performs before proposing it as a permanent addition.

In response to a member’s question about the amount of tri-campus coordination with respect to curriculum changes, the Registrar explained that the Office of the Registrar does extensive work in this regard and is in touch with departments. The Vice-President and Principal reiterated that the three Deans also meet to discuss curriculum changes. The Chair of the Humanities Curriculum Committee noted that all three Chairs were asked to send both the Scarborough and St. George campuses their respective changes with the intention of identifying potential conflicts.

c) Learning management system: an overview – Simone Laughton, Instructional Technology Liaison Librarian

Ms. Laughton reported that a public meeting was held on October 17, 2005 to discuss the process for choosing a Learning Management System (LMS) for the university with the evaluation process ongoing since December of 2004. Feedback was also received via a survey, which gathered input from over 600 faculty, 520 students, and 56 administrative and technical staff. This process was followed by a Request for Information (RFI) that was distributed in the spring of 2005. The RFI process produced eight vendors, who made presentations and system demonstrations to faculty and staff, who in turn had an opportunity to have a hands-on session with the different learning management systems. Following this process, it was concluded that ideally, one system should be chosen, but only if it can meet all the needs of both new and more experienced users. The implementation of a migration plan is also being considered. Based on the survey and the system demonstrations, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was distributed to a few select vendors. The group has also been sending out communications, doing presentations and holding public meetings to gain feedback and will be holding a final focus group meeting on November 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This evaluation period started on September 21 and will end on November 30 with a decision on a learning management system expected by December 1, 2005.

The Chair thanked Ms. Laughton for her report and opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s comment on the large amount of training some faculty will need on LMS, Ms. Laughton reported that once a system is chosen, her office will be conducting training sessions on the system.

6. Other Business

There was no other business.

7. Next Meeting

The Chair announced that the next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee, was scheduled for Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 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. (L. Seco/I. Orchard)

Secretary of Council___________________Chair____________________

November 21, 2005