Erindale College Council

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in the Ante Chamber, room 3129, South Building.

PRESENT: S. Aster (in the Chair), I. Orchard, C. Misak, U. Krull, R. Beck, M.A. Mavrinac, D. Crocker, A. Lange, D. Schulze, K. Blankstein, Y. Karshon, N. Copeland, M. Lord, M. Glanzberg, T. Rogers, R. McMillan, S. Munro, Y. Li, B. Thompson, S. Abrahim, A. Mirza, J. McCurdy-Myers, M. Rennie, G. Anderson
REGRETS: J. Kervin


1. Adoption of Agenda (G. Anderson / D. Crocker)

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting (September 16, 2003)
The report of the previous meeting was approved (J. McCurdy-Myers / I. Orchard)

3. Ratification of Committee membership and Election of Chair

The Vice-President and Principal explained that as a result of last year’s constitutional review, the membership of the Academic Affairs Committee was sufficiently changed to warrant the election of a Chair from among the current membership, even though the current Chair has only served one of a two-year term. He opened the floor to nominations for a Chair. Prof. Sidney Aster was nominated to serve as Chair (C. Misak / A. Lange.) There being no other nominations, Prof. Aster was elected as the Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee by acclamation.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes

a) Update on Departmental Restructuring – P. Donoghue

The Chief Administrative Officer reported that the departmental restructuring was based upon an extensive period of consultation with United Steelworkers, the union who represents the majority of staff at UTM. As a result of these negotiations, an agreement was reached to provide UTM staff with first eligibility to jobs, thereby addressing one of the major concerns of staff regarding job security. The process was difficult for some staff, but overall job security was protected and all affected staff were successfully placed. Additionally, UTM was able to recruit new staff from the St. George campus. Goals of the restructuring included increasing the quantity and quality of administrative support, increasing professionalism and achieving consistency in terms of the reporting structure. Several jobs were created to meet the above goals, including those of Senior Administrative Support Coordinator, Undergraduate Assistant, and Secretary to Chair. He noted that there would be continued work with departments to see what further adjustments are needed in order for staff to be able to achieve the highest level of skill. To ensure that staff have the necessary tools, UTM will launch a major professional development program and is currently planning a survey to determine training needs.

b) Update on Academic Restructuring – C. Misak

The Vice-Principal Academic reported that the appointment of academic Chairs was nearly complete. While UTM faculty filled the majority of positions, two appointments were made from the St. George campus and one appointment was currently being externally searched. She noted that because of the new tri-campus plan, UTM instituted new procedures regarding academic discipline, tenure promotion and almost every facet of academic life. She added that departments were currently in the process of academic planning, which will map out their responses to the White Paper “Stepping Up.”

c) Update on preparation of the 2004 Calendar – D. Crocker

The Registrar distributed the current Calendar and noted that its electronic version was now available on the UTM website. She reported that the intention of the Office of the Registrar over the coming year was to update this electronic version and then format it to be printable and downloadable into a printed version. This printed version may look somewhat different from the one from past years. The Office of the Registrar will then identify users responsible for updating various sections of the calendar and will allow them access to edit the online version of the calendar. She noted that this was a much more efficient system than copying and distributing the material, as was done in past years. The Office of the Registrar is also conducting focus groups with students to determine the best format for the calendar in light of the new departments. The general feedback has been that the format of the current calendar with the program section in the front and separate from the course section is causing some students not to read program requirements, course prerequisites, and other important information. As a result, the plan is to restructure the calendar such that the program section would be immediately followed by the appropriate course section. She emphasized that the calendar will not be a reflection of the new departmental structure, although the calendar will contain brief notations to highlight these relationships. The primary purpose of the calendar is to ensure that it will be user friendly, and to maximize the likelihood of students reading the rules and regulations. She commented that program descriptions should be reviewed as soon as possible, because the goal is to produce a hard copy version of the calendar by mid-March, with the electronic version available earlier. The Office of the Registrar will inform faculty through the Chairs on how this structure will work.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked about how the programs that reflect two or more programs would be displayed in the calendar. The Registrar explained that there would be references made directing users to the appropriate sections in order to avoid repetitiveness and that this issue would be addressed in the table of contents. In response to a member’s question, the Registrar confirmed that links would be readily available throughout the electronic version, directing users to every course and department, to the timetable, and to various faculty websites.

A member asked how the academic rules and regulations could be made more obvious and given more prominence in the calendar. The Registrar noted that the Office is currently offering seminars that cover topics on how to calculate GPA’s and how to enrol in programs. She noted that the calendar is a legal document, hence the nature of the formal language, but also added that these sections would be reviewed to ensure that they are clear. There is also a plan to increase the number of academic advising sessions. In addition, the Registration Guide given to first year students would be made available to upper year students.

5. New Business

a) Curriculum submissions – C. Misak

Prof. Misak noted that curriculum submissions now go to separate committees in the Humanities, Sciences or Social Sciences respectively. She explained that because UTM is in the beginning of a planning process, it would be highly unusual to find drastic changes in the curriculum this year. The curriculum changes will be brought to the Academic Affairs Committee at its November 18th meeting.

6. Other Business

The Vice-President and Principal announced the creation of an innovative partnership between the division of Biomedical Communications (BMC), in the Faculty of Medicine and UTM, to reside within the Institute of Communication and Culture. The current division exists within the department of Surgery in the Medical school and offers the only professional Master’s program of its kind in Canada, being one of six accredited programs in the World. It offers a Master’s degree through the Institute of Medical Sciences, which is the largest graduate unit within the Faculty of Medicine. UTM was approached regarding the transfer of this program for several reasons. The program is an ideal link to the CCIT program and to innovative graduate programs at UTM in general. It is also a link to the community at large, local hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, and to a Mayor who believes in wellness and healthy municipalities and who sits on the World Health Organization’s committee on Municipalities and Health. UTM was also approached to link the program to the undergraduate curriculum in various departments. There is also an opportunity for a synergy between undergraduate courses and programs connecting into an expanded graduate program in Biomedical Communications. As a result, with the approval of the Dean of Medicine, the budget of the BMC division will be transferred to UTM, along with three and a half full time equivalent faculty, with the goal of expanding the program from 16 to 32 graduate students. The Division would maintain its computer lab within the Faculty of Medicine as a node to offer part of the program and the program would still be offered as a graduate program within the Institute of Medical Sciences. The BMC computer lab would be matched at UTM, which would allow for the doubling of the class size. It would also allow BMC to offer courses, which they currently receive from Sheridan College.

After UTM was approached about this prospect, Dr. Linda Wilson-Pauwels, Chair of the Division of Biomedical Communication, met with many department Chairs and other faculty members at UTM and found great interest in engaging in this link at the undergraduate level. UTM approached the Provost in order to receive some transitional funding to help bring the program to UTM earlier. The Provost has agreed to grant this transitional funding to transfer the faculty and to begin to develop the computer lab. Prof. Orchard also noted it is not required for UTM to proceed through the governance process in order to have this program accredited or approved, because this is a relocation of the faculty and the budget of a program that has been in existence for many years at the University of Toronto. The Vice-Principal Academic noted that this program cannot expand any further within the Medical School and as a result, this initiative is seen as an opportunity to acquire more physical space, along with more faculty members and increased enrolment. The Vice-President and Principal added that this collaboration showed UTM creating another innovative link with another division, much like those with the Rotman School of Management and OISE. The program itself is still under jurisdiction of the Institute of Medical Sciences.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s concern about any possible downside, the Vice-President and Principal expressed his belief that this addition was a very positive one for UTM, citing synergies between CCIT and many other departments, while also contributing to UTM’s mandate, part of its expansion plan, to increase the number of graduate students. The Director of CCIT noted that he anticipates these new courses to be in much demand by students in the CCIT program, because they utilize a great deal of new technology, new media, and 3D animation. As well, with courses in visual forensic evidence, many students see the program as a potential avenue for graduate work.

In response to a member’s question, the Vice-President and Principal explained that the computer lab would reside in the CCIT building, and would also be used by undergraduate students. The Vice-Principal Academic also added that because of faculty and Chair interest, the program would offer special courses to existing graduate students. The Director of the CCIT program commented that another appeal of this initiative is that graduate students within this program can act as teaching assistants for CCIT courses.

A member asked about the basic income units (BIU’s) for these students. The Vice-President and Principal explained that the Division is retaining a node because students do research projects on biomedical issues and they need links to medical doctors, the medical school, faculty, and hospitals. The Division has a revenue sharing agreement with the University for the first 16 students, based upon the BIU and tuition. UTM is entering a revenue sharing agreement on the tuition for the additional 16 students, and once the lobby for the expansion in the government funding of BIU’s for graduate students is successful, (similar to such government funding for undergraduate students), UTM will enter into negotiations for revenue sharing of BIU’s.

7. Next Meeting – Tuesday, November 18, 2003

8. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m. (A. Lange / I. Orchard)