Erindale College Council

MINUTES OF THE ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

PRESENT: S. Aster (Chair), J. Poë, J. Lester, M.A. Mavrinac, S. Munro, W. Ghobriel, M.L. Smith, W. Thompson, J. McCurdy-Myers, M. Overton, G. Allen, J. Borchenko, M. Massey, C. Boyd, C. Ferencz Hammond
REGRETS: I. Orchard, P. Donoghue, G. Anderson

  1. Adoption of the Agenda
    Approved by all present. (J. McCurdy-Myers/M.A. Mavrinac)

  2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
    The minutes were approved. (M. L. Smith/M.A. Mavrinac)

  3. Business Arising from the Minutes
    None.

  4. New Business:

    a) Anticipating the Double Cohort: Assessment of Skills to Date - C. Boyd

    Cleo Boyd, Director of the Academic Skills Centre, gave a presentation entitled Anticipating the Double Cohort: Assessment of Skills to Date. She reported that since September of 2002, she had been collecting and examining approximately 733 pieces of writing, 400 from Grade 12, the remaining 300 from OAC High School students. She studied each student's ability to focus on what each identified as the topic of a paper and their technical proficiency with the language. The objective of her study was to determine whether there was a qualitative difference in these skills between Grade 12 and OAC students. When taking into account the three skills criteria of focus of attention, topic development and expression of thought, she found no difference between Grade 12 and OAC students. The only significant difference that teachers reported between the two groups was in their level of maturity and attitude of "consumerism", in which Grade 12 students were more developed.

    A member asked whether she had any report on the Mathematics skills of graduating High School students. C. Boyd explained that, although math skills were not part of her study, the consensus seems to be that Grade 12 students will be more prepared than OAC students, but only if the current curriculum was completed.

    A member asked whether the information in the above report was disseminated to appropriate constituencies at UTM. C. Boyd explained that this was available to individual faculty members who approached her on the subject.

    The Chair thanked C. Boyd for her report.

    b) Discussion of the "Green Papers on the Academic Plan": Questions for the Provost at the UTM Town Hall Meeting

    In order to focus the discussion, the Chair called on committee members to present their thoughts on section 2C of the "A Green Paper for Public Discussion: The Student Experience", on "Reviewing the Undergraduate Curriculum". This section contains the description of the Foundations Program at UBC, a highly integrated program specifically designed for first year students. A member suggested that the creation of such a program would be a good investment by the University and that UTM would be an ideal location for such a pilot project, especially in the Sciences. Other members stressed the importance of having the appropriate resources and funding to encourage faculty to participate in such innovative programs.

    In the discussion of interdisciplinary programs, a member questioned what incentives exist for faculty who are asked to participate in the development of these programs in light of a perceived disadvantage when these faculty are evaluated for merit/tenure based on individual departments.

    In section 1C of the same document, outreach and diversity efforts were discussed and the extent to which this enriched the student and faculty experience.

    A member raised the concern that when discussing Writing Programs, UTM's own successful program was ignored in the "Green Paper".

    There was finally some discussion about the section "Strengthening The Appointment And Tenure Review Process". Some members observed that there was pressure to make the tenure review programs more stringent. Others suggested that the real solution lay in perfecting the appointments process.

    The Chair concluded the committee's discussion of the "Green Paper" by recommending that members continue to contribute their ideas via the Provost's website, or by attending the January 24th Town Hall meeting.

  5. Other Business
    None.

  6. Next Meeting
    The next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee will be on Tuesday, February 4, 2003.

  7. Adjournment
    The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m. (W. Thompson / M. Overton)