Erindale College Council

MINUTES OF THE ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

PRESENT: S. Aster (in the Chair), I. Orchard, R. Baker, M. Overton, J. Poë, D. Crocker, J. Lester, I. Graham, S. Munro, B. Green, G. Anderson, W. Ghobriel, M.L. Smith, W. Thompson, J. McCurdy-Myers, M. Massey, C. Boyd, C. Ferencz Hammond
REGRETS: P. Donoghue, M. Lettieri, G. Crawford, M.A. Mavrinac

  1. Adoption of the Agenda
    The Agenda was approved, with the change that Cleo Boyd would follow the presentation on "UTM and the Double Cohort" with her talk on the Grade 12 Curriculum, followed by the report on departmental planning by Vice-President and Principal Ian Orchard.

  2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
    The minutes of the January 21, 2003 meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee were approved with one change in the attendance section.

  3. Business Arising from the Minutes
    None.

  4. New Business:
    a) UTM and the Double Cohort – M. Overton/D. Crocker

    The Chair called on D. Crocker, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management and M. Overton, Dean of Student Affairs, to brief the committee on the challenges facing UTM with the Double Cohort. A document detailing the statistics was distributed to the Committee members. D. Crocker drew the committee’s attention to the page detailing the monthly application statistics of all Ontario universities from the Ontario Universities Application Centre (O.U.A.C). She pointed out that the total percent change in first choice applications in the Ontario system (represents number of actual bodies) from February 2002 to February 2003 was 47.1%; for the University of Toronto this same statistic was 36.6% and for UTM, it was 41% in terms of first choice applications. She also noted that some of the smaller institutions show massive increases in their first choice applications, but this may be due to their small size and much increased efforts in recruitment. Referring to the handout on program choices, she also remarked that the first choice percentage change for new applicants in the subject of Mathematics was at 4.4%. In addition, she commented that the average number of choices students made was five, which has increased as compared to past years. She also pointed out that it was somewhat difficult to make statistical comparisons of choices, because this year was the first year that students could consciously rank their choices. Referring to the handout that details applications to UTM, D. Crocker stated that applications from Ontario High Schools to high technology programs have decreased. She stated that in general there are indications of increases in the number of applications and in the number of students who have picked more than three choices. More data from the application centre would be received by the end of March.

    D. Crocker pointed to statistics in the handouts that show total intake projections (FTEs) and total head count for UTM, both from the base year of 2000/01. At this point in the presentation, the Vice-President and Principal was called upon to comment on UTM’s planned enrolment. He stated that a few months ago Presidents of Ontario Universities signed off on an Enrolment Target Agreement with the government, which sets enrolment targets for each university, subject to the conditions of full average funding and SuperBuild funding. Recently, the government of Ontario has asked the Presidents of Ontario Universities to agree to take in more students for the year 2003/04, in particular, to accept more of the so called ‘101’ or direct entry students from Ontario High Schools. Therefore, UTM will take in an additional 150 students in the year 2003/04. The Scarborough and St. George campuses are also taking in more students at a differential level. I. Orchard noted that there is discussion about balancing this intake by taking in less so called ‘105’ students (international, transfer and out of province students) to accommodate ‘101’ students. In this way, total UTM intake projections reach a steady state in the year 2006/07, where it plateaus. He also stated that there have been and will continue to be increases in faculty and staff to accommodate increases in student enrolment and observed that universities have a responsibility to the citizens of Ontario to try and accommodate these additional students.

    D. Crocker announced that UTM was having a March Break Open House on Saturday, March 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., which will feature program information sessions, student service sessions and campus and residence tours. Approximately 14,000 Ontario High School students were invited, with 1000 being the attendance goal.

    M. Overton explained that UTM is currently receiving applications and will offer admission based on a three tier system. The first wave of offers will see the offer of admission go out to top students in early April. The second wave of offers is made at the end of April, followed by the third wave in May. The fixed deadline for responses is the beginning of June. Any fine tuning will be done between June and August. The Chair opened the floor to questions.

    A member asked about the significance of the first choice application statistic of only a 4% increase for Mathematics. D. Crocker replied that this low number is balanced by the increased interest in Chemistry, Physics and Forensics. She also commented that there is still much uncertainty about the application numbers as many High School students in the new curriculum may not feel prepared to attend University and in some cases are encouraged to remain in High School for another year.

    A member asked about the budget availability for hiring teaching assistants and the University’s ability to hire them in light of the competitive recruiting environment. I. Orchard replied that there has been much discussion of strategies for recruiting teaching assistants. There has also been ongoing discussion with the government over not only funding increased undergraduate enrolment, but also future places for these students in second entry professional faculties and graduate programs.

    b) Report on the Grade 12 Curriculum – C. Boyd

    The Chair called on Cleo Boyd, Director of the Academic Skills Centre, to give her report on the Grade 12 Ontario High School curriculum, focusing on the subjects of English and Mathematics. C. Boyd distributed a handout to the committee that summarized course comparability between new grade 12 and old OAC High School courses. She explained that the content of the new grade 12 courses does not necessarily entirely match the content of the old OAC courses. She informed the committee that the new curriculum’s expectation of students is focused on outcomes, which measures a series of skills and knowledge. This is a change from the old OAC curriculum, which was process driven. In reference to Mathematics, she stated that incoming new curriculum students would be deficient in the areas of Algebra and Trigonometry. These shortcomings are being attributed to teachers being rushed in the assimilation and delivery of new course material. Grade 12 curriculum mathematics students are said to be more prepared in the areas of visualizing math problems, posing questions and application of knowledge. Measurement of Mathematics skills occurs across four levels: knowledge and understanding, thinking, inquiry/problem solving, communications, and applications and making connections. C. Boyd encouraged faculty whose first year courses contain a substantial amount of Mathematics, to examine Grade 12 curriculum expectations of outcomes. She continued her presentation with an analysis of new curriculum preparation for English.

    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 real difference between these two groups was in the assessment criteria of the two curriculums. As an example, she pointed to a grade 12 curriculum marking sheet for Studies in Literature, which was very formulaic in nature. In addition, she stated her belief that there existed substantial grade inflation.

    Details on the new curriculum could be found on the Ontario Ministry of Education website at www.edu.gov.on.ca (under elementary and secondary education) and was also available at UTM’s Academic Skills Centre. C. Boyd also pointed to information on this topic found in Redesigning Higher Education: Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning by Lion F. Gardiner.

    The committee discussed the importance of communicating information about the grade 12 curriculum and its expectations of students to UTM faculty. There was a suggestion by a member that there should be an organized faculty session to accomplish this.

    It was duly moved and seconded,
    THAT the office of the Vice Principal Academic direct appropriate action so that UTM faculty are informed about the skill sets of incoming High School students.

    The motion was carried.

    c) Update on Departmental Planning – I. Orchard

    The Vice-President and Principal reported that departmental plans have been submitted and reviewed by an Advisory Group on Departmental Planning, which consists of the following members: the three associate deans, Professor Ulli Krull, Vice Principal Research, Professor Sidney Aster, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Professor David Cook, Principal of Victoria College, and Professor Hugh Gunz. The Advisory Group agreed that the Vice Principal Academic should be integrated into this review process, and therefore the committee waited to finalize a model until she commenced her tenure at UTM. Over the next three weeks, Professor Misak will drive the review process by meeting with all relevant departmental groups to discuss their plans and provide feedback in consultation with the advisory group. I. Orchard remarked that, since much discussion of departmental plans had previously occurred, in the majority of the cases the plans were accepted. He added that there were a small number of cases where the plans needed revision. He stated that the number of departments would likely be between thirteen and fifteen, and an Institute may also be created. He added that there had also been ongoing discussion on how to create an environment and structure in which interdisciplinary programs could flourish. The Vice-President and Principal concluded his report by stating that once the review process was complete, its results would be brought to this Committee and the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee, followed by College Council, Planning and Budget, Academic Board and finally Governing Council for approval. Parallel to this process and subject to Governing Council approval, chair searches would be conducted, with the goal of having Chairs and Interim Chairs in place by July of 2003. This would provide the structure needed for an appropriate response to the White Paper, which is expected to be released in early Fall.

    The Chair opened the floor to questions. In response to a member’s query regarding departmental budgetary responsibility, I. Orchard said that this would be discussed at a meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee.

  5. Other Business
    None.

  6. Next Meeting
    The next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee has not been scheduled as of yet. The committee will be notified of any future dates, anticipating the need for meetings in April, May and possibly June due to the number of projects underway as part of departmental planning.

  7. Adjournment
    The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.