Erindale College Council

MINUTES OF THE COLLEGE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, April 2, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 1092A, South Building.

PRESENT: M. Overton (in the Chair), U. Krull, A. Mirza, B. Barton, B. Murck, I. Wiecek, J. Donovan, J. Malcolm, I. Still, D. Borowski, C. Boyd, D. Crocker, K. Duncliffe, S. Kessler, J. Lim, J. McCurdy-Myers
REGRETS: E. Martin, I. Orchard, P. Donoghue, C. Misak, D. Hamilton, L. Collins, C. McGrath, B. Murck

  1. Adoption of the Agenda
    The Agenda was approved (U. Krull/ I. Wiecek)
  2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
    The Minutes of the March 10, 2003 meeting of the College Affairs Committee were approved. (I. Still /J. McCurdy-Myers)
  3. Business Arising from the Minutes
    a) Exciting New Component of the Proposed Athletics Facility – M. Overton / K. Duncliffe

    The Chair called on the Director of the Centre for Athletics and Wellness to give an update on the planning of the Centre for Athletics and Wellness. K. Duncliffe reported that the planning committee was in the last stages in the development of the final report on the new Centre for Athletics and Wellness. He handed out to the Committee a document entitled: UTM’s New Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Facility: An Update. He stated that he would report on the operating plan of the project at the next meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee. He noted that the alternate site for this facility (as detailed at the last meeting of this committee) would enable the reuse of a number of components of the current facility. The new Centre for Athletics and Wellness is anticipated to be directly connected to the first level of the South Building and flow through to the South Bldg. He stated that by altering the site plan, the Planning Committee achieved 90% of the original facility component plan, at a cost savings of approximately $10 million. The alternate site plan also enables UTM to build the facility within a shorter time frame than originally possible. He stated that the final report of the planning committee would be brought through the appropriate Standing Committees of Erindale College Council, followed by College Council, and in the May governance cycle, Planning and Budget, Business Board and finally Governing Council for approval. Following this process, architects would be hired in the summer of 2003 to begin the formal design phase of the project. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2004, with a tentative completion date of 2006.

    He directed the Committee’s attention to several articles in The Medium, which may have created confusion about the potential effect of the alternate site plan on the configuration of the new facility. He explained that the facility planning committee was drafting its response to the newspaper in order to try to clarify components of the new facility. He emphasized that an extensive review of the alternate site plan was conducted to ensure that the original goals and principals of the Planning Committee were met. He added that the alternate site proposal adds a new entrance area to the South Building and because most students approach UTM from the south end of the campus, the new Athletics entranceway would create a more attractive entrance and a greater awareness of wellness and the opportunities available.

    He stated that the planning committee is seeking further endorsement and approval of plans for the new Centre for Athletics and Wellness.

    It was duly moved and seconded THAT the College Affairs Committee endorse the plans for the Centre for Athletics and Wellness. (K. Duncliffe / J. Malcolm)

    The Chair opened the floor to questions. A member enquired about service interruption for facility users during the transitional phase between the old and the new facility. K. Duncliffe explained that plans would take into account the need for continuing access to existing facilities where reasonably possible. The plans call for minor modifications to the existing facilities, such as the squash courts, but he explained that any other major changes in the space allocations of the existing facility are to be made only after the new facility has been constructed.

    The Motion was called to question. The Motion was carried.
  4. New Business:
    a) The Canadian Innovation Agenda and the opportunity for creation of a Convergence Centre for sciences, health, management and policy at UTM – U. Krull

    The Chair called on Vice-Principal of Research, Professor Ulli Krull to begin his presentation on the proposed Convergence Centre at UTM.

    Professor Krull explained that this proposal was formulated approximately two years ago, under the tenure of the previous Principal, Robert H. McNutt. The purposes of the proposed Convergence Centre are to achieve the development of capital infrastructure (possibly a new Science Building), the creation of a mechanism for bridging the divisions and developing funding opportunities and the design of programming that is relevant to both UTM students and the external community. Professor Krull explained that UTM is not eligible by COU standards to seed funding for a new science building. UTM has to find innovative ways of creating research space. At the same time, he emphasized the importance of UTM promoting its own academic agenda, which would cater to the needs of students as well as industry.

    The federal government’s “Innovation Agenda” provides an opportunity for novel funding sources. In a document entitled “Achieving Excellence”, the federal government describes what Canada needs to do to move ideas from Institutes (universities, teaching hospitals) into economic reality. This stance by the federal government has created a secondary response by the Provincial government to support this “Innovation Agenda.” A number of Ontario taskforces have pointed to areas of industry that UTM already strongly links to – for example, the life sciences, information technology and biotechnology. These initiatives by the two levels of government provide UTM with the opportunity to promote itself as fitting into their agendas.

    The overall proposal is a Convergence Centre, which in its basic form takes knowledge and makes it commercial. The common theme is the promotion of the life sciences, by creating the Ontario Biotechnology Corridor, which is a geographical corridor where each city represents a node in the corridor, and each cluster brings its own specialty in terms of research strengths and enterprise. These nodes consist of a consortium of universities, institutes, local government, and local industry and other capital investment firms. The City of Mississauga has taken centre stage within Canada as a leading Biotechnology cluster with over 400 companies and over 19,700 people employed within this Bio-cluster. The Mississauga node will therefore reflect these strengths in the life sciences and information technology, featuring UTM, where significant activity already exists in these areas.

    There will be three components of the University of Toronto Biosciences and Biotechnology Cluster. Two critical pieces that are already in place are: The Toronto Academic Health Sciences Complex and CCBR and The MARS (Medical And Related Sciences) Discovery District. The third crucial element in this triad is The Biotechnology Convergence Centre (BIOTECC) at UTM, which represents the next and last major step in the development of the University of Toronto Cluster.

    The Vision for BIOTECC is in two parallel streams. The Academic Stream includes work in new technologies for drug discovery and proteomics, training, business modelling and policy/management. The second stream is the Institute Stream, which focuses on how to apply new technologies to selected targets of commercial interest, training, government and economic modelling. The Institute would be arms-length from the university, but would have cross-appointed faculty.

    Professor Krull emphasized that UTM had many potential partners in this endeavour, including the City of Mississauga, Sheridan Science and Technology Park, and the Ontario Ministry of Health, to name a few. In addition, UTM is poised to impact several well-established areas of strength, such as medical/health, water quality and safety, and health and environmental monitoring. He listed potential linkages in the areas of CABB, Languages/Communication, Management and Biological Communications and Mathematics. He cited examples of real outcomes, already implemented. Among these is the Mississauga Technology Business Accelerator (MTBA), which helps Mississauga based high technology and life sciences companies accelerate their development. In addition, he pointed to the “Mississauga Model”, a partnership with the WHO at the mayoral level that features Mississauga as an example of how a city should be run in terms of an overall concept of ‘health’.

    Regarding the entire Convergence Centre project, there are plans for on and off site construction and renovation needs. For on-site operations, the need exists for laboratories, seminar and workshop space, distance education facilities, and integration of space for life science, mathematics, management, medicine, engineering and culture/communications. For off-site operations, there is a need for space that allows for entrepreneurial activity, advisory boards, innovations foundation, space for promotion of commercialization, IRAP headquarters in targeted areas of investment and offices for venture capital presence.

    Professor Krull concluded his presentation with several possible considerations for discussion by the UTM community, which are as follows:
    1) Does the proposed structure for BIOTECC provide value and impact for UTM and Mississauga?
    2) How should the Convergence Centre be structured and what would be a recommended blend of participants?
    3) Who might be the champions and who might be the supporters of this initiative?

    Professor Ulli Krull provided the following Notice of Motion to the College Affairs Committee:
    THAT the College Affairs Committee recommend the approval of the UTM Convergence Centre as becoming part of the Campus’ overall strategic plan.

    The Chair opened the floor to questions and comments by Committee members.

    A member voiced her support for this initiative as an exciting prospect for UTM students. She also commented that a project such as this was taking advantage of UTM’s strengths in the area of linking with organizations in the outside community. Another member remarked his sense of excitement at the proposed plans, especially with regard to the cooperative activities with several major partners in the City, as outlined in the presentation. A member voiced her support of the strategic plan and asked how this initiative may be brought into reality. Professor Krull explained that investment needs to be in several areas including human capital and appropriate physical space for project activities. He added that even though funding is expected from the government, its timing and outcome was still uncertain. He emphasized that in the interim, UTM was in a position to stand out as an opportunity ready for such investment.

    The entire committee enthusiastically received the proposed Convergence Centre plan and a member suggested that the plans be approved at the present meeting. The Chair replied that the presentation was for information only and that it would be up for approval in the Fall.
  5. Other Business

    A member suggested that the School of Continuing Studies initiative be publicized throughout the campus.
  6. Next Meeting
    The next meeting of the College Affairs Committee has not been scheduled as of yet. The committee will be notified of any future dates, anticipating the need for meetings in May and possibly June due to the number of projects underway as part of the campus expansion.
  7. Adjournment
    The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.