Minutes: April 6, 2009

Report of the meeting of the ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, April 6, 2009, at 3:10 p.m. in Room 3129, South Building.

Present: N. Copeland; C. Cranford; A. Wensley; G. Averill; A. Lange (Chair); J. McCurdy-Myers; J. Poë; N. Woolridge; I. Orchard; D. Crocker; S. Munro; C. Evans; S. Meza; Regrets: M. Mavrinac; M. Lippincott; A. Madhavji; Guests: C. DeMarco; S. Gonsalves; M. Evison; W. Malik; M. Josifovska;

1. Minutes of the previous meeting (February 24, 2009)
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

2. For Approval: Proposal to Change an Academic Regulation – Diane Crocker, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management

D. Crocker provided the following summary about the proposal (attached):

UTM, UTSC, and FAS are aiming to harmonize degree requirements. UTM is moving closer to FAS in entry requirements, and so are looking to harmonize as much as possible.

Currently there are 60 UTM students right now caught in the gap between the GPA necessary for good standing and the GPA necessary for graduation, and there has been a move to identify what is necessary for these students to graduate. They are performing adequately, obtaining grades in the 60’s, but they’re unlikely to graduate since they aren’t likely to get their CGPA up over 1.85. Of the 60 students, none would be likely graduate this year, and they all have over 20-24 credits. FAS has informed D. Crocker that they allow such students to graduate with BA or BSc degrees.

UTSC is also looking at their requirements, but they have a 1.6 to be in good standing and to graduate. UTSC is considering revising their own requirements to bring their requirements in line with UTM and FAS.

Motion: Be it resolved that the HBA, HBSc, BBA and B.Com degree requirements be amended to allow students who meet all the requirements for the HBA, HBSc, BBA and B.Com, except for the GPA requirement, to elect to graduate with a BA or BSc degree, as appropriate, provided they are in good standing. (D. Crocker; G. Averill)

  • One student member commented that this is a good policy. He thanked the Registrar for this proposed change, and said that the feedback he has received regarding this proposal from other students has been favourable.
  • Another member commented that changing degree requirements is important, so she circulated the item widely, and it generated much discussion. Some faculty members think we should have a 2.0 degree requirement, while others believe 50% should be a pass. A majority of the department believed this change was acceptable. The member also brought up the use of GPA in the first place is an odd system, given that professors give percentage marks, which are then translated to letter grades, and then converted to GPA. The other issue was that there should be a distinction between the BSc and HBSc. To most people ‘honours’ means some sort of distinction, and 1.85 is not a particularly great honour.
  • In response to the 2.0 CGPA issue, G. Averill said that the change right now is to take care of a gap first to help these students graduate. The graduation level issue will be addressed at a later time. The Tri-Campus Deans will be discussing grading practices, and the President is also interested in addressing this issue. They’ve been doing some research with the Provost and OTA, and one of the areas they’ve noted is in the percent-letter-GPA translations.
  • D. Crocker said she will raise these issues with the tri-campus undergraduate issues group also.
  • Another member commented that business and commerce students would get a BA, not business or commerce-related degrees. It was noted that this will cause some confusion in interviews when students are asked what their classes were in (if they have a BA), and they will say ‘business’ or ‘commerce.’ D. Crocker replied that for commerce and business, there are so few students in the gap, they’ll likely stick it out and aim for the business/commerce degrees.
  • Another member asked whether this will affect students graduating this June. D. Crocker replied that the AAC meeting was called today so that this change will take effect May 1.
  • Another member asked what the next steps were for this proposal. A. Lange said that the Executive Committee needs to confirm it, but that it does not go to ECC.
    D. Crocker said that only students entering UTM after 2003 are affected, since before that UTM offered a 3-year degree.
  • Another member questioned why the difference between 1.5 and 1.85 was in place previously. D. Crocker replied that it is a hold-over from 2003 when the University moved to a four-year degree. This language didn’t get changed, and why they feel there is now some urgency to correct this.
  • The call to vote on whether the Academic Affairs Committee approves proposed amendment to the degree requirements to allow students who meet all the requirements for the HBA, HBSc, BBA and B.Com, except for the GPA requirement, to graduate with a BA or BSc degree provided they are in good standing, was upheld, and was approved.

3. For Approval: Proposal to Participate in a the Centre for Forensic Science & Medicine – Gage Averill, Dean and V.P., Academic

Discussions with Medicine and the Chief Coroner for a Centre for Forensics began some time ago.

The Centre already is operating, funded entirely by the Faculty of Medicine, and Medicine will continue to be the headquarters of this Centre. Participating as a goodwill partner will strengthen the UTM Forensic Science program. The Hospitals are involved and the Faculty of Law also has had a presence in the Centre. The Centre will bring all these stakeholders together.

This partnership will allow our Forensic students to participate in the Centre’s events and engage with professionals in the field. For faculty, they can assist in inter-professional training, collaboration with research projects. Ideally it will evolve into an EDU-B graduate program between UTM and Medicine.

Motion: Be it resolved that the University of Toronto Mississauga engage in a partnership with the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Forensic Science & Medicine. (G. Averil; I. Orchard)

  • M. Evison expressed that this is an extremely significant proposal. Their aim should be to pursue quality, academic research of value to forensic science, and try to promote research. They should also aim to develop quality professional collaborations. He expressed that we are in a fantastic position to be internationally recognized in Forensics. It will enhance the reputation of the institution.
  • G. Averill mentioned that M. Evison will be on the steering committee.
  • One member expressed that the benefits to students were mentioned, but questioned whether the undergraduates’ opportunities for internships and research will be enhanced. M. Evison said yes, and that they will also foster research in forensics across all levels—undergraduate, graduate, and faculty. G. Averill also said UTM is putting its resources behind growing the undergraduate program and linking it to the Centre.
  • A member asked whether any costs will be associated with this partnership, and whether RPPC will be reviewing it. G. Averill said there are no costs, and that the Centre is funded entirely by Medicine, who don’t intend to move costs onto the partners. He reiterated that this is a collegial, cooperative relationship. M. Evison agreed and said it is a goodwill partnership at this stage.

The call to vote on whether the Academic Affairs Committee approves the partnership with the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Forensic Science & Medicine was upheld, and was approved.

4. New Business

D. Crocker provided a quick update on exam deferrals. The deferred exam schedule is now in place for the first week in May. All deferred exams have been scheduled. Plus, the Registrar’s Office have processed 1,000 LWDs since January, so there may be fewer deferred exams due to the new LWD policy.

5. Adjournment: 3:50 p.m.