Minutes: December 11, 2008

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 3:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, South Building

Present: A. Wensley (In the Chair); S. Al-Abdul-Wahid; D. Kreuger; I. Orchard; G. Averil; D. Crocker; M. Mavrinac; M. Overton; R. Da Silva; R. Abduallah Alvi; J. Butt; K. Ferdinand; O. Hafez; N. Hasan; A. Madhavji; A. Modh; A. Noor; N. Pillai; S. Shah; A. Siddiqi; G. Yuen; S. Speller; H. Hines; J. Gillies; L. Gaspini; A. Graham; L. Oliver; K. Horvath; S. McCarthy; A. Vyas; L. Paris; D. Mullings; J. McCurdy-Myers; E. Martin; K. Duncliffe; P. Handly; P. Goldsmith; J. Stirling; A. Burnett; W. Malik; M. Josifovska; D. Kohli; S. Malik. J. Santiago; I. Whyte; S. Senese; R. Beck; D. Dunlop; M. Jalland; G. Morris; I. Still; R. Johnson; L. Bailey; G. White; R. Reisz; A. Lange; Y. Karshon; H. Syme; L. Thomson; G. Crawford; U. Krull; M. Lettieri; E. Nikiema; S. Short; J. Poe; L. Kaplan; S. Munro; D. Schulze; A. Petersen; D. Raffman; S. Tenenbaum; B. Katz; K. Wilson; K. Khanin; H. Gunz; A. Syme; G. Espie;

Regrets: G. Richter; A. Birkenbergs; T. Ahmed; B. Murck; J. DeLombard; L. Wilson-Pauwels; J. Delves; L. MacDowell; A. Gillespie; C. Boyd; D. White; R. McLeod; J.P. Paluzzi; L. Collins;

Guests: C. Clairmont; D. Levies; S. Jamal; S. Watson; P. Liu; C. McFarlane; E. Zammit; D. Ponte; N. Dobb; L. Taylor; M. MacDonald; J. Summers; C. Jankowski; Y. Tam-Sequin; D. Iafrate; M. Price; M. Vincent; S. McGlashan; R. Lala;

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (November 5, 2008)

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. (I. Orchard, G. Crawford)

2. Reports of Standing Committees

a) Resource Planning and Priorities Committee
Professor Reisz reported that the Committee had received reports on two matters. The Storm Water Management Pond project was 95% complete. The landscaping would be completed in the spring. A member noted that the surface was uneven at present, and Professor Reisz said that the problem would be remedied in the spring when the soil had settled. The second item was a status report on the ancillary service budgets. The preliminary figures looked promising. There would be a formal report in January.

The final item of business from the Committee concerned a proposal to rename the South Building, and Professor Reisz invited Professor Orchard to present the item.

1. Proposed Naming:

The Council approved the proposal for a naming. It would be forwarded to the Governing Council for confidential consideration and, if deemed appropriate, approval.

b) Academic Affairs Committee

Professor Lange reported for information that the Committee had approved an amendment to the HBSc degree requirements to allow an HBSc to those students who completed their major in Science but their minors in Arts, effective for the 2009-10 academic calendar.

1. Curriculum Reports

Humanities Curriculum Report

Professor Johnson noted that the report had been circulated to members, and that the changes were of a housekeeping nature.

It was moved that the Erindale College Council approve the 2009-10 Humanities Curriculum Report. (R. Johnson/D. Crocker)

There were no questions.

The vote on the motion was taken. The motion carried.

Science Curriculum Report

Professor Reisz noted that the vast majority of changes were of a housekeeping nature. Deletions were the result of a change in faculty or a lack of student interest. Two new programs were proposed: a major in Biology for Health Sciences and a minor in Environment Science (Science), both the result of student interest. The resource implications were minor.

It was moved that the Erindale College Council approve the 2009-10 Sciences Curriculum Report. (R. Reisz/G. Averill)

There were no questions.

The vote on the motion was taken. The motion carried.

Social Science Curriculum Report

Professor Crawford noted that the majority of the changes were for clarification or of a housekeeping nature. New courses were the result of new faculty hiring or new interests of faculty and students. The new minor in Environmental Management (Arts) was created based on student interest. The content of the two deleted programs had been folded into other programs.

It was moved that the Erindale College Council approve the 2009-10 Social Sciences Curriculum Report. (G. Crawford/G. Averill)

There were no questions.

The vote on the motion was taken. The motion carried.

2. Twelve Week Academic Term

Professor Lange noted that historically, UTM had used a 13-week calendar in each of two terms, with a one-week study period in the Spring term. UTSC had been using a 12-week academic term for 8 or 9 years and the Faculty of Arts and Science had approved the adoption of a 12-week term beginning in 2009-10. A 12-week model had been designed by the Registrar’s Office with a study period before the exams in both the fall and spring terms. Exams would finish by May 1 in time for UTM students to be competitive in the search for jobs.

Professor Lange noted that in discussions, a number of points had been raised. Some wanted consistency in the length of terms across the three campuses. Some raised faculty workload issues and the impact on faculty retention if the campuses were different. Students had supported the study period and noted that they would not be disadvantaged in comparison to students on the St. George Campus. Those against the proposal had cited problems with lab accommodation and anticipated compromised course content.

It was moved that Erindale College Council approve the adoption of a 12-week term at the University of Toronto at Mississauga effective for the 2009-2010 academic year. (A. Lange/G. Averill)

The Chair reported that he had received 4 communications from faculty members, all supporting the proposal.

A lengthy debate ensued.

Comments and questions for clarification:

  • The rules for appropriate activity on the part of faculty and teaching assistants and the expectations of students during study week should be clearly defined; a member noted that this would be discussed by the Academic Affairs Committee in the New Year and put in the calendar for clarity
  • A member noted that pre-tenured faculty needed to be protected with clear expectations
  • Questions about the ability to hand in assignments during study week needed to be clarified
  • A member asked about the effect, if any, on Teaching Assistant hours; a member responded that the change would allow for more flexible use of the same number of hours, perhaps in study week activity

Comments for and against the proposal were as follows:
Those generally in support of the motion:

  • students had been engaged in the process and the vast majority of the students were in favour of proposal, liking in particular the study week
  • the proposal meant only two less lectures a term per course and the faculty should not have any difficulty adapting the material
  • students with study time did better and it would make the end of term less stressful
  • fewer classes would be skipped in the last week
  • it was the quality of education that mattered, not the quantity; information technology helped make teaching more effective
  • study week would prevent the presentation of new material on a Friday followed by an exam on Monday
  • if assignments could be submitted in study week, the final week of classes would be more productive
  • time to sample classes would be reduced to one week, solidifying class enrolment after one week
  • holding mid-term exams outside class hours added, in effect, another class
  • the quality and content of classes would be better
  • the proposed 12-week term with a study break had been proposed to enable student success
  • syllabi were now on line, freeing the first class for course work rather than a discussion of the course
  • there would still be 13 weeks to learn the material; study week would alleviate the panic in the last week of classes
  • line-ups at the Registrar’s office would decrease.

Those against the motion with other suggestions:

  • data for 2008-09 for the top 42 North American universities, including five from Canada, showing number of days of instruction per year, placed those with 120 days (UTM proposed and Princeton) at the bottom of the list; the member suggested UTM wait and see how it worked on St. George before adopting the proposal; a member responded that the hours of instruction were more important than the number of days and UTM was in the middle of Ontario universities in that regard
  • a 12-week term was thin in comparison to Michigan and Berkeley; there was a study week in spring term, and one could be added to fall term by starting before Labour Day; perhaps exam time could be compressed further; proposal had a three week focus on exams when perhaps exams should not be that prominent; suggested tabling motion to review alternatives; a member responded that Labour Day did not determine the schedule and having a week for orientation was important; compressing exams would not possible; adding two days in November to study, to copy the practice on the St. George Campus, instead of a study week would make scheduling a nightmare
  • concern about crammed course content was expressed
  • some courses already held mid-terms outside class, and this would not relieve the concern about compressed course material; it was suggested that moving material to second year was possible
  • absence from class would cause bigger problems because of the reduced number of classes; in response, a member said that note-taking help was available, as was late withdrawal from class and the LWD would still be available to the last day of class
  • it would be harder for a number of courses to harmonize their term tests, particularly with no tests allowed in the last two weeks of term.

The vote on the motion was taken. The motion carried.

3. Vice-President and Principal’s Report

Professor Orchard said that today’s meeting had shown the value/effect of good governance. There had been healthy debates at both the Committee level and at Council. He had certainly appreciated the discussion and had learned a great deal, about the achievements of the individual for whom the South Building may be renamed if Governing Council approves.

Professor Orchard reported that the Provincial Government was looking into the capital requirements of universities and colleges. A consultant, Courtyard Group, would be visiting campuses across Ontario and it would be visiting the St. George Campus on Friday, UTSC on Monday and UTM on Tuesday. A number of internal and external stakeholders would be involved in the lobbying effort for more academic and research space. Space at UTM was low relative to the COU space standards at 69% of space appropriate for its enrolment. There would be a presentation followed by tours of the facilities. UTM would be submitting projects for funding from the grants expected to be made available.

4. New Business

Parking Tickets
Two members gave accounts of parking tickets being given to students and staff who had the appropriate permits displayed on the dashboards. It took time for the students and staff to try to rectify the problem, and they found it unacceptable that the Parking Office could not help with this matter. The Chair suggested that the matter be discussed at the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee. Professor Reisz asked that those concerned send him emails giving the particulars.

5. Next Meeting – Thursday, January 29, 2009

6. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.