Minutes: February 24, 2009

Meeting of the ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, at 3:10 p.m. in Room 3129, South Building.

Present: N. Copeland; D. Kreuger; A. Lange; A.K. Madhavji; G. Anderson; G. Averill; M. Mavrinac; D. Crocker; C. Cranford; C. Evans; J. McCurdy-Myers; J. Poe; A. Wensley; I. Orchard; S. Meza; G. Crawford;
Guests: C. DeMarco;
Regrets: H. Gunz; M. Lippincott; K. Poloz; N. Woolridge; B. Katz; R. Gerlai;

1. Minutes of the previous meeting (January 19th, 2009)

Date of last meeting was noted and will be confirmed. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

2. Reports of Committees and Officers

a) Update on CTEP & Upcoming Deferred Exams — Diane Crocker, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management

Deferred Exams: an e-mail was sent out to inform faculty & staff that deferred exams will be scheduled in May, immediately following the regular exam period. The notion is that students will be better prepared for the exam, as opposed to writing a deferred exam at the end of August when they have been away from the material for months. It was reiterated that this practice was strongly supported by Quality Services to Students council (Q.S.S.). The biggest impact on instructors is that deferred exams need to be prepared and submitted to the Office of the Registrar at the same time as the regular exams.

A member commented that it was strongly recommended earlier that deferred exams be different from the original, given that it’s so soon after the regular exam period. Diane replied that it will be up to the instructors and Chairs to determine.

A student member asked about the requirement for a 72-hour turnaround on supporting documentation, and what happens in the event that a student is really ill and cannot make this deadline. Diane replied that hospitalization is an extreme case, and it can easily be petitioned under those kinds of circumstances, but the 72-hour requirement holds for most other circumstances – and in some cases a student may need to have someone else submit the supporting documentation on their behalf.

Another member asked about instructors preparing deferred exams only if they’re necessary since this new requirement is a waste of effort if the exam isn’t subsequently used. Diane responded that preparing the exam beforehand is necessary in order to meet the fast turnaround. U of TM has a very large number of deferred exams, however it is hoped this deferred-exam change will reduce the number of deferred exams written.

A student member asked about deferring a deferred exam. Diane replied that this will no longer be allowed, and that the rules are clear in the calendar.

CTEP Update: Newly introduced policies for the program state that by the end of 4th year, students are expected to have the same qualifications as students getting into the 1st year of OISE’s teaching program, and students must maintain their grades in order to stay in the program. The students in the CTEP program will be assessed after 8.0 course attempts, and if they have lower than 2.5 CGPA, they will be put on probation. If students do not maintain 2.7 annual average at the end of the 3rd year, they will be required to withdraw from the program.

3. New Business:

a) By-Law Revisions — Devin Kreuger, Acting Director, Governance

Devin explained that he did a comparative analysis with U of TM, UTSC and St. George, and his revisions have been done in order to streamline and improve governance processes on this campus. He is presenting the revisions to all the standing committees of ECC for their feedback and approval, as well as running them by students and senior administrators at U of TM.

Devin found that the original terms of reference were vague and, in some instances, out of date, and didn’t delegate actual authority. He is aiming to define the powers delegated to the respective standing committees and make the terms of reference as clear as possible.

It was duly moved and seconded that the AAC recommend the proposed revisions to Appendix 3, Section 2, of the UTM By-Laws for approval to Erindale College Council. (A. Lange/G. Averill)

A member extended his support for this clarification exercise, and expressed that he thinks it will be helpful to members of governance.

A student member asked about Section 1.4 (a) about the Constituencies, and Devin said the addition of Graduate Students was made as a clarification and correction.

Another member asked about Section 2.2 (a) in the Areas of Responsibility & Delegated Authority; they were concerned that leaving Council out will be a loss and might take away some power. Devin replied that even if authority is delegated, the committee can always defer a matter to ECC. I. Orchard also said that the Executive Committee will have the authority to involve Council as well.

Another member queried Section 2.4, the Election of Members. The member mentioned the comparison of the Academic Board, which has all activity of its committee reported to it but does not require approval, and the size of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Council, which is comprised of 92 members, 44 of which are faculty – a faculty member from each department, as well as the Chair of each department; much larger than membership of AAC. It was pointed out that the representation of AAC is comparable: there is a member from each department, student members and ex-officio members, and the committee operates essentially the same; any member of ECC, which includes every faculty member, also has the option to attend AAC meetings.

The call to vote on whether the Academic Affairs Committee approves proposed revisions to Appendix 3, Section 2, of the UTM By-Laws and recommends it to Erindale College Council was upheld, and was approved.

b) U of T Mississauga Library Annual Review, Making Connections: 2007-2008 — Mary Ann Mavrinac, Chief Librarian

Mary Ann expressed that this was born as a digital publication, but there are a limited number of paper copies. The Advisory Committee to the UTM Library reports through to AAC. This review is the 5th annual report for the Library. Mary Ann expressed that the report is about accountability, as well as marketing (to the community).

Mary Ann said she is proud to table the report, as it highlights the varied accomplishments of the library staff, and the new design this year brings the report to life.

The Table of Contents illustrates the vision of the Library, and highlights include the fact that HMALC is a busy place, with over 1 million visitors in 2007-08, an increase of 20%, and that the building has won several awards for design and innovation.

Mary Ann also pointed out the opening of the learning centre has increased student presence in the library, and teaching & learning and BlackBoard activities across disciplines have also enhanced HMALC’s services.

A student member asked about 24/5 pilot project and whether it will continue. Mary Ann replied that it was funded through the Provost’s Student Experience Fund, and it is coming to the end of its 3rd year of a pilot project. There is no base budget funding for this initiative, so they are working on how much of this service they can offer over the future years. They are keeping data on who is in the library at varied hours, and, on average, they found there were less than 50 people in the library at 4 am (as an example), and that the library usage in the early morning hours was down from last year. They are reviewing the data to see what hours are most heavily used.

When a member asked if it was known what the students are doing in the library in these early hours, Mary Ann replied that only security staff is there at that time, and there are no library services; they don’t track exactly how the students are using the space.

A student member expressed that they shouldn’t take away the service, and asked if library hours could be extended during mid-terms. Mary Ann replied that the library has been open 24/5 over mid-terms, but attendance is really low. Since it is a large building, to keep it open for 50 people is a difficult case. The student suggested extending the hours from midnight or to 2 am would be helpful. Mary Ann said they will examine the usage data, and determine how the library is being used. Their data shows that sometimes there are over 1500 people in the library at once during the day, and they need to maintain services for when there will be the greatest impact. Their goal is to meet the students’ needs.

A student member also mentioned the fact that there is no place to eat at those hours. If Starbucks were open, perhaps more students would go to the library. I. Orchard said that Starbucks tried opening earlier, but they don’t have the sales volumes. Food Services monitors their sales every 15 minutes, so they would stay open if they could cover their costs.

4. Next meeting of AAC is Tuesday, March 24th, 2009.

5. Adjournment: 4:00 PM.