Minutes: January 18, 2010


MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 10:10 a.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: R. Reisz (in the Chair), I. Orchard, P. Donoghue, G. Averill, U. Krull, A. Wensley, D. Crocker, J. Lim, C. Capewell, N. Basiliko, B. Schneider, N. Collins, S. Gonsalves
Regrets: M. Georges, M. Tombak, D. Mullings
In attendance: Bill McFadden, Gale Richter, Chris McGrath, Mark Overton, Melissa Berger, Louis Kaplan

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (November 23, 2009)

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Overview of the Budget Process - Christine Capewell, Director of Business Services

Ms. Capewell detailed the guidelines by which all ancillaries at the University of Toronto must abide as follows:

Subsidies from the operating budget, both direct and indirect, must be expressly identified and eliminated.

• Operating revenues must be sufficient to support regular capital renewal of both buildings and equipment. Deferred maintenance must be eliminated and provision made for regular replacement of furniture and equipment.

• Having achieved objectives (1) and (2), ancillaries will create an operating reserve.

• Having achieved (1), (2) and (3), ancillaries will contribute net revenues to the operating budget.

• In addition, where an ancillary takes on a major capital investment (normally a new building or extensive renovation), Each ancillary must:

• Achieve annual breakeven position 5 years after opening a new building

• Achieve a cumulative breakeven position 8 years after opening a new building

b) Ancillary Budgets and Financial Plans

i. Parking Services - Christine Capewell, Director of Business Services

The parking services management report and budget is attached hereto as Appendix A.

Ms. Capewell reported that Parking & Transportation Services lost 300 spaces due to the construction of the Instructional Centre and a further 140 spaces to the Health Science Complex in 2009-10. Space inventory has fallen below the total demand and has curtailed service for the 2009-10 demand for parking on campus, resulting in all existing being over-sold.

Permit sales have been capped on all existing lots and waiting lists established. Furthermore, U of T Mississauga has had to reduce some outreach activities and cancel special events (or reschedule to off-peak hours, affecting attendance) because of lack of parking. With the loss of Lot 2 due to the construction of the new Medical Academy, and spaces lost in Lot 9, the total loss of spaces experienced was 440. A temporary solution to regain some of the loss inventory included the conversion of the baseball diamond and tennis courts into parking spaces. Permit revenues are expected to fall short of budget by 5% which equates to a total of $90,630.

Pay and Display revenues are expected to exceed budget by a total of $100,000, this is due to more demand as a result of the lack of permit availability and more compliance through enforcement. The operating result before transfers, as a result of the above items, is expected to be a positive result of $69,626 up from the budgeted amount of $60,515. There will be no contribution to the Capital Renewal Reserve.

Ms. Capewell reported that the planned construction of a parking deck will increase the number of parking spaces in Lot 8 by approximately 250. This will make available more spaces to offset the loss of Lot 2 & Lot 9. A parking deck is planned to increase the number of spaces in Lot 8. Construction is expected to begin in April 2010 and is projected to be completed by September 2010. The cost of this project will be $6,500,000 which will be amortized over a 10 year period.

Regarding the 2010-11 budget, Ms. Capewell reported that it includes a 3% permit price increase.

Pay & Display revenues continue to increase from the 2009-2010 forecast. This increase is due to continued effective enforcement practices and the proposed rate increase of $1 (from $12 to $13) for the daily maximum and a $1 increase (from $5 to $6) in the evening and weekend rate.

It was duly moved and seconded,

the Parking Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2010-11 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval. (C. Capewell/P. Donoghue)

The Chair opened the floor for discussion.

In answer to a member's question about whether or not the parking deck spaces will be designated as unreserved spots, Ms. Capewell explained the current plan is for the deck to be unreserved, but that this may change in the future.

The motion was carried.

ii. Food Services - Bill McFadden, Director of Hospitality and Retail Services

The food services management report and budget is attached hereto as Appendix B.

Mr. McFadden reported that, regarding forecasted revenue, cafeteria sales fell short of budget by 1.7%, due to the reduction in discretionary spending related to the recession and reduced business as a result of the condensed academic schedule. The forecasted total revenue still exceeds budget by 2%, primarily as a result of increases in the meal plan and catering sales. It was noted that cost of sales are 2.3% higher as a direct result of the higher revenue.

Mr. McFadden explained that Chartwells selling prices were based upon a number of costs incurred in the delivery of services to the community. The two largest components are food costs and labour costs. He emphasized that Chartwells faced tremendous challenges in these areas this year. There was an 8.5% increase to the minimum wage in Ontario. In addition, food prices were the primary driver of inflation in Canada in 2009: specifically, inflation related to food was at 7.9% at the beginning of April and although the Ontario economy has seen subtle deflation through the fall, the cost of restaurant meal purchases for December were still approximately 3% higher than last year. Mr. McFadden noted that selling prices for food need to keep up with the inflation related to the service input costs, otherwise, services need to be reduced. Chartwells price increases for the 2009/10 year were less than inflation, resulting in margin pressure over the year.

Regarding direct expenses, total forecasted direct expenses are 4.8% less than budget.

Regarding the price of food on campus, a 4% inflationary increase to the price of food is anticipated on campus. This increase is a result of the further 7.9% increase in the minimum wage scheduled for the spring and to cover the anticipated inflationary increase to food in 2010-11. Mr. McFadden detailed a number of trends developing regarding the cost of food as follows:

  • Global food prices increased 7% in November
  • The recovery from the recession is beginning to increase worldwide demand for food
  • Drought in India and Argentina and typhoons in the Philippines have reduced output and trade restrictions have been put in place in a number of countries
  • There are reductions in the inventory of commodities in the U.S. and Canada
  • Food prices will be going up

Regarding the meal plan cost, a 5% increase in meal plan revenue and a weighted average meal plan rate increase of 4.1% is being budgeted. Schedule 6 shows a complete breakdown of meal plan rates. Mr. McFadden noted that U of T Mississauga meal plan rates, remain very competitively priced: the campus rated 7th out of 13 schools in both the least expensive and average Group A meal plan rates. When the average of all meal plans is taken into consideration, the U of T Mississauga campus ranks second lowest of 14 universities. He emphasized that this was important to note because the campus is offering services similar to universities that are much larger while still remaining very competitively priced. Mr. McFadden continued his report by noting that sales have flattened out as the existing food service infrastructure is pushed to the limit. The food service operation is currently serving more than 8500 customers per day. He acknowledged that the food service operation was rated as a "D" operation by the Globe and Mail Report Card of Universities, noting that more quality facilities are needed. In keeping with this, a master plan for campus food service facilities has been completed to identify areas of future food service development. The proposal for a new food service outlet in the Instructional Centre was approved and will be completed for the fall of 2011. In addition, preliminary conceptual planning for enhanced food service in the South Building is beginning and a new Tim Horton's kiosk will be implemented in the Meeting Place. It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Food Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2010-11 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval. (B. McFadden/P. Donoghue) The Chair opened the floor to discussion. In response to a member's question about the level of price increases, Mr. McFadden explained that the increases were enough to keep Chartwells viable. The motion was carried. iii. Residence - Chris McGrath, Assistant Dean of Student Services The residence services management report and budget is attached hereto as Appendix C. Mr. McGrath reported that The forecast for 2009-2010 is better than the financial plan as approved through governance in 2009. The Operating Result Before Transfers is a deficit of $436,703, which is $133,709 better than budget. Regarding revenues, occupancy (number of beds occupied) for 2009-2010 met projections at 96%, however they are lower than anticipated revenues attributable to the variance in pricing for accommodations, a shortfall of $35,382. Summer occupancy was higher than projected with an increase in half semester housing occupancy, leading to a surplus of $77,258. Regarding expenses, Mr. McGrath reported that significant savings in utilities ($105,978) are due to lower utility rates and increased environmental cost-saving initiatives. Annual and Major Maintenance collectively are projected to be higher than plan by $71,244 due to unanticipated electrical code issues in the townhouses, accessible door operator installations in Oscar Peterson Hall, additional shingle replacements in MaGrath Valley and Schreiberwood following a Roof Conditioning Audit in the spring of 2009, and roofing repairs to Roy Ivor Hall Pod B. Mr. McGrath also reported that a 20-year roof conditioning audit for all residence buildings was completed. In addition, a new September family and graduate lease period was implemented to better meet the needs of graduate program cycles. He also reported that in the EBI or Educational Benchmark Survey, which is a comprehensive, comparative assessment instrument and analysis to support quality improvement efforts, U of T Mississauga is rated 4.8 out of 5. Regarding student consultation, Mr. McGrath reported that the Director of Residence, Dale Mullings met with members of the Student Housing Advisory Committee, which consists of elected student representatives, who provide input and feedback on matters pertaining to housing services, programming for students, resources and departmental budget priorities. The Committee reviewed the budget and operating plan and unanimously endorsed it. Regarding the proposed operating plan, residence fees are planned to increase at a combined rate of 5% for the 2010-2011 year. This will be achieved through a proportional increase model based on weighted revenues from the two specific areas of residence (undergraduate and family & graduate), as proposed by the UTM Student Housing Advisory Committee. Undergraduate residence fees are planned to increase 5.2% in 2010-2011, as compared to 5.5% in 2009-2010; rates are for the 8-month period from September to April. Family and graduate rental rates are planned to increase by 4.5% in 2010-2011 as compared to 3.25% in 2009-2010. In addition, graduate bachelor accommodations will also increase by 4.5%. Mr. McGrath concluded his report by noting that rates would remain competitive in comparison to off-campus accommodation. Housing demand for graduate students and students with families has seen a decline over recent years, while housing demand for undergraduates continues to increase. A more aggressive marketing plan for family and graduate housing has yielded some results, and the department will continue to work closely with the Office of the Vice-Dean, Graduate to explore opportunities for outreach to graduate students. Undergraduate housing although consistently strong, will be enhanced with a new reapplication process for returning students, improvements to the four-year guarantee for international students, and additional feeder school recruitment for residence in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar. It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Residence Operating Plan and Management Report for 2010-11 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval. (C. McGrath/G. Averill) In response to a member's question about the difference between the measures of EBI and NESSE, Mr. McGrath explained that the EBI is a more exhaustive measure and that NESSE does not drill down into as much detail as the EBI. Also in answer to a member's question, Mr. McGrath replied that approximately 25% of first year students are residence students. A member asked what the rationale was for the separate price increases and rates for graduate and undergraduate students. Mr. McGrath explained that the proportion of revenue is higher for undergraduate students and that separating the two groups allows residence operations to be more nimble and responsive to issues. In addition, undergraduate residences come with a lot more value added programming than graduate residences do. The motion was carried. iv. Conference Services - Gale Richter, Manager of Conference Services The conference services management report and budget is attached hereto as Appendix D. Revenues are expected to be $191,646 higher than the original budget, due to an increase in food and accommodation revenue. This additional revenue is due to a number of groups confirming their conference after the submission of the budget last year. The closing total fund balance is expected to be $330,069 at the end of 2009-10. The Conference Services Budget for 2010-11 reflects a financial plan predicated on a reduction in the number of confirmed conference groups for the summer. Although Conference Services is awaiting final word on bids for a number of promising new conference groups, the budget cannot assume the associated revenue.

As a result, total revenues are projected to be $827,289.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Conference Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2010-11 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval. (G. Richter/I. Orchard)

The motion was approved.

3) New Business:

a) Institute of Communication and Culture Renewal - Professor Gage Averill, Vice-Principal Academic and Dean

The proposal for the Institute of Communication and Culture renewal is attached hereto as Appendix E.

Professor Averill explained that the renewal ICC initiative grew out of a program review and external assessment of the ICC. He explained that university program reviews take place every five years and are often linked to a change in leadership. During the course of discussions with students, faculty and staff in related programs, it was found that the ICC was in need of a review out of cycle.

The Dean detailed the consultation process, which included a self-study and an external review as well as administrative and decanal responses, extensive consultations within and outside ICC units, and a Town Hall meeting that demonstrated a large degree of consensus.

This reorganization responds to a number of shortcomings in the current structure of the Institute of Communication and Culture. These include the structural problems caused by the confusion of roles and responsibilities of the ICC Director and those of the individual Unit Directors; the organizational complexity of the ICC and its reporting structures, as well as the inability to achieve any degree of joint governance. There has also been a significant gulf among the academic worldviews and cultures of CVMC (arts/humanities with a research focus), CCIT (a media/social sciences teaching unit) and BMC (with its science-based professional masters focus); the lack of faculty and student identification with the parent unit; and the disparate notions of what constitutes academic quality and productivity among the units, which has inhibited shared evaluation of progress through the ranks.

The reorganization of the Institute offers a solution to remedy these shortcomings while providing a more fertile environment for improving the teaching and research missions of the individual units and the University as a whole.

The Dean discussed higher order issues with the current alignment of units and programs. There were too many embedded units, with too many acronyms, for clarity, coherence, and profile. Most constituencies identify with the subordinate units, not with ICC as a whole. The existence of ICC masks a gulf in academic worldview and culture amongst the units. And finally, the current configuration is sub-optimal to attract the best students, create the best context for their education, and secure the most marketable degrees.

Therefore, it is proposed that the Institute of Communication and Culture (ICC) be disestablished and that there be established in its place a new Department of Visual Studies and a new Institute of Communication, Culture, and Information Technology (EDU:A). The new Department of Visual Studies will consist of the former Centre for Visual and Media Culture (CVMC, an informal centre rather than an approved University of Toronto centre), the Blackwood Gallery (a non-academic unit), and the Visual Resources Library (VRL). The new Institute will consist of the following former units: Communication, Culture and Information Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communication (PWC). Finally, Biomedical Communications (BMC) will be relocated to the Department of Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In terms of its curricular impacts and the delivery of academic programs, this reorganization will result in a series of program relocations. The Visual Culture and Communication (VCC) Specialist program currently delivered in CCIT, the Cinema Studies Minor currently housed in the Department of Language Studies, and CVMC's Art History and Art and Art History programs (jointly with Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, hereafter: Sheridan) will move to the new Department of Visual Studies. The academic programs in CCIT (jointly with Sheridan) as well as the Professional Writing and Communication (PWC) program will move to the new Institute. The Human Communication Technologies Specialist program in CCIT will be discontinued, as will the Health Science Communications/HSC major in CCIT. In addition, this restructuring will lead to the formation of a new joint undergraduate program offered through CCIT and administered by the Institute and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Finally, Biomedical Communications will move its undergraduate minor and graduate programs to the Department of Biology while maintaining their current relationship with the Institute of Medical Sciences at the graduate level.

The Dean discussed the intended outcomes of this reorganization, which include increased research capacity in digital media and other fields, improved collaboration with Sheridan, new and strengthened programs and a better profile, student recruitment, and overall program excellence. Regarding resource implications, the Dean noted that budgets for TA's and part-time or sessional instructors will remain the same and follow students. A human resource audit was done of the current structure and new plan, which recommended a 1.6 FTE increase at a projected cost of $123,000. In addition, the Dean explained that unused faculty lines, which were not able to be filled due to the current budgetary climate, will be erased and converted to dollars in a budget line item.

It was duly moved and seconded,
i) The Institute of Communication and Culture (ICC) at the University of Toronto Mississauga be disestablished and that there be established in its place a new Department of Visual Studies and a new Institute of Communication, Culture, and Information Technology (EDU:A), effective July 1, 2010, as detailed in the attached Proposal;
and THAT
ii) Biomedical Communications (BMC) be relocated to the Department of Biology at the University of Mississauga, effective July 1, 2010. (G. Averill / I. Orchard)

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

In response to a member's question, the Dean explained that the 12 retirements which have not been replaced because of budgetary issues will simply be removed from the spreadsheets, which will save the campus approximately $200,000 in transfers. He noted that no departments will lose retirement replacements, but that this is simply a budget spreadsheet issue.

The Vice-President and Principal added that new positions within this new structure are not intended to be funded from the 12 retiree positions mentioned.

A member asked whether this re-structuring will affect first year writing programs. The Dean explained that a major goal is to further involve the existing professional writing program in flowing writing skills development through the CCIT program; his goal is to develop a much more rigorous writing skills program throughout the campus.

The motion was carried.

The next meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee is scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2010.

The meeting adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

Chair ______________________________ Secretary_________________________________