Minutes: January 18, 2010

MINUTES of the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council meeting held on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 1:10 p.m. in Room 3129, South Building.

Present: A. Lange (in the Chair), I. Orchard, G. Averill, A. Wensley, U. Krull, M.A. Mavrinac, D. Crocker, D. Schulze, G. Kambourov, N. Copeland, E. Nikiema, L. Florence, A. Magen, G. Rattan, S. Bernstein, T. Bhandari, J. Cruz, K. Poloz
Regrets: T. Sanders, A. Bendlin, S. Kamenetsky, J. Fletcher, G. Anderson
In attendance: Louis Kaplan

1. Minutes of the previous meeting (November 23, 2009)

The minutes were approved as they stand.

2. Reports of Committees and Officers

a) Update from the Registrar and Director of Enrollment Management on the Curriculum template - Diane Crocker

Ms. Crocker reported that a survey had been done to determine whether or not to keep printing a hardcopy calendar. It was found that very few primary feeder schools used the hardcopy calendar. However, after consulting students, it was determined that sufficient numbers still used the printed calendar to warrant their continued printing and availability to all new students. The online calendar would continue to be available. Ms. Crocker also reported that not circulating printed calendars to High Schools would save $5000.

The Registrar reported that stemming from a discussion at a meeting of this committee last fall, there was a suggestion that a group look at a way to make the calendar/curriculum template more user friendly. This meeting had now taken place and in addition, staff at the Office of the Registrar had also examined correcting some underlying programming problems. It was found that some of the rules governing the use of the template, which were put in place in 2003, were causing problems, such that programs were distributed to the wrong curriculum committee template. Also, no mandatory requirement existed, which required those entering information to determine whether data should go into the humanities, sciences or social sciences curriculum template. Making this field a requirement should clarify some of the problems identified with the template. Finally, Ms. Crocker reported that when a very large paragraph had a very small change in the template, there was no clearly apparent indication of what that change was, so next year's template will feature either a font change, a colour change or some other clearly visible indication of the change in the "after" section of the repeated text.

The Registrar noted that once the changes are made, a users' group will be invited to give feedback on the changes implemented, which should be completed by August of 2010.

The Chair asked members to contact the Registrar if they had any suggestions for improving the curriculum template.

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 A.

Professor Averill reported that this proposal had already been approved at a recent meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee.

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.

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.

The Vice-President and Principal commented that this renewal represented a natural evolution; when the department and institute were created in 2003 it was always envisioned that it would be revisited and renewed. He added his support for the proposed changes.

The motion carried.

b) Library Annual Review - Mary Ann Mavrinac, Chief Librarian

The Chief Librarian discussed the Library Annual Review, which is attached hereto as Appendix B and can be accessed at the following link: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/library/review2009/ .

She noted that the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre (HMALC), is in its third year and students continue to fill its spaces. In response, there has been a focus to continually improve library spaces with an eye to creating the best possible learning environment. She noted that the Library's multi-faceted set of programs and the physical changes to the HMALC - under the umbrella of "Creating a Positive Learning Environment" - were recognized by the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries (CACUL). In May, the Library received the CACUL Innovation Achievement Award.

The section Refining Our Learning Spaces, highlights the enclosure of the Marco Muzzo Atrium with large floor-to-ceiling glass panels. This change has minimized sound filtering into the quiet collaborative study zone on the Library's third level, thereby enhancing the learning environment. The enclosure has also enabled greater use of the Marco Muzzo Atrium for conversation-friendly activities and will accommodate the addition of casual seating outside Starbucks Café.

Under the section of Enhancing Teaching Excellence, Ms. Mavrinac talked about how new technologies have brought about new ways of creating and sharing knowledge, and how the Library aspires to be at the forefront of these advances. She noted that collaborations with the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre and with faculty across disciplines has resulted in the development of curriculum and techniques and technologies that are effective and relevant and that engage students. For example, many U of T Mississauga faculty are now using the iClicker classroom response system as part of their teaching technique.

Under the section of the review titled Leading Learning, the Chief Librarian discussed the creation of the role of Undergraduate Experience and Assessment Librarian. Through the rezONE Residence Transition Program for First Year Students, this librarian teamed up with student rezPALs (senior student academic leaders in residence) to bring first-year residence students into the Library for subject-specific sessions with librarians, showcasing the Library's resources and connecting students with its services and staff. Also under this section, the review draws attention to the work of Science Liaison Librarian Joanna Szurmak and Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Andrew Petersen who have teamed up to highlight the role of information literacy in learning. They are creating the Learning Outcomes Assessment Matrix (LOAM), a software tool that enables instructors to identify connections between the learning outcomes of their courses and the information literacy skills students require to achieve them.

The Chief Librarian invited members of the Academic Affairs Committee to access the Library's Annual Review for more detail on these and other innovative library initiatives.

The next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee is scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2010.

The meeting adjourned at 2 p.m.

Chair ______________________________ Secretary _____________________________