Minutes: November 5, 2008

Minutes of the ERINDALE COLLEGE COUNCIL meeting held on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at 3:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, South Building

Present: R. Beck; M. Jalland; G. Morris; I. Still; S. Laughton; M. Thuna; I. Whyte; S. Senese; H. Schepmyer; W. Edgar; J. Delves; S. McCarthy; A. Burnett; A. Vyas; G. Richter; D. Mullings; K. Duncliffe; P. Goldsmith; J. Stirling; S. Speller; H. Hines; J. Gillies; A. Birkenbergs; L. Gaspini; A. Graham; T. Luke-Gervais; K. Horvath; I. Acharya; A. Hossain; I. Karnik; A. Wensley; S. Al-Abdul-Wahid; D. Kreuger; I. Orchard; G. Averill; M. Mavrinac; M. Overton; S. Short; A. Lange; E. Nikiema; U. Krull; L. Wilson-Pauwells; N. Collins; R. Reisz; J. Lim; H. Gunz; K. Poloz; R. Da Silva;

Regrets: K. Duncliffe; L. Oliver; D. Raffman; C. Boyd; O. Hafez; C. Cranford; L. MacDowell; M. Lord; J.P. Paluzzi; A. Iwaniw; A. Modh; A. Madhavji;

Guests: P. Ng; A. Kongats; M. Vincent; C. Mejia; D. Iafrate; S. Watson; O. Wawryshyn; S. Prior; J. Summers; M. Price;

The Chair welcomed the members to the meeting and acknowledged that many undergraduate student members could not attend due to the Student Day of Action.

1. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting (October 2, 2008)
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. (S. Al-Abdul-Wahid, I. Orchard)

2. Reports of Standing Committees

a) Resource Planning & Priorities Committee

Professor Reisz said that at the meeting on October 20, the members received three reports.

The first was from Professor Nick Collins, the Chair of the Grounds Monitoring Subcommittee. This subcommittee has two purposes, first to monitor and advise about Grounds-related issues and second to naturalize the areas of the campus that aren’t designated as maintained lawns. A number of special projects have been developed through the subcommittee. One is the ongoing monitoring of the Jefferson salamander population on campus, which is a threatened species. Another project is the rehabilitation of the old fields. These fields have become overgrown with invasive species, and it was for this reason that the subcommittee planned the controlled burn last year. The committee expects that there will be a need for controlled burns every 5 to 10 years. Professor Collins reported the important role that the community takes in assisting the subcommittee with their mission, and specifically noted the involvement of Evergreen with tree and shrub planting events and the summer leadership camp. There is also substantial academic involvement and interest in the grounds at UTM, and Professor Collins expects that this activity will increase over time.

Professor Reisz reported that Professor Scott Munro, the Chair of the Parking & Transportation Subcommittee, also provided an update on that subcommittee. Professor Munro explained that Phase 3 of the parking plan is in effect, which means UTM is aiming to balance parking and student growth, accommodate demand without increasing the parking footprint, and reduce overall parking spaces per capita to about 20%. The Parking & Transportation subcommittee also does substantial work to find and encourage alternate options for students, staff and faculty to have to travel to the campus. For instance, the subcommittee works actively with Mississauga Transit to increase public transportation traffic on campus.

Professor Reisz also reported that the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee received a report from Len Paris about the newly formed Signage Committee. Mr. Paris had originally planned to present to the Council, but in his absence, Mark Overton, a member of the Signage Committee, spoke on his behalf.

Mr. Overton reported that the signage committee is a new ad hoc committee that has been formed in response to the need for consistent, clear signage on campus. Today many buildings have poor identifying signage, or no signage at all. Interior way-finding maps and signs are also inconsistent, inaccurate, and generally unhelpful. Parking lots and roads on campus are also difficult to identify, particularly for visitors to the campus. Len Paris has invited 16 people to participate on the committee, including undergraduate and graduate students, and representatives from conference services, residence, the library, athletics, and many other areas. The mandate of this committee is to review the present signage on campus and to make recommendations to the Vice-President & Principal on how to move forward in making this campus easier to navigate with consistent and clear signs and maps. To that end, a number of working subcommittees have been established.

In response to questions from members, Mr. Overton confirmed that the parking office is represented in the committee; that the placement of new signage so as not to create sightline barriers is being considered; and that signs of historical interest will be considered to be maintained, if appropriate.

b) Academic Affairs Committee: Report of the October 28, 2008 meeting – Angela Lange

Professor Lange reported that at the October 28 meeting, the members heard reports from the Registrar’s Office and the Research Affairs Office.

Diane Crocker, the Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management, provided an update. She reported that there are currently 10,650 students (full-time & part-time undergraduates) enrolled at U of T Mississauga, which exceeds enrolment target by 200. 400 students are expected to graduate at the Fall convocation, which is U of T Mississauga’s largest November convocation. The Fall campus day on October 26 was a tremendous success, with more than 1,250 registered participants, and many others who just showed up. Her office has also been busy working on a course syllabus project, and now 100% of course instructors have provided information to allow for all course syllabi to be accessible online. In addition, SEAT—the attendance tracking system for exams—has also been implemented and is working effectively. The main counter of the Office of the Registrar has been renovated in order to offer privacy for the increased one-on-one advising that staff members provide. The Registrar described the problems regarding the current regulations with deferred April exams, and they are proposing having deferred exams written immediately after the regular April exam period, as opposed to August. Professor Lange also noted that the Registrar’s Annual Report is available online:

Devin Kreuger, Director, Research Affairs & Acting Director, Governance, presented the Annual Research Report, which includes overviews of the funding from the Tri-Councils (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), infrastructure programs (such as CFI, ORF and CRC), internal research funding, and other sources, such as foundations and companies. The report notes that U of T Mississauga research funding exceeded $10 million for the second time in the campus’s history in 2007-08. Professor Lange also noted that the full research report is available online:


c) Computing Committee: Report of the October 22, 2008 meeting—Anthony Wensley on behalf of Joe Lim

Mr. Joe Lim said that at the meeting on October 22, the members received reports from Ms. Simone Laughton about BlackBoard and the Learning Technology Team, and from Mr. Cesar Mejia with an update from the Office of the Registrar.

Firstly, Simone Laughton from HMALC provided an update on Blackboard and the Learning Technology Team. With regard to BlackBoard, there were five new tools introduced in September: UT Manage Groups, Gradebook by Groups, UT Manage Users, EduBlogger and Library Resource. Blackboard’s technical performance has improved since last year, and there has been better coordination to enable faculty and students to have access to their courses earlier (e.g., HRIS, ROSI). Communication plans and training details were presented at the University of Toronto Mississauga Departmental Chairs meeting that was held May 6, 2008. These include Blackboard Departmental Single Point of Contacts, U of T Mississauga’s Library IT Blackboard communication plan, and Faculty Blackboard training plan. These are all geared to enhancing communications, student learning, research and blackboard functionalities. Ms. Laughton also reported on the Learning Technology Team, which is an informal group that assembles to discuss IT issues, and which has covered such topics as MediaGenerator, ePresence, Integrate Projects and i>clickers. They are currently focusing on digital/video/audio/image issues; the usage, storage and creation, and how they can improve it. The Learning Technology Team, along with input from Computing Services, Microelectronics, and other participants, has prepared Digital Video, Digital Audio and Digital Image surveys. The surveys will target instructors who currently use, create, and store digital video, digital audio, and digital images, and will be posted in the near future to collect data regarding instructor requirements.

Next, Mr. Cesar Mejia provided an overview about new tools being used by students, faculty and staff, including information on: the Student Web CGPA application, the Photo Class List tool, the SEAT system, the Prerequisite Checking application and the Course Syllabus Information system.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Lim clarified that the photo class list application uses photos taken at the T-Card office, where two pictures are taken—one for the T-Card and one for the photo class list. The second photo is optional, but many first year students have been agreeing to participate in this initiative. Course instructors can find access to this initiative via the Registrar’s website.

3. Vice President and Principal’s Report

Professor Ian Orchard began his report by remarking that considerable press has been generated recently about how stock market issues are affecting universities. U of T has issued an announcement reiterating that U of T’s pension plan is a defined benefit plan, and is guaranteed by law and highly regulated, so it is not something that staff or faculty should be concerned about. U of T’s endowment has indeed lost value, and is down about 9%, but Professor Orchard indicated that the endowment is managed using a long-term strategy, so sudden downturns can be weathered. U of T Mississauga’s donations have tended to be expendable—used for capital projects, for instance—which means our campus relies less heavily on endowment revenue for operating expenses. U of T’s guaranteed policy for need-based student financial support is still in place, so no decreases will be made.

Professor Orchard next reiterated Professor Lange’s encouragement that members should peruse the annual reports prepared by the Office of the Registrar and the Research Affairs Office.

Finally, Professor Orchard informed the members that the T2030 framework document had been approved by Governing Council, and encouraged members to review that document to discover the direction U of T will be taking in the future. The framework document looks quite favourable for U of T Mississauga, and addresses some of our ambitions. For example, one of the outcomes of T2030 has been a task force looking at governance, and the first report on governance was recently presented to Governing Council. That report examines governance across all three campuses. It considers not only refinements of practice, but also the delegation of authority to committees, the administration, and to divisional councils, and to the tri-campus governance model. Professor Orchard expressed optimism that issues arising from the T2030 exercise bode well for U of T Mississauga over the near and distant future.

4. New Business

a) Overview of the Health Sciences Complex

Alar Kongats reported to the Council that his firm was retained about a year ago, almost to the day, to start work on this new building. The building site is at the north east quadrant on campus, outside Lot 9, at north end of south building, where portables are currently situated. When beginning the plan for this building, he also looked at how this building would fit into the campus master plan, which was developed a number of years ago. The building has been designed to feel a part of the landscape, and the architect looked at how to keep and rejuvenate existing naturalized areas around the new building.

His team examined and considered three configurations for the building, but ultimately settled on the configuration that resembles a series of books stacked upon one another. Each book, or floor, has a different space area, dictated by the program housed on that floor. It was the architect’s goal to keep things together on floors that belong together. Each floor has an outdoor terrace or green roof, which reinforces the immersion in the landscape. The height of the building will not obstruct views from existing buildings. Access to light was assessed with shadow drawings, particularly for faculty offices.

The first floor is dominated primarily by classrooms dedicated to video-conferencing. The second floor is dedicated to the Medical Academy offices and further teaching spaces. The third floor will be the home for the Biomedical Communications program, the Office of the Vice-Principal Research, and to other faculty offices. Finally, the fourth floor will house a number of research laboratories, faculty offices, and graduate student offices, plus an anatomy laboratory for the Medical Academy.

Mr. Kongats informed the Council that the project is out for tender right now, and he expects construction to start shortly, before the holiday season. It is, so far, on track to be completed for September 2010. He also mentioned that the building will be LEED certified Silver, and may achieve Gold.

In response to a question from the floor, Mr. Kongats indicated that there will be an enclosed connection between the third floor of the new building and the fourth floor of the South Building. There will also be a covered ground-floor connection very similar in style to the existing connection between the South Building and the CCT building.

In response to a question with respect to student spaces, Mr. Kongats explained that the first two floors include substantial spaces for students. The third and fourth floors are primarily offices, and will not see as much undergraduate student traffic.

b) Overview of the South Building Phase I Renovation

Mr. Peter Ng explained that his firm has been retained to oversee the first renovation of the South Building in 37 years—the renovation of the old library space. He is undertaking this project with respect to the vision of the next phases of renovations that are to follow. To that end, his firm is designing the renovation to meet the Phase 1 program, but with Phase 2 and 3 in mind, so that when those renovations begin, they ought to integrate easily with this current renovation.

The Phase 1 renovation is limited to the third floor of the South Building’s old library space. The plan is to enhancing the main corridor by adding features, and by giving frontage to many departments to be housed in the new space, including Geography & Sociology. One objective is to maximize daylight opportunities into the large floor plate, so the plan incorporates skylights into many areas. Along the south side of the renovation space will be the new offices for the Dean and the Principal.

Mr. Ng indicated that the project is aiming for LEED certified Silver or Gold, and to that end many natural products, such as bamboo plywood, will be used to finish the space. He expects the project will go to tender by the end of November, and that construction will begin in January. They are aiming for completion by December 2009.

5. Announcements

The Chair announced that the Curriculum information session has been scheduled for Friday November 14th at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

6. Date of Next Meeting—Thursday December 11th, 2008.

7. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:47 p.m. (I. Orchard, S. McCarthy)