Minutes: October 26, 2009


Report of the meeting of the ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, October 26, 2009, at 1:10 p.m. in Room 3129, South Building.

Present: A. Lange (in the Chair), I. Orchard, G. Averill, U. Krull, A. Wensley, M.A. Mavrinac, D. Crocker, T. Sanders, J. Poe, G. Kambourov, N. Copeland, E. Nikiema, S. Munro, L. Florence, A. Magen, B. Katz, S. Bernstein, S. Kamenetsky, J.E. Cruz, T. Bhandari, U. Farooq, J. McCurdy-Myers, R. DaSilva, G. Anderson
Regrets: K. Xiao, H. Gunz, L. Thomson
In attendance: M. Overton

1. Approval of minutes: The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

2. Election of Chair: Professor Angela Lange was acclaimed as Chair for a second term.

3. Welcome of new members. The Chair welcomed new and returning members and introductions were made.

4. Reports of Committees and Officers

a) Report from the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, Professor Gage Averill

The Dean noted that the university had broken ground on the Instructional Centre in early October. He commented on the Centre's planned facilities for interactive learning and teaching. He explained that the project would result in a new 13,000-square-metre facility with two fully renovated science teaching laboratories. It would also include 27 new classrooms equipped with today's technology and equipment. The new "smart classrooms" will be flexible, e-connected spaces that use digital and internet technology and tools such as iClickers that will allow professors to involve students in active learning. The centre will also include a computer lab and student study space.

Office of the Dean noted that a number of initiatives were receiving focus in his office, including academic integrity, a new web page for the vice-dean graduate office, new orientation materials and international exchange. He noted that the Snider lecture committee was reappointed and running again this year.

Professor Averill reported on the newly created vice-dean undergraduate position in the Office of the Dean. He noted that U of T Mississauga has been at a disadvantage for not having a dedicated staff member to undergraduate studies. This new hire will help pull together philosophies and integrative programs with respect to undergraduate studies around the university and will ensure that all relevant areas are working with each other. Responsibilities of the vice-dean undergraduate will include, working on the development of new programs, overseeing program excellence, auditing programs and assessing learning expectations. The vice-dean undergraduate will also periodically report to this committee and represent U of T Mississauga issues at tri-campus groups.

With respect to curricular changes, coming to this committee at its November meeting, the Dean noted there would be a small update to the Continuing Teacher Education Program (CTEP), with respect to the implementation of its internship program.
The Dean discussed another large change that would appear in front of the Academic Affairs Committee at its January meeting. The change will be with respect to the Institute of Communication and Culture, which underwent a review. This review found number of problems with ICC, including that none of its constituents identified with it as their umbrella institute. It was recommended that ICC be disestablished, and that a new Visual Studies department be created along with a new Institute of Communication and Culture. Professor Averill noted that the transformation of ICC will result in a number of changes of other component programs; some of these will be presented as part of the curriculum changes at the next meeting of this committee, but the larger proposal of ICC renewal will be ready for presentation early in the New Year.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

The Vice-President and Principal commented that when U of T Mississauga departments were created in 2003, it was assumed that changes to that structure would be made along the way. The above change represented the natural evolution of icc programs into more appropriate groupings.

b) Report from the Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management - Diane Crocker

Regarding the impact of changes in late withdrawals and deferred exams as well as special deferred exams, the new procedures for exams have gone through a full three sessions. The Office of the Registrar has seen extensive use of the new late withdrawal procedure. The office is revisiting the procedure by which students can request a LWD in order to process such requests in a more timely and effective manner. Previously, students utilizing the late withdrawal option were required to see an academic advisor prior to submitting their request to withdraw. This will no longer be necessary as an online advising procedure informing them of the consequences of the LWD has been developed. The new electronic process will require students to read about the impact that late withdrawal can have on their academic status and indicate their understanding electronically. The online calendar will be amended to describe this new procedure. Meanwhile, the one-on-one advising procedure described in the calendar will remain be available to those students who want it.

In terms of deferred exams, in the past if a student missed a final exam in April, they would write the deferred exam in late August. A new electronic procedure which has been in effect for two sessions now, allows a student who misses an April final exam, to write the deferred exam immediately following the main exam period during the first two weeks of May. The timelines for summer deferred exams have also been tightened up with this new practice. This practice has produced very positive results: the no-show rate for students at deferred exams has been cut in half. Furthermore students in their graduating year were able to write and graduate, while students trying to get into subject posts or into courses with prerequisites were also able to do so. The Office of the Registrar is conducting further research as to the success rate of students based on the new procedure. Ms. Crocker thanked instructors for the cooperation in producing deferred exams at the same time as regular exams.

Another change in deferred exam policy is that "further deferred" exams are no longer scheduled at special times/sessions. If a student is seriously ill and misses a deferred exam, he or she is now required to petition for a "further deferred" exam, which can only be written the next time the course is offered. This permits them time to audit the course and improve their chances of success.

Ms. Crocker next asked the committee to consider her proposal to forgo hardcopy printing of the academic calendar and only produce an online version. Ms. Crocker noted that many boxes of the calendar are left over each year, representing a huge waste of paper. She added that all online versions of the calendar are archived. The Chair pointed out that the committee does not have to approve such an administrative change, but opened the floor to questions and feedback from members.

In response to a member's question, Ms. Crocker explained that the change was not about saving money, which would be negligible, but about eliminating wasted paper.

A member remarked on her preference for using a hardcopy version of the academic calendar and noted that one would have to know the online content in order to use it most effectively.

Ms. Crocker responded that her office provides training sessions on how to use the online calendar to new students. In addition, every fall, similar sessions are offered to faculty and staff.

It was agreed that Ms. Crocker would return to this committee with some modifications to her original proposal, perhaps offering a department by department or section by section printing option of the on-line calendar. In the meantime, she invited members of the committee to communicate with their respective departments and send her feedback on this issue before the next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee.

Ms. Crocker continued her report with a presentation on 2009 enrolment counts.

Finalized real counts would not be available until November 15, 2009, but current total headcount was just over 11,070 students. Most of these students were fulltime.
She noted that the current actual and the numbers that were estimated for budget planning were different. She pointed out that international student numbers were very strong.

With respect to current registration status, UTM students taking courses at UTM were a11070, with returning students at 8104 and new students at 2966.

She also reported that UTM had a strong retention rate - year one to year two - third in Ontario at over 91%.

With respect to Ontario High School registrant demographics, most UTM students originate from Mississauga and Brampton High Schools. Etobicoke is a growing catchment area as well. The top 20 originating High Schools were also listed, with Columbia International from Hamilton at the top with 101 students, followed by St. Francis Xavier from Mississauga with 68 students.

Ms. Crocker gave a breakdown of registrants by subject posts. The largest intake was for Social Sciences at 433, followed by Commerce at 283, Life Sciences at 264 and Humanities at 221. Admittance averages were highest in Commerce and Life Science and the Theatre and Drama program (with 88% as the cutoff mark).

She also reported that we had 511 new international students. Most of these come to us directly from Ontario high schools with a small number coming from home country schools including China (16), the United Arab Emirates (15) and the United States (14). The full PowerPoint presentation on enrollment figures given by Ms. Crocker is attached hereto.

Ms. Crocker emphasized that significant effort was made to withdraw admission offers in August if students did not meet the conditions of their offers of admission.

The Registrar continued her report by noting that the Faculty and Staff Application available on the Office of the Registrar website featured the faculty guide for new instructors as well as the Office of the Registrar's Annual Report. Faculty and staff could log in with their UTORid's to access this site. She noted that the T-card office was continuing to take new student photos for the photo class list and added that most students were willing to have their pictures included in the photo class list.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member commented that the information available to instructors contains student addresses, which is unnecessary and may be a privacy issue. The Registrar promised to look into this.

Ms. Crocker added that the future sessional dates and the December exam schedule could also be found in the Resources section of the Faculty and Staff Application website.
There was no new business. The next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee would be on November 23, 2009, at 1:10 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.

Angela Lange________________________ Cindy Ferencz Hammond_____________________

Chair Director, Governance