Minutes: October 29, 2008

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING OF ERINDALE COLLEGE COUNCIL, held on Wednesday October 29th, 2008 at 1:00 P.M. in room 3129, South Building.

Present: I. Orchard, A. Lange, R. Reisz, D. Kreuger, A. Wensley (in the Chair), J. Lim

The Executive Committee met to set the agenda for the November 5th, 2008 meeting of Erindale College Council.  The Chair of each standing committee summarized recent business and identified items for possible inclusion on the next ECC agenda.

The Resource Planning and Priorities Committee met on October 20. Professor Reisz said that at the meeting 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 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. Lastly, Professor Reisz reported that the Committee received a report from Len Paris about the newly formed Signage Committee, a new ad hoc committee that has been formed in response to the need for consistent, clear signage on 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.

On behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee, 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. Lastly, 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.

Chief Information Officer Joe Lim reported that at the Computing Committee 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.

The Vice-President and Principal noted that he would provide a brief report to Council.

The Chair proceeded to discuss the agenda of the November 5, 2008 meeting of Council.  As agreed above, the Council meeting agenda would feature the reports from the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, and the Vice-President & Principal.

The Acting Director, Governance, Devin Kreuger, suggested that under New Business it would be nice to have the architects of the Health Sciences Complex and the Phase 1 Renovation of the South Building present their plans to ECC. The Executive Committee agreed.

The Executive Committee meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m. (R. Reisz / I. Orchard)