Report: November 29, 2005


Erindale College Council

REPORT OF THE ACADEMIC AFFARS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

PRESENT: A. Wensley (in the Chair), C. Misak, D. Crocker, A. Lange, R. Green, R. McMillan, C. Evans, S. Munro, E. Levy, L. Seco, B. Katz, M. Lippincott, A. Mullin, G. White
REGRETS: M.A. Mavrinac, U. Krull, D. Schulze, M. Kasturi, R. Gerlai, A. Bhatti, J. McCurdy-Myers, C. Jones
In attendance: Shelley Hawrychuk (Library), Stuart Kamenetsky (Psychology), Judith Poë (Chemistry), Sophia Kirschner and Joan Griffin from the Office of the Registrar

Note: Copies of the curriculum reports summarized here were available on the Erindale College Council web site and are attached hereto as Appendices.

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. (I. Orchard/C. Misak)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting (October 25, 2005) were approved. (I. Orchard/A. Lange)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes.

There was no business arising from the minutes.

4. New Business

a) Creation of a Vice-Dean position at UTM – Cheryl Misak, Dean (Memorandum distributed to members is included herewith as Appendix B)

Professor Misak reported that when UTM was restructured, it was envisioned that in addition to the Dean and Department Chairs, UTM would eventually create associate or vice deans. Professor Misak reported that with the anticipated expansion of graduate programs at UTM and the devolution of much of the authority of the School of Graduate Studies to the division, it is necessary to enhance the function of the Dean’s office by creating the position of Vice-Dean, Graduate. This is in step with the University’s intention to permeate accountability for graduate matters throughout the university. In addition, Professor Misak noted that the creation of this position is also in response to requests from graduate students, who will now have the required support.

She explained that the Vice-Dean, Graduate, will report to the Dean and will serve on the Tri-Campus Decanal Committee for Arts & Science, along with the Deans at all three campuses and the Vice-Deans of the Faculty of Arts & Science. This new position will be effective on July 1, 2006.

It was duly moved and seconded,

THAT the creation of a Vice-Dean position, as outlined in the memorandum from the Vice-President and Principal and the Dean, dated November 21, 2005, be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval. (C. Misak/A. Mullin)

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s questions, the Dean explained that additional Vice Deans may be introduced in the future, but added that current position is set at 50%. The Dean added that the incumbent will be chosen by a search and that there would be a dotted line reporting function to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

The motion was called to question. The motion was approved.

b) Curriculum Reports:

Dean Misak explained that although the curriculum docoments state no resource implications, in fact any additional resources for curriculum changes receive approval through the Office of the Dean prior to the governance process.

i. Humanities – Professor Amy Mullin

Professor Mullin described some of the major changes brought forward in the Humanities Curriculum Report. She noted that with respect to program changes, the only major change was the deletion of the Canadian Studies specialist and its replacement with a minor. She explained that this program had almost disappeared in recent years, with fewer than 20 students enrolled in the specialist or major. It is planned that the program will be revitalized, strengthened and more extensively promoted.

In the other program changes category, Professor Mullin summarized less significant changes. The course for beginners in Italian would no longer be counted towards the specialist or major program. In Religion, minor revisions were made to delete defunct courses and clarify requirements for students. The History 101H5 course has been made mandatory for all Historical Studies Programs, (excluding Women’s and Gender Studies), integrating Classics, Religion and History. This course offers students the development of critical historical thinking skills, which is believed to be crucial for their intellectual advancement in Classics, Religion and History.

Professor Mullin highlighted new courses. She noted that both Latin and Sanskrit courses were planned in order to revitalize the Classics program. She also explained that what may look like many additional French, German and Italian courses, simply represent offering the same topic course so that students are able to submit their assignments and write their exams in English. New courses were also being introduced as part of the Canadian Studies program.

It was duly moved and seconded,

THAT the Humanities Curriculum report be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. (A. Mullin/L. Seco)

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

In response to a member’s comment about a large number of new half courses in French (13), Professor Mullin explained that these really represent a net gain of two full courses due to course work being submitted in either English or in French as previously noted. A member asked why in the higher years of the History major program there was a reduction in the number of geographic/thematic divisions from which students could select courses. Professor Mullin explained that this change more accurately reflected the way that the courses were divided, as the previous additional divisions were redundant. She added that this was a deliberate decision to make the selection criteria more global, and that members of the curriculum committee believed that this change would not disadvantage students.

The Motion was called to question. The Motion was carried.

ii. Sciences – Professor Angela Lange

Professor Lange described some of the major changes brought forward in the Sciences Curriculum She reported that three new programs were being introduced. The Information Security program is a new specialist program involving interdisciplinary work in the various strengths within the Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences and introduces a number of new courses.

She noted that a new specialist program in Ecology and Evolution was being introduced to replace the two specialists of Ecology and Biodiversity and Evolutionary Diversity. These latter two programs are merged to form the new Ecology and Evolution specialist with somewhat relaxed enrolment requirements to increase enrolment. The third new program of Behaviour, Genetics and Neurobiology is a specialist that replaces the cancelled Animal Behaviour program. It reflects current faculty interests and new developments in the field of Biological Basis of Behaviour. This new program also represents a vital link to The Genes, Environment, Nervous System and Behaviour (GENAB) group, which is comprised of approximately 20 researchers in Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry at UTM and the St. George campus.

Pointing to the ‘Other Changes’ section of the sciences curriculum report, Professor Lange stated that most of the changes represent renumbering of courses. Regarding the Forensic Science Anthropology specialist, she noted that there is a slight decrease in the number of required courses from 17 to 16.5. In the Biological Chemistry in specialist program a change is recommended that will limit enrolment. Students who sustain 70% average in second year chemistry courses and a CGP of 2.5 can then upgrade their program to the specialist program after the completion of 9 credits. This change allows the department to use limited resources especially in the third and fourth year laboratory courses for qualified and committed students.

Professor Lange explained that most new courses were a result of new hires. New Biophysics courses stem from UTM’s ‘Stepping Up’ document.

It was duly moved and seconded,

THAT the Sciences Curriculum report be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. (A. Lange / L. Seco)

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member commented that in the new programs section some grade requirements correspond to an actual GPA grade (77%), while the computer science course requirement, which is set at 65%, does not correspond to this same grade designation. Professor Lange commented that departments make these judgements in varying ways. Other members cited departments where no letter grades are assigned for the limited enrolment requirements, such as Psychology (set at 63%), Commerce and Economics.

The Motion was called to question. The Motion was approved.

iii. Social Sciences – Professor Graham White

Prof. White thanked Ms. Norma Dotto for her work in assembling the curriculum submission. He then highlighted the major changes in the social sciences curriculum submission.

Regarding new programs, Professor White reported that a new minor in Biomedical Communications, has the goal of expanding students’ abilities to communicate their areas of study both visually and verbally. The new Management specialist represents a re-packaging and new focus of existing courses. Similarly, courses in the new Financial Economics specialist have been assembled as a meaningful separate field of study with the goal of attracting students with a strong quantitative background. Professor White reported that there were no program deletions proposed, but a large number of program changes and new courses had been proposed as outlined in the report.

With respect to program changes, he noted that they were minor in scope, the majority relating to correcting calendar changes. He noted that new courses are being proposed in areas to respond to new hires and course deletions represent those courses that have not been offered in some time.

It was duly moved and seconded,

THAT the Social Sciences Curriculum report be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. (G. White / S. Munro)

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

The Dean reported that the above reports would be considered by the tri-campus dean’s group to make sure that there are no tri-campus conflicts.

A member commented that in the Biomedical Communications minor program, the description includes the word ‘art,’ which could be misleading. Another member pointed out that this reference only appears in the rationale section of the report and may not necessarily appear in the calendar description of the program.

A member questioned whether the 50% or more requirement for written and/or oral presentation work is appropriate in the note on writing intensive courses as part of the Professional Writing and Communications minor program and further questioned what was meant by writing intensive courses.

After a lengthy discussion on the appropriate percentage requirement and the definition of writing intensiveness, the Chair noted that there was no general consensus or proposed amendment as to how the note under question should be changed, and proposed that the Social Sciences Curriculum Report be considered for approval with the exclusion of the note on writing intensive courses in the Professional Writing and Communications minor. Further information regarding this issue would be requested from the program director and members of the Academic Affairs Committee would be consulted via email on the issue. Members agreed to consider the report with the above exclusion.

A member asked why the Professional Writing and Communications major was expanding its limited enrolment requirements. Professor White explained that due to the demand on enrolment into the program in addition to the necessity for small classes, limited enrolment requirements have been expanded in order to better deliver the curriculum and to ensure that majors within the program are better able acquire their courses. He noted that the program was already a limited enrolment program and that the current changes define more specifically how this would be achieved.

The motion was called to question, with the exclusion as noted above. The motion was carried.

5. Other Business

The Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management thanked all administrative assistants who adjusted to the new calendar and curriculum template. She distributed a handout containing the sessional dates for the upcoming academic year and noted that an all faculty / all staff email notice would be sent to inform the UTM community about these dates as well.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee will be on Tuesday, January 17, 2006.

7. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:32 p.m.

Secretary of Council _______________________ Chair_______________________

January 3, 2005

Secretary’s Note: In the Professional Writing and Communications Minor, the note on writing intensive courses existed in previous calendars and was entered into the 2005-06 social sciences curriculum report in error. Therefore no further action was required from the Committee.