Erindale College Council

REPORT OF THE ACADEMIC AFFARS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.

Erindale College Council

PRESENT: S. Aster (in the Chair), U. Krull, M.A. Mavrinac, D. Crocker, A. Lange, K. Blankstein, Y. Karshon, N. Copeland, M. Lord, M. Glanzberg, S. Munro, R. Day, B. Thompson, M. Lobo, J. McCurdy-Myers, M. Rennie, G. Anderson
REGRETS: I. Orchard, R. McMillan, T. Rogers, J. Kervin

1. Adoption of the Agenda
The Agenda was approved. ( B. Thompson / M. Rennie )

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The report of the previous meeting was approved. (D. Crocker / S. Munro)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes
There was no business arising from the minutes.

4. New Business

The Chair reminded members that at its September meeting, the Academic Affairs Committee approved the creation of a subcommittee to revise and update the terms of reference of the Academic Appeals Board. He invited Professor Anderson, Chair of the Academic Appeals Board to present the findings of the subcommittee.

a) Academic Appeals Board terms of reference – Gordon Anderson

Professor Anderson explained that the UTM Academic Appeals Board was operating under the Faculty of Arts & Science terms of reference and much of the work of the subcommittee was in updating the terms of reference to reflect UTM’s withdrawal from the Faculty and other changes relating to the recent departmental restructuring. The revised terms of reference are based on that of the Governing Council’s Academic Appeals Committee and reflect the current practices of the UTM Board. Professor Anderson reported that the membership of the Board was expanded to create a pool of faculty members comprised of one faculty member from each department. He stressed the importance of continuity of membership, and stated that each member would serve three years, if possible.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Academic Affairs Committee approve the terms of reference of the Academic Appeals Board, attached hereto as Appendix “A”. (G. Anderson / A. Lange )

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked about the feasibility of the Board requiring information not previously seen by the Committee on Standing (COS) from the appellant before they are allowed a hearing by the Appeals Board. Professor Anderson explained that the Board normally hears all appeals that fit within its terms of reference, since it is the first venue at which the appellant has the opportunity to present their case in person. The member suggested that requiring the appellant to provide new information would reduce the number of frivolous appeals.

Another member pointed out that section 7 of the terms of reference addresses the problem of frivolous appeals by stipulating that the Board has the right to refuse to give formal hearing to an appeal on the ground that the appeal is not within its jurisdiction. The member added that the Office of the Registrar advises students before they appeal, which prevents some frivolous appeals but that the University should not prevent students from having an opportunity to appeal to a higher body.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the following amendment be added to the end of section 7 of the proposed Academic Appeals Board terms of reference: “or that the appellant has provided no new information or evidence of procedural irregularity.” (B. Thompson / K. Blankstein)

In response to a member’s question, Professor Anderson explained the Board hears some frivolous petitions, but they are yet not unmanageable in number. Another member pointed out that the Committee on Standing considers cases based on written information, whereas the Academic Appeals Board is a forum at which the appellant can verbally present their case. The member commented that students might not be able to communicate their case as well in writing as in person and should not be denied this opportunity. Discussion continued on the process that would need to be established to evaluate the validity of appeals. Members generally agreed that adding another administrative layer to the structure would not benefit the appeals process.

The amended motion was called to question. The motion was defeated.

The main motion was called to question. The motion was carried.

Professor Anderson expressed his gratitude to members of the working group who worked on the revision of the Academic Appeals Board terms of reference: Diane Crocker, Stuart Kamenetsky and Cindy Ferencz Hammond.

b) Report from the Library subcommittee – Mary Ann Mavrinac

The Chair invited Ms. Mavrinac to report on the work of the Library sub-committee.

Ms. Mavrinac presented the report of the Chair of the Library sub-committee, Professor Graham White. She reported that the terms of reference and membership of the sub-committee was revised at the start of the 2002-03 academic year. She explained that while not a decision-making body, the sub-committee has emerged as a useful vehicle for information exchange, both advising the Chief Librarian and her staff as to the views and concerns of students and faculty and advising the UTM community of the Library’s plans, hopes and concerns. She distributed the sub-committee’s formal terms of reference to members. Some of the topics recently considered by the sub-committee are extended hours, collections management, the Library website, the development of GIS data capacity, training in academic technology and the “Introduction to Scholarly Research” course. Members of the sub-committee have also been interested in how the Library plans to handle the enrolment growth with its existing facilities until the new Academic Learning Centre is completed.
Ms. Mavrinac noted that there has been great participation and beneficial exchange between members of the sub-committee, often resulting in valuable input on new Library initiatives. For example, she noted that because of feedback from members, the Library decided to take a more cautious approach to resource allocation and slow the distribution of instructional technology programs to students.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member pointed out that in the membership section of the terms of reference, Associate Deans are still listed as nominating the faculty members for the Committee. Ms. Mavrinac explained that in practice the Vice-President and Principal performs this function. She added that at the next meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee, she would present the revised terms of reference to reflect this change.

The Chair thanked Ms. Mavrinac for her report.

5. Other Business

There was no other business.

6. Next Meeting
The Chair noted that the Committee would resume its work at the start of the next governance cycle in the Fall of 2004. He thanked members for their input throughout the academic year.

The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.

Secretary of Council______________________ Chair _________________________
April 27, 2004