The UTSC Academic Affairs Committee and the Campus Affairs Committee meetings were held on February 9 and February 10, respectively. 

During the Campus Affairs Committee meeting, UTSC Vice-Principal Academic & Dean William Gough gave an update on the winter semester and the council approved an array of minor fee changes. The Academic Affairs Committee also discussed and approved a new graduate program — Master of Science in Environmental Science. 

Upcoming changes and plans

In his report, Gough confirmed that 30 per cent of courses returned to in-person teaching during the week of February 7. Many of the courses that remained online will shift to an in-person format following reading week on February 28.

Courses that began online in the fall will continue to be delivered online — especially those classes with larger enrolments — meaning that around 20 per cent of courses will remain online for the entirety of the winter semester.

The UTSC Campus Affairs Committee also changed compulsory non-academic incidental fees for UTSC student societies at its meeting on February 10. The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) approved an increase in total semester fees of 5.2 per cent for both full- and part-time students at its most recent board meeting, which was additionally approved by the UTSC Campus Council. 

UTSC Student Experience and Wellbeing fees will decrease by $1.79 for full-time students, and $0.36 for part-time students. As a result, the total fees paid by full-time and part-time students respectively will be $420.72 and $84.14.

Modifications to graduate programs

UTSC has created a new Master of Science program in environmental science. This will mean that the number of locally administered graduate programs at UTSC will increase from five to six. 

The Master of Environmental Science degree that is already offered to students differs from the new program discussed during the meeting, in that the new program will “address the needs of high-achieving students seeking a more intensive research-focused master’s degree.”

“The program that is being presented today really fills the gap in providing a very research-intensive program, which will provide a foundation… for the PhD program,” said Mary Silcox, vice-dean graduate and postdoctoral studies. 

The program will span over 16 months in order to maximize research time. “A lot of environmental science research has to happen outside and Canada is cold,” Silcox explained. “So in order to maximize the chances that students can do potentially two field periods if they need to, we are having a May start.”

Furthermore, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is currently necessary for both the MA and PhD programs in counselling and clinical psychology, will be removed as a requirement. According to the UTSC administration, there are various accessibility concerns regarding the additional financial burden it places on applicants who have to prepare and register to take the GRE. 

“The reasons around that really have to do with desire for increasing accessibility to graduate studies,” Silcox said.