UTM’s Campus Affairs Committee (CAC) and Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) met on February 8 and 9, respectively. At the Campus Affairs meeting, attendees discussed increases in student service fees. Members of the AAC approved a new minor in Game Studies and discussed the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in graded assignments.

AI tools and graded assignments

Amrita Daniere, interim vice-principal, academic and dean, discussed the university’s policy on the use of AI. According to Daniere, faculty should explicitly remind students that the university prohibits them from using AI tools such as ChatGPT in graded assignments. However, she explained that the university won’t be able to detect all AI use “no matter how rapidly we develop tools to detect these strategies [and] technologies.” As such, Daniere urged faculty to avoid promising that they will catch students who use AI.

Proposed fee increases

Mark Overton, dean of student affairs and assistant principal, student services, presented the administration’s proposed student fee increases and outlined what occurred at the Quality Service to Students (QSS) meeting held on January 12. The QSS is a council composed of a variety of students and administrators who work toward improving UTM student experiences. At the QSS meeting, the administration proposed increasing the Health Services fee from $60.15 to $62.16 for full-time students, and from $12.03 to $12.43 for part-time students. They also asked the QSS to approve increasing the Recreation & Athletics service fee from $205.88 to $211.68, and from $41.18 to $42.34 for part-time students. Finally, the administration proposed increasing the Student Services Fee from $214.67 to $245.96 for full-time students, and from $42.93 to $49.19 for part-time students. 

The QSS voted against all of the proposed increases. However, the CAC voted in favour, with three members abstaining and none opposed, so the motion passed. 

The CAC also approved increases to the University of Toronto Mississauga Association of Graduate Students’ (UTMAGS) U-Pass fees, bringing the total fees that UTMAGS charges UTM graduate students to $260.58 per session. They also voted to approve increasing the fees charged to UTMSU and Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM) students. 

Previously the UTMAGS students paid $236.89 and after the fee increase will pay $260.58. For the fall and winter semesters, the UTMSU fee will come to $441.76 from $406.84 per session for full-time students and $171.27 from $157.94 for part-time students, while MAM students will pay UTMSU fees of up to $539.51 per session. These fees will take effect at the start of the fall 2023 session. 

Game Studies minor

Recently, the UTM library acquired a collection of almost 14,000 video games, hundreds of consoles and systems, and thousands of game-related periodicals. Larry Switzky, an associate professor in the Department of English and Drama, explained to the AAC that this is one of the largest known collections in the world.

Switzky presented the vote asking the AAC to approve a new freestanding minor in Game Studies given the growing popularity of existing courses on digital games and narrative. 

Andreas Bendlin, associate professor and vice dean, academic experience, asked what pathways the minor would offer students after they graduate. In response, Switsky said that the minor would prepare students for a growing number of masters programs offered by other universities such as the University of Waterloo and Brock University.

The committee passed the motion to approve the new minor. The UTM Department of English and Drama will start offering the Game Studies minor in September 2023.