During a March 22 meeting, the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) recommended that UTSC introduce a program allowing students to retake past courses for a higher grade, which the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) has been lobbying for this academic year. The UTM Campus Affairs Committee met the same day to review UTM’s Campus Operating Budget for the 2023–2024 school year. The budget indicates that UTM plans to increase international student enrollment to help resolve the campus’s budgetary challenges. 

UTSC Academic Affairs Committee 

Professor Katherine Larson, vice-dean teaching, learning and undergraduate programs at UTSC, presented a proposal to amend section 6C.4 of the Undergraduate Academic Calendar Regulations. The amendment would introduce a “Second Attempt for Credit” (SAC) policy, by which UTSC students could retake up to 1.0 credits from courses they’ve passed. In such cases, a student’s first attempt at the course would be marked as “Extra” on their transcript and would not count towards their CGPA. The amendment would give students the opportunity to receive a higher grade, allowing them to apply for programs or take further courses that require attainment of a certain grade. 

The proposal follows the Faculty of Arts & Science and UTM’s existing SAC policies. At the meeting, the SCSU Vice-President Academics and University Affairs Amrith David told the board, “I really believe that this policy is a step towards removing academic barriers for students.” 

The UTSC AAC passed a motion recommending the proposed changes. If the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs approves the proposal at their April 13 meeting, the changes will go into effect in the upcoming fall semester. 

Additionally, the Department of Language Studies proposed classifying the specialist and specialist co-op in psycholinguistics as an Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc) degree instead of Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA) to better reflect the program’s contents. The AAC approved the change, which will go into effect in September 2024. Once the HBSc becomes available, students currently enrolled in the HBA will have the opportunity to switch to the HBSc. New students will no longer be able to enrol in the HBA. 

The AAC also approved minor modifications to the Management, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Science curricula, and added a PhD in Medieval Studies to the existing Collaborative Specialization in Food Studies.

UTM Campus Affairs Committee

Staff from UTM’s Sustainability Office highlighted the campus’s sustainability initiatives and presented a preliminary overview of their Carbon Action Plan.

Over the past year, the office introduced a sustainability and waste ambassador program with almost 50 student volunteers and a Green Revolving fund to support energy and sustainability projects that the students and faculty proposed. The office is currently developing a free online system where students and faculty will be able to find second-hand furniture that UTM no longer uses. 

The office is currently developing a Carbon Action Plan to reduce facilities’ emissions. Some expected elements of the plan include placing solar panels on buildings and transitioning UTM’s centralized heating and water system from fossil fuels to clean energy. UTM is currently conducting a campus-wide energy audit — an in-depth examination of their energy usage — that will allow them to identify areas where the campus can reduce energy consumption. 

Christine Esteban — executive director of financial and budget services — and Rabeeya Amjadm — director of planning and analysis — presented the UTM Campus Operating Budget for 2023–2024, which anticipates $425 million in total revenue. Esteban noted that UTM faces a number of budget challenges including fluctuating and lower-than-expected enrolment in the past few years, less government support, and high building costs due to supply chain issues. 

The budget contains measures to admit more international students so that international students make up 32.5 per cent of new undergraduate students in 2023–2024, compared to 22.5 per cent admitted in fall 2022. International tuition will increase by two per cent, effective fall 2023. The university associated the Ontario government’s freeze on domestic tuition with a two million dollars reduction in revenues. UTM also plans to hire fewer faculty and staff in the next academic year. Esteban told the committee members that “we made sure not to have reductions [in student services], especially in the student support area,” noting the increased funding for student wellness.

With files from Makena Mwenda.