On May 10, the UTSC Campus Affairs Committee (CAC) met in the Arts and Administrative Building Council chamber. The committee members mainly discussed two proposed Extra Departmental Units Type C (EDU:C), which promote scholarship in one domain by drawing on multiple departments and can offer courses and collaborative graduate programs. Both of the proposed units — the Institutes for Resilient and Inclusive Societies and Ecosystems (iRISE) and the Flourish Centre for Community Arts and Social Wellness — would provide research opportunities for faculty and students. 

The two EDU:C initiatives have undergone community consultation, and the UTSC administration plans to consult the provost’s office before presenting both units to the CAC and UTSC Campus Council for approval. 

The committee members also reviewed several documents, including the campus’ operating budget and UTSC Campus Safety’s annual report. 


At the CAC meeting, Professor Irena Creed, vice-principal of research and innovation, gave a presentation about iRISE. The proposed EDU:C, which grew out of the UTSC’s strategic plan, will be focused on solving issues related to the well-being of humans and the natural systems we depend on.

iRISE would contain a multitude of programs, including design studios; international workshops and symposia; a distinguished speaker series; and fellowships for university faculty, where they would dedicate 20 per cent of their regular workload to an iRISE priority such as environmental change, health issues, and economic inequity. The unit also hopes to hold training programs, which will include ones that focus on “entrepreneurial and experiential learning opportunities”; postdoctoral fellowships; and undergraduate and graduate research assistantships.

iRISE would tackle these issues through multiple disciplines. “We know that many of the problems that are identified are not independent. They don’t operate in silos, but rather they come together into these complex woven situations,” said Creed. In addition to 97 U of T faculty members, 60 of which work at UTSC, 35 external members have also committed to joining if the program is approved. 


The second EDU-C committee members discussed was the FLOURISH Centre, which would be the first initiative in Canada focused on studying, teaching, and promoting community-engaged art as an avenue to foster social well-being. In her presentation to the council, Creed said that the centre aims to encourage research on how communities of colour use art as a form of advocacy and develop government policy promoting art initiatives in health care and social services. 

The FLOURISH Centre’s precursor project, Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program (CSPP) secured $1.08 million through fundraising. The CSPP funded groups of interdisciplinary researchers. Creed noted that the centre hopes to receive additional support through UTSC’s Development and Alumni Relations Office and groups, such as the Office of the Vice-Principal Research & Innovation at UTSC and the alumni network. The precursor project involved collaborations and consultations with community groups, including Scarborough Arts — a city-funded non-profit that delivers art programming to local residents — and the TAIBU Community Health Centre — a Malvern-based organization focused on delivering health and social services to Black people in the GTA.