Professor Carol Chin appointed as Woodsworth College principal

Chin joined U of T history department in 2008

Professor Carol Chin appointed as Woodsworth College principal

Following a months-long search to replace Woodsworth College Principal Joseph Desloges, longtime history professor and administrative official Carol Chin has been appointed as the head of the University of Toronto’s largest college.

Desloges is scheduled to complete his second term at the end of this academic year. Because of term limits, he is ineligible for re-appointment under the Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators. He has headed the college since 2008 and also teaches in the geography and earth sciences departments.

In a statement released December 20, U of T said that Chin would serve as principal from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2024.

“Professor Chin is an accomplished researcher and teacher, and brings exceptional experience in academic leadership and governance,” the statement read, citing Chin’s previous service in a variety of roles since joining U of T in 2008, including working as Acting Principal of Woodsworth from 2015–2016.

Chin had also worked as the interim head of the history department and served on the Academic Board of Governing Council and the Provostial Advisory Committee on the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence.

Chin completed her undergraduate studies in Chinese literature at Harvard University in 1977, and obtained an MA and a PhD in history from Ohio State University in 1996 and 2001, respectively.

In an interview with The Varsity, Chin said that she was “delighted” to head back to the college she previously led in an interim position. She also said that she would work toward overcoming certain challenges and cooperate with students, staff, and faculty.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for Woodsworth is numbers,” she said. “It’s the biggest college; it’s got a very small number of residence spaces — that’s not something that we can solve easily.”

Chin added that “one of the things that makes Woodsworth such a special place is its legacy,” citing what she sees as its history of accessibility and equity.

The process for searching for a new principal began in May. In a September interview, U of T Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr said that after the initial announcement, an advisory committee was created. Following nominations, applicants underwent an interview process. No names were released to the public.

U of T has not yet announced a new Principal of University College. Donald Ainslie, the current principal and a leading member of the Landmark Project, is set to leave his position in June.

The Breakdown: Commuter resources on campus

Lounges, special dons, pancakes among commuter services

The Breakdown: Commuter resources on campus

Despite its large commuter population — over 75 per cent of U of T students identify as commuters — almost all students who commute more than an hour each way say they feel discouraged from participating in off-campus activities.

Considering the barriers that face commuter students, various colleges and student groups have created initiatives to support the needs of these commuter students and enhance their overall student experience on and off campus.

Innis College

Among the services that Innis provides to commuter students are a commuter lounge equipped with couches, tables, beanbags, a kitchenette, a microwave, a football table, and a TV; lockers available for rent starting at $10; and monthly commuter-oriented events. In addition, students can run for the two Commuter Representative positions in the Innis College Student Society.

New College

Like many other colleges, New is home to a commuter don program, which consists of two Commuter Dons and one lead don. These dons plan programming once or twice a month for commuters. Upcoming events include community hours for students to reach out to Commuter Dons and residence students alike, as well as information sessions about TTC tips.

IRIS DENG/THE VARSITY

St. Michael’s College

St. Michael’s also has a commuter donship program, which helps facilitate commuter-friendly programming and acts as a resource to both commuter and international students.

Trinity College

Trinity has a Non-Resident Affairs Committee (NRAC) made up of 14 members who meet four times a year. Members in the NRAC are responsible for facilitating commuter-friendly events, maintaining the commuter students’ common room, and integrating commuter students into student life, while also encouraging participation in student government. Trinity also has a meal plan for commuter students, which includes 10 free meals for part-time students and 15 free meals for full-time students.

University College (UC)

The Commuter Student Centre (CSC), located in the UC Union building at 79 St. George Street, is the primary space for commuter students at UC. It is equipped with a lounge, a kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator, a study space, a group study room, lockers for rent each semester, and board games. The CSC is supported by Community Coordinators (CoCo), who facilitate programming, events, and activities at the centre.

“The UC Literary and Athletic Society, Off Campus Commission is a volunteer organization that has as its goal the betterment of the university experience for UC students that live off campus. They create community and organize events for commuter students, often in collaboration with the CoCos,” wrote Naeem Ordonez, Assistant to the Dean of Students at UC, in an email to The Varsity.

Victoria College

Victoria is home to two commuter student groups: Victoria College Off Campus Association (VOCA) and Commuter Dons. The college hosts several commuter-oriented events throughout the academic year including a weekly free pancake breakfast by VOCA.

The Goldring Student Centre also has a commuter lounge in its basement with lockers that students can rent free of charge and a quiet study space equipped with couches, desks, and charging tables.

“We (VOCA) are responsible for hosting and facilitating events throughout the year for commuter students. VOCA also holds monthly collaborations with residence dons as a way to connect residence and commuter students,” wrote Emilia De Fabritiis, Commuter Commissioner of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council in an email to The Varsity.

“The other commuter initiatives are the Vic Commuter Dons. Similar to VOCA, they host events for commuters. However, Commuter Dons are trained to provide more of an emotional support for students.”

Students are encouraged to get involved at VOCA through applications for general commission members, first year execs, upper year executives, commissioner, and co-chair.

IRIS DENG/THE VARSITY

Woodsworth College

Woodsworth has several commuter resources including lockers available for rent starting at $15; a commuter lounge equipped with a microwave, books, whiteboard, outlets, tables, and comfortable seats; and events such as Woodsworth College Students’ Association Wednesdays, when free pancakes are served. Commuter students can also run for positions, including Off-Campus Directors, and they can participate in Woodsworth’s Off-Campus Committee.

UTSC

The City of Toronto’s Smart Commute Scarborough initiative allows users to be matched with a fellow commuter taking the same route, in an effort to encourage sustainability. The campus also runs a bikeshare program that allows students and staff to rent out bikes free of charge. Commuter meal plans are also available for $390.

UTM

Like UTSC, Smart Commute is also made available for commuter students at UTM. A U-Pass — a transit pass granting unlimited travel — is made available for students using MiWay. Lockers are also available for rent in the student centre.

Trinity, UTSC, and UTM did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.

Colleges, student unions expand representation for international students

U of T welcomed 19,187 international students last year

Colleges, student unions expand representation for international students

Amid a rising international student population, student unions and the seven colleges are expanding their representation on campus and creating services catered to those demographics. The Varsity reached out to several student unions and college governments for a roundup of international student representation on campus.

UTSU

The University of Toronto Students’ Union does not have a specific committee geared toward international students. However, it does have positions which serve the international student population, such as Vice-President Student Life and Vice-President Equity.

UTGSU

The International Students’ Caucus (ISC) at the University of Toronto Graduate Students Union (UTGSU) aims to address the interests and concerns regarding international graduate students.

The caucus hosts social, academic, and professional workshops and meetings concerning governance and policy changes within the university community and the city at large.

“The ISC is a group under the UTGSU [that] mainly serves international students’ interests, including academic success, social interaction, and networking,” reads a statement on its website.

“Meetings will be held monthly and will focus on the needs of the caucus’ members and the needs of all international graduate students including social interaction, networking, and potential changes in programming and/or governance at the university, city, and/or provincial levels.”

The ISC’s elected positions include the chair, who oversees the caucus as a whole, and the UTGSU Executive Liaison.

UTMSU

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) represents over 13,500 students across the UTM, with 20 per cent of students being international. While the UTMSU does not have a specific position or caucus dedicated to international students, they do provide several services.

“We endeavour to ensure that the rights of all students are respected, provide cost-saving services, programs and events, and represent the voices of part-time undergraduate students across the University and to all levels of government,” reads a statement on their website. “We are fundamentally committed to the principle of access to education for all.”

The UTMSU also has several campaigns in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) regarding international student issues, including Fight for Fees, Fairness for International Students, and OHIP for International Students.

SCSU

The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) currently does not have a specific levy or caucus dedicated to international students; however, it has positions aimed toward serving the needs of domestic and international students alike on campus, such as Vice-President Campus Life and Vice-President Equity.

SCSU also provides specific services in partnership with the CFS for international students including the International Student Identity Card, which provides students with exclusive discounts such as airfare and entertainment.

Innis College

The Innis College student body provides a number of resources and services made available to international students. The Innis Residence Council has six positions for Junior International House Representatives who work alongside Senior House Representatives to coordinate events and foster a sense of involvement. An International Transition Advisor is also available on campus.

New College

New College houses the International Foundation Program, which provides conditional acceptance to international students whose English proficiency scores do not meet direct entrance requirements. The program guarantees admission to the Faculty of Arts & Science or the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering upon completion.

Madison Hönig, New College Student Council President, told The Varsity, “At New College, international students make up an important part of our student population. We are lucky to house the International Foundation Program (IFP) at New College. As such, we do have an International Foundation Program Representative to advocate for these students.”

“Additionally, we work closely with the New College Residence Council and the main governance structures within the College to ensure that international students are being advocated for and included in our programming, academic initiatives and support at New College,” continued Hönig. “We are working to see that international student representation and advocacy is considered within the portfolios of all of our members.”

University College

University College’s International Student Advisor aims to provide academic and personal resources to International students through their sUCcess Centre. Appointments can be made to meet with an advisor.

Victoria College

Victoria College International Students Association (VISA) is a levy funded by the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council that aims to support the needs and interests of international students at Victoria College.

VISA is used to host social, academic, and professional events throughout the year and also funds a mentorship program for incoming students.

“Our program offered help to students from all backgrounds, in which the mentor would be providing both academic and moral support to the students transitioning into the new university environment, through a two-hour session every two weeks,” reads a statement from the mentorship program’s website.

Woodsworth College

The International Students Director under the Woodsworth College Student Association (WCSA) is the representative for international students at Woodsworth College. The International Students Director also coordinates events hosted by the association catered to international students.

“With this role, I hope to connect with not only incoming international students but also upper year students to bridge the gap between them. I look forward to continuing with some of the events introduced by last year’s director as well as introducing a few new ones,” reads a statement on its website from from Leslie Mutoni, WCSA’s International Students Director.

During the 2017–2018 academic year, the university welcomed over 19,187 international students from across 163 countries and regions, mainly from China, India, the United States, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

The Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students and student societies at St. Michael’s College and Trinity College did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.

Woodsworth, University College looking for new principals

Current UC principal Donald Ainslie to continue leading U of T revitalization plan

Woodsworth, University College looking for new principals

The search is on to replace professors Joseph Desloges and Donald Ainslie as the heads of Woodsworth College and University College (UC), respectively. Ainslie will continue in his role as co-chair of the Landmark Project.

In separate statements issued in May, the university wrote that the two principals are ineligible for re-appointment under the Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators because they are expected to complete their second terms by the end of this school year.

U of T Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr explained, “The way that our policy works is that, for all of these positions, people are appointed for a period of usually five years for their first appointment — although the policy says it can be up to seven, it’s usually five years — and then, following the review, they can be appointed for another five years,” referring to faculty members appointed to administrative roles.

Since their departures were announced, advisory committees have been set up to help look for new college heads. Members include Regehr, teaching staff, college students, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, among others.

Following nominations, interested applicants will undergo an interview process. From start to finish, no names are released to the public.

“We do confidential searches at the University of Toronto because what we want is to attract outstanding people who might be doing other kinds of interesting jobs that they feel very committed to, and they don’t want others to know in a public way that they are perhaps interested in something else,” explained Regehr.

Desloges has served as the principal of Woodsworth since 2008, and is also a professor in the Geography and Earth Sciences departments.

In its statement, the university lauded Desloges’ various achievements.

“Over the past decade, he has provided exceptional leadership of the College, upholding its emphasis on recruiting and supporting outstanding students from both traditional and non-traditional pathways.”

Ainslie has been the principal of University College since 2011. The university praised his accomplishments, stating, “As Principal, Professor Ainslie led University College through a revitalization planning process that resulted in the renovation project currently underway; enhanced resources for University College’s academic programs; rejuvenated alumni engagement; spearheaded University College’s very successful Boundless Campaign; and helped to create the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.”

Although Ainslie will no longer serve as the principal of UC, he will continue with his other roles within the university. In particular, Ainslie told The Varsity in an email that he “will be continuing as the academic co-lead of the Landmark Project, alongside Vice-President University Operations, Scott Mabury,” which aims to revitalize and pedestrianize parts of the St. George campus.

“In terms of other roles at U of T, I will continue to be a professor in the philosophy department. I have some sabbatical coming my way, so the first order of business will [be] finishing a book on the history of ethics,” continued Ainslie.

Desloges and Ainslie will finish their terms on June 30, 2019. Their successors are expected to take office the next day.