Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Course Evaluation Framework and Online Administration System

PDAD&C# 49, 2012-13

TO:   Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
FROM: Jay Pratt, Acting Vice Provost, Faculty and Academic Life
DATE:       March 26, 2013
RE:   New Course Evaluation Framework and Online Administration System

After an extensive period of research, development and pilots, course evaluations in the Faculties of Arts & Science, Nursing and Social Work, along with UTM and UTSC have gone fully online.  The online course evaluations are administered through a secure system that is based on UTORids. Students receive direct invitations to complete their evaluations for each of their courses and are provided a window of time to so do.

Instructors are encouraged to remind students (in-class or through the portal) that the evaluation period in their division is open. Where WiFi or cell networks are available, instructors may also wish to provide time in-class for students to complete their evaluations using laptops, tablets and phones as well as desk top computers.  One of the benefits of the new course evaluation framework is that students' response rates can be tracked across divisions and best practices incorporated into the process to encourage higher participation rates. A range of communication strategies are already being implemented at the institutional and divisional levels to optimize student participation.

As we move toward this PTR cycle, it is important to remember that course evaluations are just one component of teaching assessment at the University of Toronto.  A comprehensive teaching evaluation system should use converging information from a variety of sources: course evaluations, course syllabi, teaching awards, teaching statements, etc.  Of these various forms of teaching performance information, course evaluations provide an important mechanism for students to give feedback on their learning experiences in the courses in which they enroll and are useful for assessing course content, the contributions of the instructor and achievement of course objectives.  Course evaluations should be considered in the context of each course, and it is useful to take into account such things as the nature (e.g., seminar, laboratory, lecture), enrollment, and content of each course, as well as student response rates.  For more details on the assessment of teaching in relation to PTR, please see:
The course evaluation system is administered through the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI).  CTSI has developed a number of resources for faculty, students and administrators. For the PTR, promotion and tenure processes, we encourage you to consult the Course Evaluation Interpretation Guidelines for Academic Administrators.  This document, along with a range of other resources for instructors and students, is available on-line at:  

Appointment of Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science

PDAD&C#50, 2012-13

To:   Faculty, Staff and Students of the Faculty of Arts & Science
      Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From: Cheryl Misak, Vice-President and Provost
Date: March 28, 2013
Re:   Appointment of Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
CC:   President David Naylor
      The Bulletin

As announced on March 4th by the Chair of Governing Council, Professor Meric Gertler has been appointed the 16th President of the University of Toronto.  He will be ending his term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science on April 30, 2013, having provided stellar leadership to its students, faculty, and staff for the last five years.

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Professor David Cameron as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, effective May 21, 2013 until June 30, 2014 or until the appointment of a new Dean, whichever comes first.  Professor Rob Baker, Vice-Dean, Research and Infrastructure, has kindly agreed to serve as Acting Dean for the first three weeks of May.

Professor Cameron has been Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto since 1985.  His research interests include Canadian government and politics, particularly questions of federalism, Quebec nationalism, French-English relations, constitutional renewal and national unity.  He has written and edited numerous books, including: Nationalism, Self-Determination and the Quebec Question; The Social Thought of Rousseau and Burke: A Comparative Study; and, The Referendum Papers: Essays on Secession and National Unity. Professor Cameron is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and also a recipient of the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies, the University of Toronto's Ludwik and Estelle Jus Human Rights Prize, the Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award, and the Adrienne Clarkson Public Service Laureateship.

Professor Cameron served as the Dean of Arts and Science at Trent University from 1975-1977 and Chair of Trent's Department of Political Science from 1970-1975.  At the University of Toronto, he has served as Vice-President, Institutional Relations from 1985 to 1987; Acting Chair, Department of Political Science from 2002 to 2003; Acting Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Education and Teaching of FAS in 2003-2004; and, Chair of the Department of Political Science from 2006-2012.  In addition to extensive administrative and advisory work at the federal level and internationally, Professor Cameron served from 1987 to 1995 in a series of positions for the Government of Ontario as follows: Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs; Deputy Minister and Special Advisor to the Premier on Constitutional Reform; and, Special Constitutional Advisor to the Premier of Ontario. 

I am extremely grateful to Professor Cameron for stepping forward during what will be an important transition for both the Faculty of Arts and Science and the University of Toronto.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Call for Applications: Members of Boards and Committees of the Governing Council

Memorandum to:  Governing Council
Academic Board
Business Board
University Affairs Board
Alumni Council of Presidents
Alumni Development Officers
College of Electors
President of the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students
President of the Graduate Students’ Union
President of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union
President of the University of Toronto Students’ Union
President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association
Presidents of the Employee Unions
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs
Professional, Managerial, and Confidential Staff
Senior Development Officers
University of Toronto Alumni Association Board of Directors
From:                     Louis R. Charpentier, Secretary of the Governing Council

Date:                      March 18, 2013

Subject:                 2013 CALL FOR APPLICATIONS - Members of Boards and Committees of the
                                    Governing Council


I am writing to ask for your assistance in identifying well-qualified individuals in the University community who would be interested in applying to serve as appointed non-Governing Council members on a Governing Council Board or Committee.  Administrative staff, alumni, and students – full-time undergraduate, part-time undergraduate, and graduate - are invited to apply.  Applications are encouraged from a wide variety of individuals so that the diversity of the University may be reflected in the membership of Governing Council bodies.

Please note that the positions listed below are all unpaid; members of the Governing Council and its Boards and Committees serve as volunteers.

Application for Membership

The 2013 online application form for membership is available on the website listed below.

Completed application forms must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2013.  Please note that only fully completed applications will be considered.

In general, successful applicants will be invited to serve for one-year terms from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.  Meetings of Governing Council Boards and Committees are not normally held in July and August.  Please note that a member must resign if, at any time during his or her term, he or she ceases to be a member of the constituency in which he or she was appointed (i.e. administrative staff member, full-time undergraduate student, part-time undergraduate student, or graduate student).  Students currently in their final year who expect to graduate in June, 2013 are not eligible to apply.  Such students may wish to consider applying as alumni representatives in the 2014 application process.  Non-degree students and those registered in the Toronto School of Theology are also ineligible to serve on Governing Council bodies.

Detailed information about Board and Committee membership and the appointment process is provided below.

Membership of the Boards and Committees of Governing Council

Websites containing comprehensive information about the Governing Council and its Boards and Committees are listed below.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to browse through the sites in order to gain an understanding of the scope, responsibilities, and composition of the governance bodies.  With the exception of the Elections Committee and the Executive Committee, all Boards and Committees of the Governing Council include non-members of the Governing Council.

Positions Available

The precise number of appointed seats available for each constituency varies from year to year, depending on the number of seats that are filled by members of the Governing Council.  The numbers below are provided as estimates only.

Potential Vacancies for 2013-2014

Administrative Staff
Academic Board
Business Board
University Affairs Board
*Please see Item 2 below.

1.   Academic Board:

Members are expected to attend all or almost all of the six meetings held per year.

12 students:
4 full-time undergraduates - Arts and Science
2 full-time undergraduates - professional faculties
3 part-time undergraduates
3 graduate students
1 to 2 administrative staff
1 to 3 alumni (who are not registered as students and who are not members of the administrative or teaching staff)
Further information about the Academic Board and its standing Committees is available from the website below.

Please note that elections for teaching staff and librarian seats on the Academic Board are conducted through a separate process.

2.   Business Board
Members are expected to attend all or almost all of the seven meetings held per year.

Although the Business Board Terms of Reference provides for up to 1 student and  administrative staff co-opted member, those seats are usually filled by members of the Governing Council.  The administrative staff seat does become available from time to time.

Further information about the Business Board is available from the website below.

3.   University Affairs Board
Members are expected to attend all or almost all of the six meetings held per year.

5 students
3 administrative staff

Further information about the University Affairs Board is available from the website below.

Selection Process and Criteria
Each of the three Boards has a Striking (Nominating) Committee that reviews the applications received and recommends appointments to the Board.  The Striking Committee normally meets in mid-May and appointments are approved at the final meeting of the Board in June. 

As part of the selection process, Striking Committees consider the knowledge, skills, and experience of each applicant.  The Committees will be guided by the Report of the Task Force on Governance, approved by the Governing Council on October 28, 2010, which is available here.  Efforts are made to achieve an appropriate balance of continuity and renewal on the Boards or Committees, as well as representation from a variety of academic and administrative units, academic programs, the three campuses, and full-time and part-time undergraduate students and graduate students.

The criteria used by the Striking Committee for the selection of members include the following.
  • Experience in governance of organizations or groups.
  • Demonstrated involvement in and contribution to the University community.
  • Demonstrated engagement in co-curricular or community activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise informed judgement.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate logically and persuasively at meetings.
  • Demonstrated commitment to participate actively, to prepare thoroughly, and to attend regularly most scheduled meetings.

All members of the Boards and Committees of the Governing Council are subject to the same expectations as those of members of the Governing Council.  The Expectations and Attributes of Governors and Key Principles of Ethical Conduct may be viewed here.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Office of the Governing Council,
Room 106 Simcoe Hall, University of Toronto
27 King’s College Circle
(phone) 416-978-6576
(fax) 416-978-8182
Thank you for your interest in participating in governance at the University of Toronto.

SGS Director, Student Services Announcement

To:        Chairs/Directors/Graduate Coordinators and Graduate Administrators
From:    Heather Kelly, Director of Student Services
CC:       Committee of Graduate Deans
SGS Staff
Date:     March 19, 2013
Re:        Announcement-Director, Student Services

I would like to share with the graduate community that after eight years in my role as Director, Student Services with the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) I will be joining Student Life as the Director, Student Career Exploration and Education as of Monday April 8th.

This is an exciting opportunity to ensure  that the University of Toronto provides exemplary practices that support students’ self-exploration of career objectives through the development of career curriculum and programs.  As the Council of Universities notes, it is more important than ever for universities to help prepare students for the future and I look forward to assisting students integrate their interests, abilities, experiences and values in the development of their career aspirations.

I will remain as a resource to SGS staff during the transition and will also assist in the on-boarding of my replacement. Kerri Huffman, Associate Director-Graduate Awards & Financial Aid will be the management point of contact for graduate awards, thesis submission, final oral examinations, convocation and post-doctoral issues. Josie Lalonde, Associate Director-Student Systems & Records, will be the management point of contact for recruitment, admission, registration, enrollment, program progress (including non-standard cases), student issues and student system/record issues. I would like to thank both Kerri and Josie for their support during the transition.

It has been a pleasure to work with you all and I have appreciated your deep commitment to graduate education. I look forward to working with many of you in my new role as we continue to improve the graduate student experience.

Warm regards,


Heather Kelly
Director of Student Services
School of Graduate Studies
University of Toronto
63 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2Z9
Tel: 416-978-4350
Fax: 416-971-2864

SGS Graduate Administrative Appointments

To:        Graduate Chairs/Directors, Coordinators, Administrators and SGS Staff
From:    Brian Corman, Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Education

Dear Colleagues:

Consistent with the Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators, and approved by the Provost and the Academic Board, I am pleased to announce the following recent appointments:


Professor Ryan Balot
Acting Chair and Graduate Chair
Department of Political Science
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014
(while Chair is on approved leave)

Professor Christer Bruun
Chair and Graduate Chair, Department of Classics
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2019
(includes one year approved leave)

Professor Morris Moscovitch
Chair, Graduate Department of Psychology
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018 [renewal]
(included six months of approved leave)

I thank these Academic Administrators for their willingness to serve the University in the furtherance of graduate education.  I am sure that you will join me in congratulating them.

With my best wishes,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Notice of Intention to retire June 30, 2014

PDAD&C# 45, 2012-13

From:     Jay Pratt, Acting Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life 
Date: March 15, 2013 
Re: Notice of Intention to retire June 30, 2014 

I am writing to remind you that faculty members and librarians who wish to retire on June 30, 2014 must give notice of their intention by July 1, 2013. Now is the time to remind faculty members and librarians in your unit to start thinking about retirement options so they have enough time to gather sufficient information to make an informed decision.
Chairs, Deans and Directors can find additional information and all necessary forms, here Information for faculty members and librarians considering retirement is available here

All faculty members and librarians within 10 years of their normal retirement date (e.g. 65) are invited to a Retirement Information Session. This year's session will be held on Wednesday, April 17, from 9am to 12.30pm in the Governing Council Chambers at Simcoe Hall. Further details and registration is found here

Please note that, if a faculty member or librarian wishes to apply to take an earned research and study leave during a three-year phased retirement program, s/he must apply at the time of giving notice of intention to enter into phased retirement so that the leave can be considered and approved in the context of the planning process for the phased retirement.

For more information on retirement options, please contact the Academic HR Manager for your division or Cherilyn Nobleza ( or Jesse Sims (  in my office.

Provost's PhD Enhancement Fund (PPEF) Matching Program: Round 2 Guidelines

PDAD&C #43, 2012-13

From:     Cheryl Misak, Vice-President and Provost 
Date: March 13, 2013
Re: Provost's PhD Enhancement Fund (PPEF) Matching Program: Round 2 Guidelines

Fundraising Objective:In light of the pressing need for funding for graduate students at the University of Toronto, the Provost has announced the second round of the PPEF, a special matching program to support divisional fundraising campaigns for this critical purpose. As indicated in the memo from Round 1 of the PPEF Matching Program (dated November 1, 2011), divisions were given until the end of February 2013 to finalize gift commitments for Round 1. Any unused allocations have been rolled over into a new fund, and supplemented with additional matching funds.
The Provost has dedicated a new total pool of $4.5 million one‐time‐only funds, available for 1:1 matches on endowed donations according to the eligibility criteria below. Available funds will be allocated to each division on the basis of that division's number of PhD students and success in Round 1. The attached Schedule A sets out the matching funding available to each division.

The Match:Each division is eligible to receive matching funds up to the funding ceiling as outlined in the attached Schedule A. The University will match, on a 1:1 basis, new eligible endowed gifts pledged between March 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014, and paid in full by December 31, 2016.

Pledge Start Date: Gifts or commitments pledged on or after March 1, 2013.
Pledge End Date: Pledges must be confirmed in writing by December 31, 2014.
Payment End Date: Pledges must be paid in full by December 31, 2016.

Eligible Gifts:
The matching funds apply to gifts for:
International or domestic students enrolled in a PhD program or one of the following PhD equivalent degree programs:
• Law (SJD)
• Music (DMA and MUSD)
AND, either
Contribute toward the funding package for international and domestic students in the guaranteed funding cohort, (Note: financial need is not a requirement.)
Support a student who is beyond the guaranteed funding period and still has financial need (similar to the Doctoral Completion Award program).

Minimum Threshold to be eligible for match:
The match will be applied in $50,000 units. This is consistent with the University's naming guidelines, which permit an endowed graduate award to be named with a minimum gift of $50,000.
Larger gifts are eligible for matching in increments of $50,000, up to the allocated cap of that division. Thus, a fund established through a gift of $50,000 is eligible for a match of $50,000. A gift of $75,000 is eligible for a match of $50,000. A gift of $100,000 is eligible for matching funds of $100,000. Total matching funds are restricted by the funding ceiling allocated to the division to which the gift is made. Divisions may combine several gifts below the threshold to reach the $50,000 level and therefore qualify for matching.

Maximum Threshold to be eligible for match:
So long as the division has not reached its cap on eligible gifts as outlined in Schedule A, there is no restriction on the maximum size of an endowed gift to be eligible for this initiative, other than as restricted by the matching funds being available only in increments of $50,000.

Restrictions on Awards:
It is strongly recommended that donor restrictions not be encouraged or accepted when setting up these new funds, in order to create funds with the greatest latitude toward meeting the current and future needs of the division. If a donor is insistent on placing preferential criteria on the use of the funds, these criteria must be deemed acceptable to the division.

Combination with other Matching Programs:
The PPEF awards may not be combined with other University‐wide matching programs such as the GSEF.

For further information or questions, please contact:
Donation Management questions: Semere Ab‐Abiyo or (416) 948‐4886
Matching Allocation: Sally Garner or (416) 978‐2819
Award Criteria: Judi Cooper or (416) 978‐5318

Schedule A
Provost's PhD Enhancement Fund (PPEF)
Divisional Ceilings for Matching Available from Central Fund

  Central Match
Available 1
 Applied Science and Engineering        $ 600,000
 Arts & Science    2,000,000
 Dentistry  50,000
 Forestry    50,000
 Information    50,000
 Kinesiology & Physical Education50,000
 Law     50,000
 Management   50,000
 Medicine  900,000
 Music    100,000
 Nursing     150,000
 OISE     250,000
 Pharmacy    100,000
 Social Work    50,000
 UTSC     50,000
  $ 4,500,000

1 Funds available from match are rounded to a multiple of $50K, with a minimum set at $50K for those divisions which would otherwise fall below the naming threshold of $50K.

SGS Conference Grant

Award Announcement

To:        Graduate Deans; Chairs/Directors; Graduate Coordinators; Graduate Administrators
From:    Tara Lock, Awards Officer (Internal), Graduate Awards Office
CC:       Heather Kelly, Director, Student Services; Luc De Nil, Vice-Dean, Students
Date:     13/03/2013
Re:        SGS Conference Grant

This announcement is for internal purposes only and should not be posted on websites external to the University.



March 18th, 10am:  Online-application opens to students and Supervisors/Advisors
March 29th, 4pm:    Online-application closes to students
April 5th, 4pm:          Online-application closes to Supervisors/Advisors


The SGS Conference Grant is intended to encourage eligible students to present their research at a regional, national or international conference or equivalent academic event.
The Winter/Spring competition supports conferences taking place between March 1 – September 30, 2013.

Applicants are encouraged to apply even if they have not received confirmation of their participation in a conference at the time of application.


The value of the SGS Conference Grant is based on:
·         The event’s registration fee (at the student-rate)
·         A small top-up based on the location of the event
·         Transportation, accommodation and other related expenses are not taken into consideration
·         Preference will be given to applicants, who are in the early stage of their academic program, have not previously attended a conference during their current program and/or who have not previously received an SGS Conference Grant. 

This grant is not intended to be the principal source of funding – applicants are expected to seek funding from other sources and must list other resources they are anticipating will supplement their conference travel and attendance.


Applicants must be:
  • Registered full-time in a doctoral-stream program (including flexible-time option Ph.D.) or in a professional master’s program leading to a doctoral degree or in a professional doctoral program
  • Registered full-time at the time of application
  • Registered full-time at the time of conference attendance and grant payment
  • An active participant (e.g. speaker, poster presenter, member of a panel or round table) in a conference or other academic meeting relevant to their academic program
  • In good standing as defined by their graduate unit


Successful and unsuccessful applicants will receive notification via their U of T email address in early May 2013 regarding the result of their application.

Application Process:

The SGS Conference Grant application is only available online and is accessible from the SGS Website.


Applicants will be asked for the following information:
·         Supervisor/Advisor contact information
·         Details of the conference or academic event (title, location, registration fee at the student-rate, URL)
·         Details regarding the presentation of research (title, etc.)
·         Previous conferences in which they have presented their research during their current program
·         Potential other sources of funding that may be available to support their conference attendance

Successful applicants are required to submit the following documentation to initiate payment of the grant:
1.      Proof of conference registration payment (e.g. receipt or invoice)
2.      Proof of conference attendance and active involvement (e.g. link to online programme listing applicant’s name)
3.      Payment Activation Form


For Further Information:

Please visit the SGS Website or email us at

Tara Lock
Awards Officer, Internal
Graduate Awards Office
School of Graduate Studies
Room 202 - 63 St. George Street
Tel:  (416) 978-2386
Fax: (416) 971-2864

Walter Gordon Symposium: Pipelines and Pipedreams: Exploring the future of Canada's energy economy - March 19, 2013

Invitation sent on behalf of the annual Walter Gordon Symposium:


The annual Walter Gordon Symposium:
Pipelines and Pipedreams: Exploring the future of Canada's energy economy

Massey College and the School of Public Policy and Governance bring you some of
Canada's outstanding energy experts and players to examine rising concerns over
Canada's energy security and the threatened “staples trap” of an economy seen to be
bouncing between Bitumen Bubble and Bitumen Cliff.

The Daytime Session
March 19: Upper Library, Massey College
4 Devonshire Place
Registration: 9:30 a.m.
(This event is not open to the public but you can attend by responding to

Opening keynote speaker: Prof. Jean-Thomas Bernard of l'Université Laval and
University of Ottawa, one of Canada's foremost energy economists

1. Barriers to a National Energy Strategy:
-- York political scientist Daniel Drache, expert on Harold Innisʼs staples theory
-- David McLaughlin, former chief of staff to Jim Flaherty and former chair of the
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

2. Visions of a National Energy Strategy:
-- Ellis Ross, chief councillor of B.C.ʼs Haisla First Nation
-- Madelaine Drohan, Canadian correspondent for the Economist and author of “The 9
Habits of Highly Successful Resource Economies: Lessons for Canada”
-- Mark Winfield, chair of the sustainable energy initiative at Yorkʼs Faculty of
Environmental Studies.

3. Influence of foreign investment in energy policy making
-- Jim Stanford, chief economist, CAW
-- Daniel Schwanen, economist and assistant vice-president research, C.D. Howe
-- Stephen Azzi, Carleton Faculty of Management, author of “Walter Gordon and the
Rise of Canadian Nationalism”

The Evening Session
March 19: Isabel Bader Theatre
93 Charles Street
8 p.m.
(This event is open to the public)

John Fraser, Master of Massey College

The keynote speakers:
Scott Vaughan, federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
David Manning, recently appointed Alberta government envoy to Washington.

Provost and Vice-Chancellor, Trinity College: Professor Andy Orchard

PDAD&C #41, 2012-13

From:    Cheryl Misak, Vice-President and Provost
Date:  March 11, 2013
Re:Announcement re: Andy Orchard, Provost and Vice-Chancellor, Trinity College

Please see the memo below from the Hon. William Graham & Ms. Carolyn Kearns. And please join me in thanking Andy Orchard for his stellar leadership of Trinity and in wishing him the very best as he takes up the prestigious Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford.

Cheryl Misak
Vice-President and Provost

Re: Andy Orchard, Provost and Vice-Chancellor, Trinity CollegeThe Chancellor, William C. Graham, and the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Carolyn Kearns, are pleased to announce that Professor Andy Orchard has been elected as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford, effective October 1, 2013. The Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon was established in 1795 and is associated with Pembroke College. Former holders of the Chair include Sir William Craigie and J.R.R. Tolkien. Bill Graham and Carolyn Kearns recognize the huge distinction of this appointment, but are of course saddened by Provost Orchard leaving the College and the University of Toronto.

Andy Orchard became the fourteenth Provost of Trinity College on July 1, 2007. Provost Orchard was born in England and studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic at Queens’ College, Cambridge and English at Exeter College, Oxford; he obtained his PhD from Cambridge in 1990 and for the next ten years held a wide range of academic and administrative positions both at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and within the University of Cambridge, culminating in becoming Head of the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic. He came to the University of Toronto in 2000 as Professor of English and Medieval Studies, becoming an Associate at Trinity in 2001 and a Fellow in 2003. He was appointed Associate Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies in 2001 and Director in 2004. Provost Orchard has also held the posts of Chair of the Senate and Public Orator at Trinity College.

Andy Orchard is the recipient of many awards, including the Pilkington Prize for excellence in teaching in the University of Cambridge in 1998, and in the fall of 2012 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His scholarship covers more than eight centuries of works and authors such as Beowulf, Cynewulf, the Poetic Edda, and Ango-Saxon riddle tradition; he has published extensively and is author of numerous books, including the Cassell Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, The Poetic Art of Aldhelm, A Critical Companion to ‘Beowulf’, and The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore.

Andy Orchard is internationally recognized as one of the most innovative and influential academics in the field of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic languages and literatures. Trinity College is delighted at his appointment to this important role and is grateful for his inspired leadership and wise stewardship of the College over the past six years.

Friday, March 8, 2013

UTFA: Important Message from the President re: Special Joint Advisory Committee with UTFA

PDAD&C #40, 2012-13

Important Message from the President re: Special Joint Advisory Committee with UTFA

Dear Colleagues,

The membership for the Special Joint Advisory Committee (SJAC) with UTFA and the University Administration has been finalized. It was to be my pleasure to write this week to advise you about that membership. However, with regret, I am now also obliged to respond to the disappointing survey which UTFA sent out mid-week. 

The survey purports to lay the ground work for what was supposed to be a joint initiative, conducted in good faith.  Unfortunately, the survey contains leading questions, tendentious statements, and threats of certification. I am already receiving complaints from colleagues about its obvious tilt. 

One might reasonably have expected that an early SJAC agenda item with UTFA would be the best modes of engaging in unbiased consultation with our community. Instead, the first order of business will now likely be a discussion of how and even whether we might start afresh on a more constructive and convergent basis.

Faculty members and librarians will recall that a survey was also conducted by UTFA last year. Despite aggressive campaigning and similar biases in survey wording, the results showed a limited support by colleagues for UTFA’s desire to “bargain all terms and conditions”.  In the process, many faculty members made it explicit that they did not want UTFA co-managing academic planning, tenure and promotion, and so on.  To refresh your memory on what was, and is again, at stake, you may wish to review last year’s communications from the Provost’s Office:  

Turning to the University’s Memorandum of Agreement with UTFA and the ‘modernization’ discussions that are part of the SJAC’s mandate, it is important, I think, to look back beyond last year.  

The University’s Governing Council and Faculty Association first entered into a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on June 28th 1977.  The Memorandum’s basic structure and processes have served us all very well over the course of more than three decades.  As Provost Cheryl Misak observed in 2011, “the Memorandum of Agreement with UTFA has enabled the University to become one of the world’s great public institutions of higher learning and advanced research”. That continues to be the case in difficult economic conditions for publicly supported universities here and around the world. 

The MOA has also been amended on a number of occasions to reflect changes in the University and its context, as well as evolution of the roles of our academic colleagues.   

That said, some elements of the Memorandum have caused frustration for the Administration and some elements have caused frustration for UTFA.  Both sides think that there is a subset that can be agreed-upon as in need of modernization. 

Against that backdrop, UTFA and the Administration agreed last year to establish a Special Joint Advisory Committee to “examine and discuss in a frank, open and collegial manner, matters of mutual interest concerning the MOA”. The SJAC will review the strengths and weaknesses of the Memorandum, and will attempt to reach consensus on recommendations for potential changes to it. 

We also agreed to establish subcommittees of the SJAC to discuss our policies related to tenure and promotion and a new appointment category of Professors of Practice – Teaching and Professional Stream. Colleagues will recognize that these are not new topics.  Thus, while the Special Committee is undertaking its review, the two subcommittees are expected to continue discussions that were initiated last year.

In particular, the Professor of Practice subcommittee will build upon the extensive consultation that has already occurred and we are hopeful that the Subcommittee will forward its recommendations before the end of the current academic year. Similarly, the Subcommittee on Tenure and Promotion will be able to build upon previous discussions, for example with respect to time to tenure, and I hope to receive their recommendations before leaving office this fall. 

I am grateful to the following individuals who have agreed to represent the Administration and UTFA on these Committees:

Joint UofT / UTFA Working Groups 2012-13

UofT Membership
UTFA Membership

Special Joint Advisory Committee
Cheryl Misak
Edith Hillan
Angela Hildyard
Arthur Ripstein
Arthur Hosios
Ellen Hodnett (governance issues)
Larry Alford (library issues)

Scott Prudham
Paul Downes
Paul Hamel
Jennifer Jenkins
Harriet Sonne de Torrens
Judith Taylor
Sub-group : Tenure and Promotion

Scott Mabury
Brad Inwood
Jay Pratt
Liz Smyth

Ettore Damiano
Linda Kohn
Helen Rodd
Judith Teichman
Sub-group : Professor of Practice

Edith Hillan
Angela Hildyard
Sioban Nelson
Andy Dicks
Kelly Hannah-Moffat

Cynthia Messenger
Connie Guberman
Brock MacDonald
Jun Nogami

While this slate of good colleagues is good news, I regretfully must close with a further expression of concern.  Just as there has been a very recent replay of last year’s survey gambit, so also has UTFA again issued strongly-worded communications suggesting sweeping and radical change to the MOA, including a desire to open up Article 6 of the memorandum so as to bargain ‘all terms and conditions’ of employment. 

Now as then, I am hearing colleagues privately question the wisdom of constraining departmental collegiality and flexibility in order to promote the more standardized and centralized arrangements that would flow from an expanded scope for collective bargaining.  At the same time, many faculty members have also made it clear that they would welcome a rational discussion about how to strengthen the role and the voice of academic colleagues in planning, policy-making, and governance. 

The balance here is fine. If there is common ground, I believe we will find it in good faith.  But if empowering and giving more collegial voice to faculty is deemed synonymous with empowering UTFA and giving it more ability to impose a rule-bound culture that will limit the autonomy of individuals and departments, then these discussions will be fraught.

Be that as it may, I remain optimistic that the Special Committee can make progress on all fronts.  Certainly the work of the SJAC is important to the future of this great institution, and I hope that our academic community will take a keen interest in the Committee’s deliberations.  I do know that those representing both UTFA and ‘the Administration’ will want to hear from you over the course of the next 12 months.  While doing so has become more challenging given UTFA’s current survey strategy, I again urge our faculty members and librarians to express their views constructively and openly. 

David Naylor
University of Toronto

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