The Campus Affairs Committee held its second meeting of the academic year last Tuesday to discuss new developments from the Human Resources department, the priorities of financial resources on campus, and to provide a brief update on the 2019-2020 operating plans.

The committee started the meeting with a presentation from Nader Boutros, the new director of UTM Human Resources.

Boutros emphasized the significance of staff recognition programs and making sure staff know that they are appreciated. He went on to state that the Human Resources department will be launching a new staff award and recognition program.

“We’ve done a lot of consultations, even before my time, and we’ve gathered all that information to hear the feedback from the current staff awards program and how to take it a step further,” said Boutros.

“It’s not just about receiving a physical award or receiving a prize at the end of the day,” continued Boutros. “It’s just about recognition and being honored to be nominated and bringing the family of UTM together to recognize each other.”

Professor Ian Orchard, Acting Vice-President & Principal, and Professor Amrita Daniere, Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, also gave a presentation regarding campus strategic priorities that discussed the goals, areas of focus, and decisions about the financial resources on campus.

Orchard provided the council with statistics regarding international student enrollment at UTM, which showed that there was a 30.2 per cent intake for first years and about 25.7 per cent across all years. However, in 2019, 67 per cent of all international student intake came from a single source home country.

“This might suggest there is some vulnerability,” said Orchard. “If there were some new regulations created by that country to prevent students from traveling to Canada or to Ontario, then that would influence our ability to take in the proportion of international students that we have.”

“We’re looking at developing, certainly through the registrar’s office, programs to increase regional diversity,” continued Orchard. “Maybe including scholarships for international students, but certainly enhancing recruitment activity in targeted regions of the world.”

Professor Amrita Daniere went over the implementation of the Academic Plan and gave updates on the sustainability and diversity initiatives taking place on campus.

“We are working constantly to enhance the diversity of our faculty,” said Daniere. “We are requiring everybody on a faculty hiring committee this year to take a workshop in unconscious bias.”

Daniere also discussed updates regarding new faculty hires for robotics, the new Master’s in Urban Innovation Program, and the Historical Studies department.

“We’ll be hiring a new professor, an Indigenous professor, for the historical studies department,” said Daniere. “Which, if you think about it, probably should have been one of our first hires.”

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Saher Fazilat, Chief Administrative Officer, regarding UTM Service Ancillary Budgets and the status of current operating plans.

“Because of the growth of the campus and because we want to take full care of our flora and fauna, we just wanted to make sure that whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it right,” said Fazilat regarding their plans to hire a separate consultant team to help with the development of the campus masterplan.

Fazilat also discussed the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee’s interests in differentiating and increasing rates for separate parking lots, specifically P9. “P9 has become one of the most sought-after parking lots,” said Fazilat. “What that has created is a backlog going all the way back to Mississauga Road, leading to complaints about the time it takes to get into campus.”

Fazilat went on to state “the committee felt like differential parking, both for pay display and permit for P9 [parking unit 9] would solve the issue to a big extent.”

The next Campus Affairs Committee meeting will be on January 15, 2020.

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