Town Hall

Town Hall

October 11, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


>>>Good afternoon everyone we
will get started, please come in and find a seat for yourself. I
am a faculty member in the school of human resource
management. I will be your moderator today so today on our
agenda we have remarks from the president and it will be a
chance to ask questions and have a conversation with both the
president and vice president. Before we get started I would
like to say, this land has been care taken by the
Anishinabek Nation , the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and
others. It is now home to many indigenous people and be
acknowledged the treaty holders. This territory is subject to the
One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share
and care for the great lakes region. We have heard from your
community that people want a chance to talk and exchange
ideas in a safe and respectful environment. Today is an
opportunity to exactly that. Before we get started I would
like a few housekeeping pieces, I welcome you all to come in and
make yourself comfortable. There is room upfront to take a seat.
I ask that you turn off your cell phones and if you are in
the room, I welcome you all to the town hall and I would like
to welcome those joined by webcast. At this point in time I
would like to ask Dr. Rhonda Lenton to come to the stage for
opening remarks.>>>[ Clapping ]
>>>Thank you, we are hoping even
though this is a formal setting we hope to keep this a
conversation. I do want to provide a few highlights and
really focus on two things. Some of the progress we have made in
1819 and some of the opportunities that we have
identified 419 and 20. I always come back to this circle because
it captures a lot of information. This is important
information about how our vision, when you start at the
center of the circle, you hear me talk about the vision and it
is a distinctive reputation that this university has. We provide
a broad demographic unit access to a high quality university
committed to the public good and I have
talked about the pillars that underpin that vision and provide
access. We strengthen access and make sure are not leaving
talents behind, connectedness, working with each other and with
our partners and the community locally and internationally.
Excellence and being the best we can at everything we do. If we
do this correctly and we maximize the impact we are
having, in the social, environmental, cultural,
well-being of the community we serve. This is reflected in the
middle at around that in the next group, those are seven
university academic planning priorities that we have been
trying to advance over the last five years. We are in the final
year of our 2015 to 2020 UAP. We are planning with the Provost
and thinking about the next five years. Around the outer circle
what are we trying to accomplish, in broad strokes?
What are our intended outcomes? Our intended outcomes are to
amplify our scholarship research and creative activities and
innovation and knowledge mobilization for maximum impact.
Our outcome is to really be innovative in how we think about
cross sector collaboration and working with partners locally
and internationally. Ultimately, it is about ensuring you are
graduating globally educated citizens that
are prepared for success in a rapidly changing world. Just released now is the
president annual impact report and that will be broadly
available. Importantly, in that document we
try to do a couple of things. We try to highlight a few successes
to capture the imagination of this university, and on the back
there is an insert where we are tracking particular outcomes
that we have promised to track, so that we know if we are making
the kind of progress we are hoping to make. There is always
a risk in giving highlights, for what you are leaving out. This
is a sample of some of the highlights I want to talk about.
We made a particular commitment over this last number of years
to be responsive to the truth and reconciliation report. We
developed framework and all of the different faculties and
divisions have been looking at what that means if we want to
create a welcoming and environment and increase
participation or not that is students, faculty and staff. I
am proud to say we have increased the percentage of our
indigenous students, for example we have new programs with
endogeneity. This is one example and we have been
thinking about how we meet the needs of mature learners and as
a society, over 50% of jobs are being impacted by automation and
artificial intelligence. The school of continuing studies, as
well as other continuing studies, we are increasing the
engagement and serving those needs, all part of thinking of
the full diversity of our student appellation.
Connectedness, again, really rate highlights. We have always
talked about Vista, but this demonstrates how we are working
with partners to maximize our impact. TD has also worked with
us. This is way too small to look at, so far I
have managed to do this from memory. I need to look at it
more closely. I also want to talk about for the time now
given where we are situated, we have been thinking about how we
are serving the city of Toronto, but with huge growth that has
been happening over the last number of years, we have plans
on how you think about the center and how it is changing.
We have been developing and expanding our area through our space. Now we have
courses being offered by a DMS in the IBM space, so we continue
to work with our partners to have our presence felt. We are
also talking with cities and venture lab about how we can
potentially create a healthcare center precinct here. We really
reach out into the community and I think this is an important
part about connectedness. This is not about staying on our own
campuses, this is about how we are moving out into the
communities we serve. Over this last period of time, we have
been undertaking university consultations, because we always
want to make sure we are connecting with everyone, about
what our priorities are and how we are making sure we are
putting those resources to the priorities that we all agree are
important for us, in terms of advancing vision. Excellence, we
talk about the multitude of different ways in which this
university has demonstrated excellence. We do things in a
distinct way and everyone of course is taking explanation
education. We have a broad definition and this includes
everything from simulation all the way through to internship
co-op, community-based research and we have this innovative
degree which is a combination partnership, with engineering
that allows students to spend a significant amount of time
working in teams on problems in this company and mirroring that
with academic lessons. We could talk about this as well, and I
want to emphasize this in terms of some of the infrastructure
that has been built. We have expansions and renovations of
our Park and science labs. There are many examples we can talk
about, can as physiology being ranked as one of the top schools
in the world. These are a few examples and you can read the
chart on top behind me. As we do all of that , we are starting to be
recognized for exactly what we say we are about, which is our
impact. In the most recent times higher education we ranked fifth
in Canada and 26 in the world. This is a reflection of the
University that we want to be. I am remiss if I do not mention
the fact that we now have a network of centers of excellence
in the area of youth homelessness and social
innovation. Again this is one example that not only is York
looking at scientific and technological innovation, but we
are a leader in the area of social innovation. I do want to talk about our
university rankings. This is not everything and we also know
there are certain flaws and rankings, but we have had some
challenges over the last year and I think it is incredible that
through all of our hard work of the people in this room and
across the University, we have never let us lost our
reputation. I like these three indicators because they talk
about quality, which we have been able to maintain highest
quality. Most innovative , we did drop down there and
that is something we need to give attention to because we
want to be innovative. We are well and the top half of
universities. I particularly like the leaders of tomorrow,
and we want to graduate these globally educated citizens who
think about impact around the world and the fact that we
improved our ranking by 4, between last year and this year
is quite impressive. Some of our programs are in the top 10 and I can add others to the
list. We have had a great deal of success this last year and this is a momentum that we
have had dating back to the white paper of 2010, over the
last 9 years. We want to consolidate as much progress as
we can make in this final year, as we start thinking about the
next 5 years. This university we have a strong planning culture.
We believe and having a center approved university academic
plan that lays out the vision and our mission and top
priorities. To make sure we are moving forward with these
priorities, every division and faculty has their own
operational plan which we call the resource plan, IRP. People
specify objectives and they take these priorities for. They also
talked about expected outcomes and metrics of success are
looking at to make sure we are making this successful. There is also an advantage to
think about what we need to do institutionally to be supporting
it and bringing together all of those different divisional
faculty and area unit plans. The group, we identify 16 objectives
which we thought would really benefit and support those
individual and local plans, if we took an institutional lens. Those 16 objectives on the
right-hand side are linked directly to the 7 priorities in
the academic plan. As we look forward we are starting to
think, in these objectives, what are some opportunities that we
have do not only continue the momentum but to really forge
ahead? We have success with education, and innovation is one
of those objectives, however even though we have had some
success, York University has ranked 15th out of 15 at the
comprehensive universities. This is a problem, why is it students
are not recognizing that they are in Expo national activities
or we need to expand and increase? This is a huge
opportunity for our students when you think about the fact
that over 60% of our students work part-time, giving them an
opportunity to bridge career networking and work experience
with academic studies can make an enormous difference for our
students, not to mention how it impacts learning. I will talk
about this, and continuing to intensify our scholarship
research and creative activities. Thinking about
employee engagement, really developing a sense that we are
all on the same team and working together this is in Ontario and
Canada. We could make more progress
internationally. We talk about being a global University and
where are we situated in the globe? How are we insuring
attracting international staff and faculty but we are also giving students
an opportunity to have this opportunity somewhere around the
world. I am not going to go around all of these personalized
student services for student population. That can make a huge
impact for us and these build on our strengths
to move the diversity for. I want to pause here, not all of
you attend Senate and have the opportunity on this campus.
Yesterday, the board of governors, was that yesterday?
Tuesday, yes. I missed a day, yesterday. Tuesday, the board of
governors supported your universities new business model
for going at head of campus. Some of you remember 2014 when
the government first put out the call for the need for new
campuses looking at gross of students in York region in
particular. York was the only university whose proposal was
accepted amongst 19 proposals that were submitted. We are well
aware that when the provincial government changed they withdrew
the funding for capital. We really felt that to let this
idea go, when we had a $25 million commitment from the
region, and $50 million land contribution, we had already put
down a path for philanthropy for donor contribution, we already
have a 10 minute dollar gift not to mention the resources we
would leverage locating York region , this was an idea that was too
important for the overall ability to continue to advance
our plan, and to create additional space and resources
that we needed to support new program development, new faculty
implement. Complement. The location of that campus, if you
do not know in Markham Center, it is one of the fastest-growing
areas anywhere in Ontario. I am not sure I have done the
Canadian assessment, but potentially in Canada. Some people have said can we
just continue to grow York? The challenge and why we felt that
Markham makes more sense, it goes back to the issue I said
before about not assuming that everyone will come to you, about
the value of us going out into the community. Everyone at the
municipalities has in the secondary plan university. We
want to be the University that is going to help those
municipalities grow, and that they see us as core partners.
This will allow us to utilize the athletic facilities that
already exist in Markham, the food services, the energy, the
parking spots, so this is a way to expand York University and
support new program development in a very cost-effective way. I
have mentioned some of the opportunities this poses for
York. I think the important piece is there will be an advantage to a
wide variety of different programs and faculties that are
coming there, thinking about where we have unmet capacity in
a program here, or, where do we want to develop a new program responsive to the socioeconomic
needs of Markham, specifically and York region were generally.
We also think it will be credibly helpful for us in terms
of positioning York relative to the new mandate agreement 3, in
the metrics we will measure importantly, the business model
was designed to ensure that while we were growing Markham
for the benefit of York at large, we will also be able to
maintain the important investment needed on these
campuses as we move forward. The next step is now to advance the
process with the government and of course we reengage the entire community
on the governance model now, on the academic programming and we
have gone down that path already. We obviously need to
reengage the community the goal is to open the doors by 2023.
The final element I want to comment on before inviting
others to join me is the SMA 3 . When we think about moving
forward and we look at the unique contribution that this
university continues to make, we should never turn our eyes away
from the external context, what is happening, what are other
universities doing, what is our relationship with the
government. We know that this government is moving forward and
is using a performance based model of funding so that over
time a total of 60% of the grant money that they funded to us
will be tied to metrics. They have determined the metrics
themselves, for the most part, although they have engaged us in
how to operationalize those metrics. We have some say in
what those metrics look like I would not say that those metrics
are ideal, they are reliable in the sense that they are easy to
measure, for the most part. In terms of validity and measuring
the richness of what universities do, from our point
of view it is essential we stay on course with our own vision,
our own priorities, and we are strategic as we ensure to meet
these metrics we do not want to lose our funding. We approach what we value. We
work together with colleagues about how we can best strategize
on ensuring that we continue to advance metrics. One point with
all of this is we have some say in slight durations and weight
of the metric. Each university and college is to be evaluated
against it on baseline. This is opposed to being compared to
others, so there is room, no matter what the starting point
is on the metrics, for any university to think about
education, this is one important goal for us and it happens to be
one of the metrics. To the extent that we can align what
matters to us with those metrics, that is the task. This
is the brief overview, to highlight opportunities that I
think we have in 2019 and 20, and beyond, that I very much
hope will inform the development of the new academic plan. I am
firmly of the view that York University has been a bit ahead,
where the rest of the entire higher education system goes and
I have evidence of this when I sit around tables and people are
talking about community engagement and social innovation
as though these are new concepts. We are a leader in these areas
so I believe York University has a significant role to continue
to play in higher education, especially as we see that two
thirds of all new emerging jobs are going to require higher
education and we know how the entire economy is being
impacted, as I have said by technology and therefore the
important role that universities play in ensuring our students
are prepared in Canada, and we remain competitive. Thank you
very much.>>>[ Clapping ]>>>I will ask now that the vice
presidents join us on stage.>>>[ Captioners Transitioning ] We have an open, honest and
positive dialogue with tone , I ask we all keep that in mind
as we engage today in a conversation. We in the room
have several roving microphones. There we go. A green and an
orange in the room . those roving microphones are
here to make sure your question is heard. If you do have a
question make yourself visible to me and I will indicate that a
microphone should be sent to you. If you are with us on
webcast or from grinned and, take advantage of the twitter
has taught, hashtag to ask questions. And you will be fed
those questions while I am up here and able to task on your
behalf. So we will begin. I will begin with the pre-submitted
question. A question represented by two student questions that
came in by email in advance of the town hall. We
will start with what is the University currently doing to
mitigate one of the most important issues of the current
client change. Necessary to mitigate changes as soon as
possible. Are there plans to help address
climate change emergency by making York a carbon free
campus? >>
>>I will mention just recently I asked the vice president of
finance administration if she would take, how York can
continue to lead in this area of climate change.
It is obviously one of the most urgent problems facing the world
today. I am proud York University has been recognized
as a greenest employer for seven years in a row. That
there is way more to be done by thinking about how we actually
attack specific deliverables and targets. Carol.
>>This is an area I am passionate about . I hope I won’t run on too long
but a few statistics. You may not know York has reduced its
carbon emissions by 30% since 2007, at the same time
increasing our square footage by about 30%. That is a feat in and
of itself. We don’t always celebrate things we’ve already
accomplished. I think that is an important thing for us all to
know. And that president sustainability Council
is an important advisory group, represented by faculty staff
members community members, and is. Vitus, provides us a
strategic plan formed by the president, with a strategy in
three areas. People, how we change our behavior, how we as
people contribute to sustainability, answering to the
climate change emergency. And talking about energy use,
reducing our footprint upon the world, as we think
about the spaces we build for ourselves, do we need them as
big, as intensive, or can we bring the outside in more or
lower the footprint. And knowledge. This is an area
of the University has always led. And the VP academic Provost
could speak more eloquently but certainly York is a leader in
educated, education, environmental studies and
enhancement of sustainability. Just of speak specifically to
the president’s request, that we have been discussing with the
objective specifically, by the end of this year, this fiscal
year, academic year, we develop specific targets for carbon, for
York University . through consulting and collaborative processes, but I will engage
with you and others across the community soon to talk about how
we set those targets. One question specifically was are we looking towards carbon
neutrality. We see other universities have neutrality by
2050 as a goal. That is aggressive and one that I would
be surprised if our community says is achievable. I am very
happy that we are on that path. >>Is there a question in the
room? As we tee up a question in the room, I will go to another
question. But please, let’s take this opportunity. Here is a
question from a staff member that was submitted in advance.
How is York encouraging its community, the active
participants in making our democracy a functional one?
>>Again, I will ask one of my, the VPs to comment on this.
Because we have slightly different takes I think,
complementary. I want to say something about a theme or
fundamental pillar of democracy. Which is around the role that
universities play. In freedom and speech. Freedom of speech
requires that we actually, civilly enter in to an
engagement where we listen to each other. And understand what the other is
saying, what they are afraid of, what is driving anger. And try
to look for opportunities to reconcile those differences. We
have talked for a very long time , but not at University, if not
where is there another forum that gives us that chance to be
persuasive and backed up by our research,
to try to actually solve some of the issues around the world. And
that is a fundamental pillar of engaging in advancing and
protecting democracy. I want to say that now at this particular
time because even quite recently on campus, people can quickly
start to enter into a type of engagement where civility gets
lost. It is only about protecting my own right to speak
and not protecting the others right to speak. We have to each
take responsibility for listening to the other, if
universities are going to continue to advance democracy. I
will turn it over for additional comments.
>>Hello everyone. I welcome this
question because I think it is so close to the core of what
universities have to offer society. Is helping people, all
of us are part of a community, especially our students.
Developing art independent thinking abilities, our independent thinking abilities
to engage and understand differences around the world. And so I think especially a
university like York that has such strong social sciences,
humanities, disciplines, professional studies, right. We
submit in some ways specialize and scrutinize the
ideas that need to be debated in democracy. A wonderful question.
I think we do this all day every day in some senses . some
particular things I have been impressed by a recently in the York University
libraries, some issues around digital literacy to help people
understand the phenomenon of fake news, fake academic
journals. How can we be critical consumers of media in the
digital age, when the platforms are exploding, the sources
aren’t always clear. A wonderful program
libraries have done. We also have quite a number of faculty
and students . there’s a particular initiative in grad
studies for instance, to produce podcasts, videos, blogs, commentaries. Various ways to
get ideas and real analysis out there in the wider public spears
. we can expand the audience that is looking for
well-informed commentary to inform the thinking and help
them decide about voting or what they think about some of the big
issues. Finally what I will say is part of the academic renewal
exercise, already in the sentence APP RC committee,
talking about how we will go about that. One idea that has
surfaced, that I think is quite interesting, a lot of people
like. We try to orient our next University academic plan work
around grand challenges . societal challenges that our university with its
distinctive strengths might especially be able to contribute
to. Through our teaching, our research, our community
activities. The way we run our campus. In everything that we do . The promotion of democracy,
enabling of democracy, might very well be a good example of
one such grand challenge that a university like York is
well-positioned to contribute to. I welcome the question and
thank you for giving me a chance to think about it.
>>I just thought I would make a
quick comment as well about York’s contribution to
democracy. This is through our students who are very active of
course . and become the alumni. People may not realize there is
something like 40 or 45 York alumni running in this current
federal election. We have many alumni that held positions in
the various parties in various governments at all levels. We
really see that ripple effect of what happens on the campus . The discourse, learning,
contributions to democracy in a way that carries on for many
years. So look on some of the bios of some of the candidates
in the election, and you find York alumni there.
>>We have a question around the green microphone.
>>Hello everyone. I am a student, a graduate student
here, I also attended York University as an undergrad but
this might be ambitious but do you think York University could
be among the top five universities in the coming years
? And how do you think we can get there. And what can students
do to help the University get there?
>>I want to say that it is always best to try to look
at your position right now and plot out how you think you can
move that ranking. When you’re over the next. Every talking
about the top five, that question matters very way, very
much but the top five in Canada it’s a very different question
than the top five in the world rankings. But just answer your
question, which I do think we cannot afford to ignore. There
are ways. And when I look at the rankings I am totally purse
perplexed about where some universities, where York is
after. Like on objective measures, it makes no sense. I
think it’s important to understand rankings. How you can
actually make sure we have captured everything this
university does. I don’t think York does a good enough job at
capturing everything that we do. And ways in which we can take
some steps, simple steps like putting every faculty member CV
on academic, that allows others to much more easily capture the
articles that people home for books that capture
articles people are publishing and link to them. And exciting,
people like strategies, that universities have done. We
should take advantage of all those strategies. But we want
people to know about what we are doing our work and how we can
actually find ways to make sure that people do know that I am
confident, if we give attention to that we would see our
rankings improve. Items that activities can do, first of all
the students themselves to publish and are actively engaged
in research, RTA’s. In the TA workshops, looking for ways they
can introduce experiential education activities. All of
these factors impact directly, rankings. So a comprehensive
collaborative effort we need to be thinking about. Much of it is
located in those 16 objectives. Opportunities that I identify,
if we fully capture, and move those 16 along, it would have a
positive impact on our ranking. I absolutely believe there’s no
reason why York University should not be one of the top
ranked in the top five in Canada universities. I think world
ranking is a bit of a longer-term strategy when you
think about all those new universities, also pouring into
the list every year. But that doesn’t
mean we shouldn’t be trying to improve the ranking on the world
list as well. I don’t know if any of my colleagues want to go
ahead. >>I just want to echo the
statement. And also an additional element about
ranking. The University as a whole ranking is important. But each issue ranking, when the
student chose a university, they look at University ranking.
Many of them are looking for majors, the discipline they want
to take. Talk about discipline. The report already shows we are
number four for business. Already in the top five. In the
research program, independent research program, already ranks
number one in Canada. The Canada first in excellence
award. We are already in the top five,
some the top one. So I really want to see every discipline
make a contribution to the University . with the discipline
ranking at the University ranking
>>We have another one in the room. How about we queued that
up while I answer a question that came in over email . I will
answer that but and ask another question about the SME three.
Can a president talk about the SME three and discuss what
premier has outlined and what this means for York.
>>We have had some good community
consultations recently about SME three. So I’m happy to speak
about this. Some of you will already know there is a fairly
short list of 10 performance metrics that the current
government has set out. One of them we get to choose, with some
flexibility in terms of it needs to speak to the economic impact.
But we can choose what, how we want to measure that. So the
metrics include things like the number of graduating
students or fourth-year students who have taken a course with the
required experiential education component. Our share
provincially of tri-counsel, agency research income. There is
also some outcome metrics for students after they leave
the University . graduation rates. The number of students
who say they are employed in a related field, related to their
studies in six months, two years . employment salaries has been
one of the more controversial methods included in the list.
Industry funded research is another item in the list. A
range of things but certainly they don’t capture everything York is or does, or
everything that is part of our vision. It is important that we
articulate a principle that we must continue to pursue our own
vision priorities. Always driven first and foremost by that weird
we have to be conscious of, and informed by, the provincial
funding terms and conditions because we need that funding to
support the full breadth and richness of activities we do at
the University. There is I think a bit of a gap between the
performance system what it looks like when you first look at it . And when you dig down a little
bit. As the president mentioned in her opening remarks, there is
up to 60% of funding within five years, subject to these metrics.
However we are being measured against our own historical
performance. The goal is continuous improvement. If we
can show that sort of steady improvement by investing for
instance as we have been, and experiential education, and that
has been growing. We continue to steadily grow that. I think we
should do just fine and we might want to indeed think about
waiting that more on the heavier side. Others are less easily in
the grass to control. So I think many of the things we
are arty focused on in terms of student retention, student
support, making sure students can complete their studies and
have the academic supports they need, the social supports. Those
things we already care about. And perhaps doubling down that
effort means we will also have a more positive outcome on our
metrics. So we are going to be doing the we are in the midst of
actually a very thorough review of our own historical
performance in each of these areas. To identify where we
think we might have a good confidence level . where we
might think we have vulnerability. What we can do to
mitigate that . what we can do to support a strong performance
on those measures. And we have to see how it operates. That is
the other piece, until we see it in operation we
are not going to know for sure exactly where we might need to
make adjustments. And when we see the first evaluation, should
be next fall, we will be doing a deep dive of the analysis. If we
lost any funding on any metrics, how can we intervene to change
that and another positive element of the SME three, is a
funding life, loss if any is one year. So a continued improvement path the
next year your full funding is restored. There are ways to
manage this so we have our eyes on ensuring we do as well as we
can. >>Thank you.
>>A question from the room. >>Yes, I am a senior citizen
and master student in environmental studies at York. I
wanted to ask a question about the mark earth center campus. If she will be looking from the
beginning to building smart buildings, it’s easier to build
smart buildings than trying to retrofit stupid buildings. And
thinking in terms of the present vote to innovation not coming up
as a strong suit for York. >>Let me say one comment. That
from the very get-go, there was three very strong principles or
themes that we wanted to address . one was accessibility. Being thoughtful with
accessibility. In the Jenay Eddie. And sustainability. We
wanted to ensure all of the buildings that be put up, that
we are trying to maximize the innovation to minimize our
carbon impact. So yes, of course that was all part of the design
of the building and then we pause for a little while. Now we
have to pick that up. Being able to pick it up will maybe afford
the opportunity to do something a bit enhanced of what we are
already doing. I will say we were informed and there were
consultations. And you had it right. But then a group saying
you haven’t really thought about that. So the building involved, in a beautiful way, based on
broad input from the entire community.
>>There is a question at the back. If we can get a microphone
there. >>I wear several hats at York and
I also teaching him the entities where I focus on experimental
education. In both capacities with the leadership team, I see
for for capstone classrooms.
Challenges that the new strategic plans are looking at.
Strategic challenges. I was also happy to see recently terms of
press across faculty initiatives. Can you speak about
what you envision for cross faculty programming courses,
collaborations, might be in the future of York University.
>>Go ahead and >>Thank you so much. I think
that is Caroline Steele. Great question. If anybody
hasn’t heard about C for it’s an unbelievably new teaching
initiative as a capstone project that will be cross faculty . Students from any faculty in
any program in any stage of study can find out through an
independent study course to be part of a team, that will work
on an issue or problem, research project, that has been submitted
by an outside agency. They will actually learn from the outside
agency in one of the most pollution probe, 16 other ones who have asked for a team of
students to work on a problem with them. They will be
supervised by two faculty members, different disciplines,
so a very cool, innovative project. I would love to see
more of that . I think were all baiting to see more from the
first iteration. In terms of cross faculty programs. We did
the piece of work last year trying to articulate guidelines
for colleagues who want to do collaborative programming that
crosses faculty lines. The interdisciplinary as we are in
spirit and intellectually. We still have to deal with
administrative structures. People are assigned to one unit
or another, and how do you get together and teach in an area
that really no one discipline can address by itself. I think
increasingly we recognize we need to think about across
disciplines with teams to collaborate. We came up with
guidelines to which all the Dean’s happily
endorsed. To say to the community, we will find a way .
the most important thing is a strong academic idea about new
interdisciplinary programs. Ways of putting together for instance
a major in one area with a minor in another. Or a new idea about how to
expose students to more to get them working together . that we
will work out things like program governance. We will work
out how the budget works . and there are ways to negotiate this that don’t have to stick with
rigid rules about how the budget model works. And the most
important thing is that we don’t lose those opportunities. That
is often the most elevated, academic spaces we have a
working together. And so the whole point was
really to encourage that. We have some excellent work going
on now around environmental science. A new neuroscience
program that’s a collaboration of three different units. We
have a digital media program collaboration. And they are working with one
program that students can come into from different entry points
and that allows those students to mix, to study together, but
to choose their own emphasis. More of an engineering technical person, or more of the
creative type person, you need the other element in there as
well . I guess my vision is we would come more and more
creative and imaginative . and less and less inhibited about thinking across faculty
boundaries and more excited and engaged working with each other
in this incredible wealth of opportunities we have at York
University. >>I want to add something. It
is such a great question. Because if you go back to that
one slide that has all of the strategic opportunities for the
future. Program innovation and flexibility. And how we put
together credentials, is a huge opportunity for the University .
York always understood the importance of interdisciplinary
and increasingly as we think about the problems we are faced
with in society. That interdisciplinary collaboration
is so crucially important. And those universities that can
really start to imagine what is possible, with combined
credentials of all different kinds. Microbial credentials, a
certificate, diploma, a minor with degrees, dual degrees, for
how continuing studies even nondegree, could ladder into. Some advanced
standing credits for degree programs. That kind of
imagination which absolutely rest on collaboration
across faculties, is going to be huge in the future. I think that
is one potential opportunity to incubate some good ideas . At one campus it’s sometimes
easier when you’re developing programs from scratch to bake
that in. How can we think differently on a first year , or create more opportunities
for students to take an elective. We think about how
many of our students end up being entrepreneurs and start
out their own small companies did my own daughter is taking
clinical psychology PhD. She wants to be a clinical
psychologist. She informed me last week she and her partner
also medical psychologist, will open their own clinic. I said
that is great honey, what you know about marketing? Finance,
budgeting? And entrepreneurial certificate for her would be
fantastic. Another example of the huge opportunity that we
have. To demonstrate our leadership in
those kinds of flexible program combinations, that builds on
Yorks historic strength in interdisciplinary.
>>Thank you. >>Another question.
>>Hello everyone. I am a staff and a York alumni.
Thank you for your remarks. My question is concerning the
international students. A growing number of them . I would
like to know what initiatives the university takes to support
the current international students as well
as the graduates. Specifically in the area of cultural fluency,
soft skill development. International students, while
they possess characteristics for higher jobs,
when they are controlled for those characteristics, they earn
significantly less than Canadian students after graduation.
>>We might all have something to
say about this. I am not sure if our Dean of grad, there he is.
He might want to add something as well. I will say from the
start, York University has not chased international students as
some institutions have. To 40% of their student population,
faster than they can properly support . we took a very different
approach, if you are going to attract, which we do want to
attract international students because frankly is a
International Research in terms of comprehensive
university, we want the brightest minds from all over
the world. We obviously care about having a robust
international student base. But our view was always that you had
to grow international at a pace at which you are thinking about,
what are the proper student supports that you will need to
ensure success. Of those students. And we set a good
balance we thought for the institution to be around 20%
internationals. That is not fixed in a hard number. But that
seem to be the capacity we felt we could provides proper
support. This links in with the general approach of really
trying to think of a more personalized approach to student
services . we do have an incredibly diverse student
population, both undergraduate and grad. Different persona,
different needs. One set of student services is
not what another set of students need. We know many international
students actually end up staying in Canada and contributing to
the economy. By the time they have done their degree if they need it to strengthen
English language skills, they have had an opportunity to do
so. They have gotten credentialed, they have gotten
work experience, to exponential education. Incredibly positioned
to really contribute to Canada. Could we be doing more? I
actually think you can always be doing more. We continue through
the global engagement strategy to actually talk to students, to
think about what we could do more . and we have underway
right now the support by the Provost and the new executive
director, and international engagement counsel process,
around how more by York needs to be done to
ensure rich, you robust, comprehensive international
organization strategy that’s thinks about attracting students , increasing international
activities, serving our 315,000 alumni that live and work around
the world. How do we expand and nurture International Research
collaboration. And I think it will be some good
recommendations that will come out of that consultation that is
underway right now. If you want to learn more about that maybe
circle back to one of us at the end. Thank you for that
question. >>I would agree with everything
the president has said, especially the part about
there’s always more we can do . I think we are looking hard at
some unmet needs right now, in terms of how we can continue to grow into change our
assumptions about a student’s need. Increasingly we have this
great diversity of international students that might have a
different set of needs then we were used to 10 years ago, 15
years ago or 20 years ago. One of the things we have done
concretely quite recently is that open up the study to both
domestic and international students. There used to be a
different differentiator, that is been a
positive measure. We increase the staff in the York
international area immigration advisors, other support staff,
people are still working on that. And lots of listening and
consultation about what more we can be doing. I think just
educating all of ourselves about the different parts of the world
, people are coming from. The challenges that people can face , for instance a sudden change
in the value of the currency in their home country. How that
changes overnight, their financial capacity. Making sure
we have the first three scholarships, emergency
available. In the gamut of other issues.
I’m not sure whether undergraduate side whether Tom
wanted to comment. >>[indiscernible- static]
>>That is another issue that is
really important to us at grad. This is one of the, it is coming
things. Last year and this year we undertook a competence of
survey of what exist, only to find what is lacking. So we are
revamping the entire graduate postdoctoral professional skills
program, to coordinate what exist on campus, but also to
advertise it. There are lots of individualized, sideload
services, that you never know. A coordinating element to it. And
we build on top of that, the kinds of needs students have.
And created for individualized type of programs. You working
with a supervisor can choose what is needed for you. Which
will be different from somebody else. That is coming. By early next year to be up and
running. We will help you through it.
>>Thank you. Please. >>And to mention the 315 soon to
be 325,000 alumni after the next cycle of graduating students. We
have always had some programming around career development, in
conjunction with the career center, several of the colleagues from
the career center and alumni engagement team are here today.
We also have recent surveys of the alumni getting more
information about what people are looking for, what they need. Certainly career help is a high
on the list. With an increasingly international group
of alumni as well. How do we look for opportunities to expand
and build . this is where again we have done some things, some
well, there certainly much more we can do. And looking for that
specific ways to work in the frameworks that already exist
here to expand that to include alumni and have the alumni help
those students as they are graduating, indeed while they
are still here. Certainly that is something very much on our
agenda as well. >>A lot of viewpoints on that
answer. If there’s another one in the room we will get that
queued up . I would ask if the green microphone could come down
. I will ask a question I received by email. About the
sharp budget model. This is for a faculty colleague, Shar
prepares to sacrifice education to budget balancing. Course
after course canceled. This affects the faculty as you are
protected from salary loss. And protects students. And it
affects interdisciplinary practice as far non-music majors
, no longer taking individual course instruction. So please could we evaluate the
sharp model of students in education and mind, did it is a
comment ready, really a comment but
>>I want to say something about this because I find frequently
that two different things related. One is on the one hand,
whatever particular budget model you happen to have, that
specifies the funds that come into the University, and how
those funds are disbursed. Versus the need to balance a
budget. Which you have to do no matter what the budget model.
That you have in place. Going back to 2008, 2009, the economic
downturn, as many universities, York
really struggled. We were clearly in need of more than the
revenue we were bringing in . that started to peak and become
an urgent crisis by 2013. When the university was heading
towards and $80 million plus negative carry forward. A
structural deficit. That is worse. To carry a structural
deficit. The gap between the revenue and
the expenditures, starting to approach $80 million. We hit a
wall with the board, saying where is the University heading.
So we started to undertake what are we going to do as an
institution to get ourselves on solid footing. In some
universities, per year you are never allowed to spend more than
you have. We have to balance every year. We had allowed this
situation to occur where people were having that deficit occur.
So we undertook a number of reviews that were painful at the
time I have to say. But faculties and divisions started
to really look at what could we be doing to actually put
ourselves in a position of strength. So we could take the
resources that we do have and try to align those with building
our universities. The sharp budget model was in response to
some of the complaints we heard. When we started to do the review
with the budget, Colleen said frankly we have no why who gets money anyhow. It is not
transparent. We don’t get the money we make, we are giving it
to someone else. Under the old budget model, it is very hard to
see where exactly the money was coming in. The money came into
central. Year-over-year. Each faculty would get a certain
amount of money per student. It varied, different blocks. And
then sometimes special funds came in. And that was all rolled
up into people’s budgets. No one knew. Honestly it was becoming
counterproductive. For creativity and innovation.
Faculty after faculty, my own colleagues, I was Dean of,
talking about new budget programs. Why would we bother
creating a new graduate program . we will not see any of the
money from those graduate students. In response to those
challenges, lack of transparency, we move towards
the sharp budget model where everyone
would actually see, here is the money that comes into the
University. This is what faculties are getting per
student. This is a contribution to share services. If you take
actions in your faculty, that you want to do new programming,
you want to have a new program, you want to have some courses
that we know to be very attractive, bringing revenue and
to support smaller programs. You have that autonomy, that
flexibility because you know that you are going to keep that
new revenue that is going come in. So when classes are
canceled, it is not because of sharp . if units are canceling
cancel classes, because they have a problem between the
enrollment in those classes, a gap that is emerging that is too
large between the revenue and expenditures. And so if we want
to solve that problem. It’s not that it can’t be solved. Is the
solution just 2/. I never think the solution is to cut and we
see what that can get us into. But the issue here is how do you
invest differently, how do you organize differently, so you can
support good course diversity, even though some come maybe
perhaps every other year, some claw , small classes would be
offered. What are the solutions we can come up with that can
solve the reason why we have a problem with a gap occurring
between Avenue on the one hand, revenue on the one hand and
expenditures on the other. In the view we are undertaking we
are asking everyone in the community, as we go through
consultation after consultation, what more could we be doing to
actually enhance cross faculty collaboration. Are there
specific problems that are this incentives for new
programming. Obviously we want to collect those, for people to
be motivated to developing programs sent incentivizing
students, have broad course toys for the students. These are all
obligations we need to be pursuing. We have to figure out
how do we do that with the revenue that we have at hand. It
really is completely independent of whether you have a sharp
budget model, incremental budget model, or some other budget
model. The sharp budget model is much more transparent. It allows
for cross faculty or cross program subsidization did not
all programs or courses will be large. It allows for incentive
to do things, and hang onto the revenue. That’s why you see in
Canada, the US, University after University, moving towards these
more transparent budget models. So people can actually see where
the money is coming in, where is it going. In a good way. That’s
why we call the model a shared responsibility and
accountability model. We understand that the relationship
between the money you get from government, intuition, and the
way in which those formula work, they are not perfectly aligned
with the actual cost. Some programs got waited at high
level to get more money. It is up to the University to try to
look at that and make some corrections, so we are making
sure we are supporting high-quality programs, research,
student services, and other priorities important to us.
Thank you. >>Weighing in on that as well, the
question also speaks to the insecurity the contracts feel
about whether they have a position. When a course is
changed, when budgets are stressed, in particular units.
We had a very particular difficult strike last year. One
of the issues raised as a concern. It was much debated
during the strike and after. We spent quite a bit of time
last year really examining the composition of the faculty
confluent. Trying to get to the bottom of why is it that we have so
much of our teaching done by contract faculty, and so much
contract faculty who are not having the job stability they
would like to have. We uncovered a range of factors that
contribute to that situation. And one of the measures we’ve
taken in the response is to have a higher, large hiring year. I am pleased that about 22% of
those positions were obtained by members of Q P3 faculty members
through open searches. It is obvious we have excellent
contract faculty here and many units. They determine that a
contract member was the best candidate for one of those
positions. I am pleased that we are showing leadership at York
University, providing those opportunities for faculty to
apply for those positions. That said there is still lots of
contract faculty members that will be part of our
community, teaching our students. I’ve been talking to a
lot of people about the experience of getting a contract
faculty member at York University. Some of the ways
that people deal sometimes not recognized for the work they do.
Not valued for the work they do. Not supported in the work they
do adequately. So we are spending a fair bit of time
looking at how could we strike some of those pieces. So that
everybody who contributes is recognized as an important
member of the community and feels they are supported as best
we can in their work and thank you.
>>We had a question. >>Good afternoon and thank you
for the opportunity to ask a question. My question is about
sustainability. Not about energy, not about carbon . my
question is really, now with the Markham campus coming on, and
the University becoming more research intensive. As far as
resources and infrastructure basically cut to support this.
Has there been any discussions about the right size of this
University should be in terms of what is the right number to be
sustainable? When we compare it against the big cities of the
world, the cities that are considered the top 10, all under
3 million people. There’s reasons why Jakarta, son Powell
are not on the list. There is a point where you can’t squeeze a
10 family person into a five bedroom house. That is my
question, what is the right size for this University now or in
the long-term it >>Let me start off with that .
one of the additional factors about establishing a Markham out
in the community rather than just thinking about growing at
York. We actually, over the years spent quite a bit of time
debating that question about what is the right size for this
particular campus . the right size for Glendon. Undertaking
master planning activities to see how large the University
could get. We do still have available land. At the kill
campus we have a smaller amount of expansion possible. At the
Glendon campus. But when you look at our statistics compared
to any other university in Ontario, around how much space
in terms of infrastructure,, what is our square foot per
student. When you look at the size of the library facilities
for our students. Athletic facilities. You start to realize
if we are going to get much bigger, we will have to grow all
of that. So we are on the low side of some of those
statistics. So if you talk about how big you can get, can you
grow this campus, yes we could. But we could not grow the
student population bigger without growing all of those
other resources. If you are to stay competitive where the
sector standards are. Of course these are incredibly important
aspects of the entire student learning experience. Not to
mention the availability of research labs, both in studios,
for students but also faculty and so forth. So we are about
our maximum size now. We should be getting too much
bigger at this campus. When we first put in a bid for the
Markham campus, we felt that we could potentially add a few
thousand more students at this campus. But beyond that you
really have to start adding all of the additional infrastructure
. so if we wanted to grow new programming. If you wanted to
hire additional full-time complement, creating a campus in
Markham we didn’t have to build all that additional
infrastructure. It had local restaurants, a Pan Am pool, the
track. That we would partner with behind high school. We
would be able to leverage parking, the energies, a number of
resources already in Markham, incredible transportation system
. That we could leverage their, so we can focus on just putting
up the building we needed, for the actual sense. In a very
flexible format . that was quite the overall strategy for how we
could continue. Which could also benefit this campus. Or
potentially Glendon for a couple of reasons. Aside from
attracting students from that region to all the campuses. The
possibility, depending on how Markham eventually lands, there
could be some shifting, even at this campus which could
potentially open up different ways of thinking what
we are doing here. To incubate some ideas about how you use
space at the Markham campus that we could apply here. I don’t
know if Carol wants to add anything from her perspective on infrastructure. I
would say were a few thousand short of how much we could go
with this campus. >>Thank you, the only thing I
would like to add, what a great opportunity in Markham to build
the University campus of the future. That is really integrated in the
community. We leverage the resources already there. A
sustainable way of developing the University campus. Those are
the important points heard in terms of additional size,
looking at the demographics as well. Toronto’s explained,
expensive place to live. What about the new future, we find
students want to live at home and not have to move out. And a lot of the new families we
are serving in our communities also want their students closer
to home to support family life. If the University of education,
strategy is one more in the direction of going
out to where the students are, the needs are, and the industry
is that we support. The richness of the academic programs,
including deep experience all education opportunities. It’s
not just about the size and footprint, those are extremely
important aspects, but also the student of the future what they
are asking about. >>
>>Something occurred to me. The growth of the student
population, the faculty and staff population is one thing.
However we could think quite differently about the kill
campus, even though we do have some land. If we don’t need all
of the land strictly for the academic purposes . of course we
don’t want to rollout future, some people would say we need
another science and engineering building. We don’t want to use
up all the land . but we could be seeing it created really,
different development on this land that could help expert
ritual education. Research collaboration. For example we
could have a research park, innovation Park, or long-term
care facility that would create experiential
education opportunities for psychology, social work,
kinesiology for example . there are things we could do. One of
the initiatives that we are starting this year, some of you,
how many of you remember lands for learning . around for those
original consultations. Kickstarting a conversation
around that lands for learning again. Because we want to start
thinking about what are creative opportunities that we could use
our land, not talking selling by the way. I’m not a big seller of
land. But collaborating or whatever, that we could actually
utilize the land that would not only advanced research
collaboration, innovation, exponential education but
potentially revenue. >>Thank you. Do we have another
one, go ahead. >>Thank you for the information.
My question is for Carol. Some of the buildings on campus, they
are almost abandoned but we have to maintain them. So we keep
building more infrastructure but we don’t maintain some of the
old buildings like the Burton auditorium. Is there any plans
to reconstruct some of the old spaces? Beautiful spaces in the
past. >>I would love to answer that.
I will go back to what we heard when we did budget consultations
last year. We heard loud and clear from the whole community
the different maintenance is a major issue. It not only
impacted our ability to use spaces but it impacted how we
you feel about ourselves, how we engage with the University .
some spaces didn’t look like we cared very much. In reaction to
that our board tabled the budget last year, doubling the budget.
$18 million per year. The backlog is more like $350
million. So it’s not that it is going to get us there in a short
term. But it recognizes that in constrained times, reflecting at
the same time we took it 10% rollback. At the same time the
senior administration and board agreed we would double the
investment to coordinate. That is an important point. With
respect to spaces like the Burton auditorium. I know that
space specifically covers a lot of legend about why that space
is closed. I’m always interested when I asked the experts that those are really
the reasons why it is closed, but there are health and safety
issues. We have to look at that as a space. Right now many of
you know we had a $20,000,000.05 year program to enhance the
classroom spaces. We are well underway and that planning
process. Burton auditorium might be one of those spaces. To see
if it’s economical to reinvest and reopen. That is one I am also hoping we
can bring back into the community. I think importantly,
the very important part of the question is we need to have
pride in the facilities, the spaces we move throughout. I’m hoping we will see
significant changes because of the investments the University
has decided to make >>We are down to the last few
minutes so this could be the last question . I would like to give it to a
student. The student asked what plans are you considering to
make the campus more inviting with the social staff, students
and faculty. >>You know, I know we as a
community went through some pain , , I am a gold user myself. It is
quite different to get off the front of the building I work in
or having to get off at seventh. However with that has allowed us
to do is how we use that space. I know there’s other spaces as
well but this one is a pet for me. We are embarking on the
process of reimagining how we use that space. One of the
fundamental ideas in the campus master plan is to be pedestrian
friends to move through our spaces on foot. Or bicycles .
not having to dodge a particular traffic. So I think as we have
gotten used to buses being off-campus . used to the
introduction of the use of the subways , how we move through and onto
the campuses differently. We have the opportunity to think
about the common. One of the things we are talking about now a small group engaged in the
question. Should we start programming the space, inviting
things to happen, to see what comes out of it. Or should we
build it and hope they come to the space. I would be interested
in the rest of the community’s feedback as we consider that
point. To start using it . you will see picnic tables for
example, heavily used almost immediately, I don’t know where
those people were before. But now they are there and that is
fantastic. We can add more small little amenities like that . and
see how the community decides to develop that space. It is one
but I know it’s pretty important and central space.
>>We have time for little bit more.
>>I think one of the things, maybe I should introduce myself.
I am the newest VP with the team. I have been charged with
the responsibility for setting up a new division around equity,
people and culture. When I think about creating better places and bases for students, I don’t
think about just the physical spaces. But I think enhanced
physical spaces are kind of critical. One of the things I
think about when I look at institutions is people are at
the core of everything we are doing. And we really need to be
paying attention to relationships, strengthening
relationships and working across sectors. Part of my role here is
to be looking at issues around equity, diversity, inclusion .
we are working with the Center for human rights, equity and
inclusion. But also bringing together whole labor relations
files, and human resources. We are in a better position to service the communities that
are so important to us. I wanted to add that piece to kind of
balance off the discussion around physical space with the
importance that we also play some people who are of critical
importance to this institution. >>Thank you.
>>They asked for time to let one
more question happen, she had her hand up a long time. Let’s
do it here >>Thank you so much. I wanted
to go back briefly to the question about capacity and
growth. There has of course been a lot of anxiety and humanities
and the arts programs. With increasing enrollment. Many of
us have been involved in extensive rethinking,
reimagining exercises to see how we can impact more students. It
has created an anxiety driven exercise. Just given the fact
that provincial funding, at least right now, is no longer
linked to the student enrollment numbers. Whether or not there is
a greater commitment from the University, to commit into
supporting and acknowledging liberal arts programs that are
smaller. So focusing not so much on
numbers as on quality and student experience.
>>I think that is a great question. To end the session on,
thank you so much for asking it . most of you know I’m a liberal
arts person myself, a sociologist by training. And
have always fundamentally believed that creativity rest,
I’m not saying the others are not, don’t create . But the arts, humanities, social sciences play
such an incredibly important role. And we see that ourselves,
understanding the impact of technological and scientific
innovation. You have to understand the human component.
When you look at these vastly interdisciplinary approaches
about how the arts, the humanities, they can be aligned
to you see programs now, digital humanity. So much rich
opportunity for overlap. And frankly we also just need people
that want to major, who continue to be the authors, the artist,
the sociologist, critical scientist. I will not name them
all. This University, this is a strength, a historical strength,
existing strength. I would hope that we have never been so
driven by numbers, that we ever gave the message that just
because a program was small, that we shouldn’t support it. It
may well be the case that you’re only going to ever have a
certain number of people who might specialize in a field.
Often physics has given the example. For very small
programs. We want to be driven by quality, by what we value by
our priorities. I have no problem making a commitment to that,
answering yes to that question. I think you are spot on in
identifying that we actually have an opportunity with, one of
the pluses or advantages, of grant transfer money, moving a
bit away from just thinking about enrollment. And actually
being linked, especially if you linked to metrics we care about
. graduation rates, retention. Employment of the students. We
care about that that we would not say it’s
always a completely straight line. Exponential education.
Scholarship. These are metrics that we value. That we are
linked to, priorities we value. We have an opportunity right now
to wean ourselves off of little just thinking about enrollment.
How we can actually use this time to focus on enhancing our
quality . excellence is one of the
pillars, right there in the University academic plan. I want
to say that I do think we have to pay attention to the
revitalization of the liberal arts. I do believe we have to
help students understand better about the value of liberal arts.
How that does connect to a huge plethora of opportunities in
life. I think we could do being a better job at that. But I also
think it’s a tremendous opportunity we should not
squander. To really focus on quality.
>>Thank you . I’m afraid that is all we have time for
today. The conversation does not end here. If you submitted a
question by email or twitter, the office is committed to
responding to those, we will get back to you directly with those
questions. Also an opportunity for a short reception in the
CIBC lab. Feel free to meet us there. The panel will make their
way to the lounge, and there’s refreshments for a little bit of
time together. I would like to end by thanking you for joining
us today. Thank you for your thoughtful questions, those we
received about email, Twitter, those in the room . I hope we
can continue this discussion as part of the your community.
Thank you, goodbye. [applause] >>
[Event concluded]