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Task Force on Long-Term Enrolment Strategy

Final Report - March 13, 2008


This is the final report from the Task Force on Long Term-Enrolment, formed as part of the ‘Towards 2030’ long-term planning process at the University of Toronto. This is one of six Task Forces that have been asked by the President to examine what transformations need to take place by the year 2030 for the University of Toronto to achieve its aspirations of excellence at the highest levels.

Today, the University faces many challenges and constraints, particularly in resources. It is clear that if these constraints continue, little would change. Hence, rather than focusing on current challenges, the Task Force understood its mandate to be an exploration of what the University aspires to become and what is needed to realize these aspirations.


As outlined in the Towards 2030 Planning Document, the University of Toronto is at a ‘critical juncture’ in terms of long-term planning for the University’s student enrolment. Our priority to provide a high quality educational experience, when considered in the light of large increases in forecasted demand for post-secondary education in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), make it imperative that we formulate our long-term enrolment institutional goals so that upcoming planning decisions can be made.

Consideration of enrolment issues and strategies relates broadly to the other task forces, but particularly to the Task Forces on University Resources and Institutional Organization. It is clear that enrolment plans have to be consistent with resources and available funding. It is also clear that there is a consistent and strong desire that the U of T remain a three-campus university. As such, matters relating to planning of enrolment growth and academic programming at the University relate directly to the institutional organization of the university.

The Task Force focused on the specific items included in its scope, including considerations of:

  • Target enrolment scenarios for each campus
  • Mix and balance by campus
  • Graduate and undergraduate balance
  • Types of degrees
  • Sources of students and recruitment strategies
  • Breadth of disciplines across the institution

Overview of Task Force and Mandate

The membership of the Long-Term Enrolment Task Force included Brian Corman (Chair), Safwat Zaky (Vice-Chair), Don Dewees, Yannick Portebois, Diane Crocker, Mahadeo Sukhai, Saswati Deb, David Cook, Tim Reid, John Coleman, Helen Lasthiotakis (Secretary).

The working group met eleven times over the course of the winter and spring and reviewed data and documentation relating to the enrolment history of the university as prepared by members of the Committee and by the Office of Planning and Budget. The Task Force received the submissions that were sent in response to the President’s call for general 2030 submissions. The Deans of all the University’s academic divisions, as well as the Graduate Students’ Union were invited to submit written statements to the Task Force regarding their perspective on long-term enrolment for their units.

Written submissions to the Task Force were received from the following

  • Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
  • Faculty of Arts and Science, St. George Campus
  • Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
  • Faculty of Law
  • Joseph L. Rotman Faculty of Management (Stepping UP plan)
  • Faculties of Nursing, Dentistry and Pharmacy (Joint submission)
  • Faculty of Music
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Physical Education and Health
  • Faculty of Social Work
  • University of Toronto at Mississauga
  • Graduate Students’ Union
  • University of Toronto Library
  • UofT Student Life Professionals Group
In addition, the Task Force met and conferred with the following senior academic administrators:

  • Derek Allen, Dean of Arts, Trinity College (representing the constituent and federated university principals)
  • Ian Orchard, Principal, UTM and Vice-President
  • Pekka Sinervo, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science and Vice-Provost, First Entry Programs
  • Franco Vaccarino, Principal, UTSC and Vice-President
The Task Force completed research on U of T enrolments through the Office of Planning and Budget. The most appropriate comparator group for the University of Toronto for which we have data is Association of American Universities (AAU). The Task Force compared enrolment mix at UofT with those at AAU universities (Appendix 1).

Recent Enrolment Plans

The University’s A Framework for Expansion at the University of Toronto[1], approved by Governance in 2000, provided the policy structure for the University’s response to the opportunities for enrolment expansion presented by the double cohort. The Framework set out principles to guide the process of enrolment expansion, emphasizing the importance of improving the capacity of the University to advance its mission and to maintain its academic standards and the quality of its programs.

The Framework provided broad targets for undergraduate expansion at all three campuses, as well as second-entry programs and doctoral-stream programs. The University undertook a careful and integrated enrolment planning process across the three campuses and advocated to the government accordingly. Enrolment targets were developed, reviewed each year and reported to Governance through the Planning and Budget Committee.

The University’s academic planning document, Stepping UP, introduced in 2005, envisioned a moderate reduction of undergraduate enrolment on the St. George campus following the double cohort and an increase in the proportion of graduate students. Such a rebalancing of enrolment is consistent with the objective of increasing the intensity and quality of research and enhancing the student experience at the University, and is a distinguishing feature of the University of Toronto among Canadian universities. It also brings enrolment patterns at the University closer to its peers among the top research-intensive universities internationally. Both objectives are retained in the recommendations of the Task Force as given later in this report.

The Provincial program for graduate expansion introduced in the budget of May 2005 presented another opportunity for expansion that was consistent with the University’s objectives. A similar process was undertaken to prepare plans for graduate expansion. These plans culminated in the preparation of the document A Framework for Graduate Expansion 2004-05 to 2009-10, which was approved by Governing Council in December 2006.

Graduate expansion to 2007-08 increased the number of graduate students at the University by about 2100 over 2002-03, the base year defined by the Government for the program. The Framework anticipates continued expansion, possibly adding up to 2300 more students over the next five years. However, this additional expansion is likely to be limited by the availability of government funding.

Planning Guidelines

The Task Force re-affirmed that our mission should continue to emphasize teaching and research with the goal of being the best research-intensive university in Canada and one of the best internationally. A fundamental priority for the University should be to foster an environment that allows for a quality academic and co-curricular experience for all students. That priority applies to all programs at the University on all three campuses.

Based on the submissions received, meetings with University senior academic administrators, and research from the Office of Planning and Budget, the Task Force agrees on the following basic set of assumptions about the University context:

The demand for post-secondary education will continue to increase in Ontario, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. This is a result of the projected population growth and increase in participation rates. According to Government projections, over 40,000 additional undergraduate places in post-secondary institutions will be needed by 2015, with a corresponding increase in demand for graduate studies a few years later.

Enrolment plans must be consistent with resources and available funding. The recommendations of the Task Force assume that for each of the models proposed in the report adequate resources will be available to sustain and enhance quality.

The U of T will continue to offer a wide range of programs, while recognizing that we cannot cover every potential area of study. Program offerings will continue to be based on academic planning decisions and informed by resource considerations.

The University as a whole will be facing increasing competition for students. Our goals depend upon being able to maintain high and holistic admission standards that ensure excellent academic preparation and a well-rounded student population.

We will continue to strive to enhance our students’ experiences while at the University. Our most recent university-wide academic planning process, Stepping UP, has placed enhancing the student experience at the top of our priority list. The Task Force endorses that priority.

Student life and co-curricular considerations form an important component of student experience. The Task Force received excellent submissions emphasizing the value of student life matters, and the Task Force strongly endorses careful planning in this area, particularly during times of change.

Enrolment Considerations

The character of a university is heavily influenced by its enrolment patterns. Enrolment planning should take into consideration the numbers of graduate and undergraduate students, professional and research graduate degrees, first and second entry programs, and so on. There are also non-academic considerations such as availability of residence, impact on the colleges, demand for graduates, etc.

Program breadth and disciplinary mix

  • The University of Toronto has an impressive range of programs in a wide range of disciplines. The Task Force does not anticipate a significant change in this aspect of the University. Program mix should continue to respond to academic planning.
  • The Task Force on University Organization is expected to recommend significant changes to the tri-campus structure, with increasing independence for each campus. This is likely to lead to programmatic differentiation among the campuses. This Task Force supports and encourages such differentiation.
  • The current mix among sub-disciplines of arts and science on the three campuses is given in Appendix 2. There is a general desire to retain this mix. At the same time, the Task Force acknowledges that evolution of programs must be guided by academic planning considerations and that the resulting mix may be different on each campus.
  • Some of the scenarios introduced later involve significant reductions in the number of undergraduate students. In such cases, a re-examination of the number of undergraduate programs offered may be needed.

Student Body

  • Increasing emphasis on internationalization of the student experience is expected and encouraged. Students at the University of Toronto should have more opportunities to interact with students from other parts of the world. We should aim to increase the proportion of international students at the University. We should also increase the opportunities for students to travel abroad and participate in exchange programs.
  • International students have special needs. Additional support should be provided, particularly as the number of international students increases.
  • As Canada’s leading University, the University of Toronto should strive to attract top students from across Canada. Recruiting activities aimed at students in other provinces should be strengthened.
  • There is benefit in increasing the proportion of residence students, particularly at UTM and UTSC. A larger proportion of students in residence is consistent with the objectives of attracting more students internationally and from across Canada. With appropriate planning, it could also be an important tool in enhancing the student experience.
  • Increasing the percentage of graduate students would advance the research agenda of the University and provide opportunities for enhancing teaching and the undergraduate experience.
  • The University should continue its emphasis on ensuring diversity in all its dimensions among the students.

Resource implications

Student mix and enrolment patterns in general have significant resource implications. All recommendations in this report assume that appropriate resources are available to support a very high quality of teaching and research at the University. This aspect is being examined in more detail by the Task Force on Resources.

  • Under current funding arrangements, there is financial pressure to increase international undergraduate student enrolment. Despite the higher cost of education for international students, the University is able to set tuition fees to cover these costs. This is in sharp contrast with the woefully inadequate government funding coupled with tuition regulation for domestic students. Should domestic tuition become deregulated, this dynamic could change. However, the academic value of internationalization remains.
  • The ratio of graduate to undergraduate students has significant financial implications. Per-student government funding is higher for graduate than for undergraduate students. However, the cost of instruction and supervision for graduate students is much higher and the need for financial support very significant. Hence, the mix should be assessed carefully for its overall financial impact.
  • Similarly, the ratio of professional to research-stream graduate students has a meaningful impact on resources. Financial support for research stream students is, on average, more costly.
  • The availability of scholarships and other sources of funding for graduate students outside the University’s operating budget is critical in determining a student mix that is financially sustainable.
  • An increase in the number of research-stream graduate students requires a proportionate increase in research funding.
  • At present, the government and other research funding agencies do not provide sufficient funds to cover the full cost of research. Without a change in policy, an increase in the number of graduate students and the concomitant increase in research activity would lead to an increased draw on institutional resources and would result in a net negative impact on the University’s budget.
  • The University of Toronto is committed to maintaining accessibility to all its programs and for all qualified students, regardless of their financial circumstances. When tuition fees increase the need for student aid increases at a faster rate. This must be accounted for in the overall financial picture.
  • Space considerations limit the possibility of expansion on the St. George campus. In fact, achieving the quality envisaged in the scenarios presented in this report requires a reduction in the total student population. Some expansion is possible at UTM and UTSC, but significant capital investments would be needed to provide the space required.

Tri-Campus Considerations

The manner in which the University’s three campuses will evolve and develop over the next twenty years will influence and be influenced by enrolment patterns. Tri-campus structural and administrative matters are being examined by the Task Force on University Organization. The Task Force on Enrolment assumes that the three campuses will have a higher degree of autonomy than at present and the ability to offer self-standing graduate programs, including PhD programs. At the same time, the unitary graduate program arrangement currently in place will continue in areas where it is judged to be beneficial.

  • There is strong support for the U of T remaining a three-campus university, with increased levels of autonomy among campuses, rather than moving toward three independent universities.
  • Most graduate students at the University of Toronto carry out their research and/or course work at the St. George campus. The number carrying out research and/or course work on the UTM and UTSC campuses is very small. However, many students on the St. George are supervised by professors with primary appointments at UTM or UTSC.
  • Plans for new programs should be coordinated among the three campuses to avoid unnecessary duplication or inefficient use of resources.
  • There is a strong desire at UTM and UTSC for increasing the number of graduate students performing research, taking courses and living on campus in some but not necessarily all disciplines. The Task Force supports this direction. It also assumes and recommends that the administrative structure for graduate studies continue to make it possible for a professor on one campus to supervise students on any other campus.
  • The increase in graduate activity on the UTM and UTSC campuses may involve the movement to UTM and UTSC of some graduate activities that have traditionally been carried out on the St. George campus. Some new research-stream graduate programs may also be introduced. The Task Force sees no reason to limit graduate growth at UTM and UTSC. However, research-stream graduate programs, particularly PhD programs, often take a long time to develop and to grow in size. The rate of growth anticipated in some of the scenarios given later may be difficult to achieve in the 2030 time horizon.
  • In addition to the expansion of doctoral-stream activity in specific disciplines, a majority of the growth in graduate programs at UTM and UTSC is expected to be in professional Masters programs and possibly in some new professional doctorate programs.

Enrolment Scenarios

This section presents several enrolment scenarios for each campus. These are followed by a discussion of some of the important implications for the character of each campus and the resources needed.

The University of Toronto is the flagship institution for post-secondary education in Ontario and in the country. The University aspires to offer programs that are among the very best offered by any institution around the world, public or private. At the same time, the future of Ontario and Canada is dependent on the availability of the high level of research and innovation that such an institution engenders and the best possible educational opportunities for students.

The Task Force is well aware of the high cost associated with the excellence that top international institutions represent, and that the University of Toronto requires very substantial increases in revenue to achieve these levels. None the less, we offer the scenarios presented below in the firm belief that they are worthy of serious consideration.

All the scenarios given below are based on an increase in the percentage of graduate students. In each case, an estimate is given for the resources needed to achieve the University’s aspiration to reach the highest international standards. In all cases and on all three campuses, the resources needed are considerably higher than what is available at present.

A breakdown of current enrolment on each campus is given in Appendix 3. These enrolments are the starting points for the scenarios given below. It should be emphasized that the figures in the scenario tables are only intended to show an order of magnitude and a possible direction for change. Actual enrolments will have to respond to academic planning, changing circumstances, availability of resources and various other constraints. For the same reasons, no detailed breakdown by discipline or program is given in the scenarios. Programs and degrees are grouped in broad categories.

The projected increase in demand for post-secondary education in the GTA was discussed by the Task Force. According to the scenarios below, the University of Toronto would not be able to assist in meeting the increased demand by admitting more undergraduate students. An underlying assumption is that the University will work with the Government to assist in other ways, perhaps through expansion at other GTA universities and/or the creation of new institutions, to meet the growing undergraduate demand in the GTA.

The increase in demand for undergraduate positions will be accompanied by a similar increase in demand for post-graduate education. In fact, Ontario’s and Canada’s economies are increasingly dependent on innovation and the availability of highly qualified personnel in all fields. Hence, the demand for graduate education is likely to increase at even a faster rate than undergraduate demand. The University of Toronto is best positioned to play a leading role in meeting the demands for graduate education and in providing innovation and research at the highest levels.

St. George Campus

The Task Force strongly recommends that the University of Toronto move in the direction of increasing the percentage of graduate students on the St. George campus. This is also the consensus of the all submissions the Task Force received. Enrolment scenarios are presented below to illustrate how the character of the campus and the resources needed change with the percentage of graduate students.

The current student population is summarized in Table 1, together with the number of full-time faculty involved in teaching and research. The resources available to the University at present are used as a reference against which the resources needed for various scenarios will be assessed. Hence, the per-student cost of the present operation, as represented by our operating budget, is taken as a baseline. A cost factor is provided for each of the proposed scenarios in order to illustrate the extent to which additional resources will be needed. It should be emphasized that these are only rough, order of magnitude estimates of the costs involved.

There are two significant challenges that the University faces at present — the high student-to-faculty ratio and the lack of adequate space. High quality teaching can occur in both large and small classes. However, the number of small classes at present is far fewer than it should be, limited by an insufficient number of faculty and appropriate small classrooms.

Table 1. Enrolments on the St. George Campus in 2007-08.

FTE Program Mix % of Total
A&Sc 20,715 62%
Other first entry 5,400 16%
Professional 7,256 22%
Subtotal undergraduate 33,371 100% 74%
PhD 5,023 43%
Masters 6,615
Subtotal graduate 11,638 100% 26%
Total,St. George 45,009 100%
Number of faculty 1,777
Per-student cost factor 1.1

Each of three scenarios presented below is intended to represent a campus that offers an excellent student experience and high quality of teaching and research, but for a different student mix. All scenarios are predicated on the assumption that the needed resources will become available. The total number of students is smaller than at present to ensure that the available space can accommodate the needs of students, faculty, classrooms and research laboratories.

The first scenario is shown in Table 2. Graduate students make up 30% of the student population, with a program mix that is about the same as at present. This scenario differs from the present state of the St. George Campus in two key aspects. First, the total number of students has been reduced from 45,000 to about 40,000. This is a result of space limitations and the need to provide space for small classrooms, research laboratories and faculty and staff offices.

The second difference is that the number of faculty has been increased substantially to reduce the student-to-faculty ratio from the present 24:1 to about 16:1. Reducing the student-to-faculty ratio makes it possible to reduce class size and increase student-faculty interaction. This scenario would put the University of Toronto on par with many of the top public universities in North America.

The increase in faculty numbers must be accompanied by a commensurate increase in staff and by improvements in all services. The estimated per-student cost is 80% higher than at present. These data have been communicated to the Task Force on Resources to inform their deliberations.

Table 2. St. George Campus — 30% Graduate

FTE Program Mix % of Total
A&Sc 15,000 54%
Other first entry 5,300 19%
Professional 7,300 26%
Subtotal undergraduate 27,600 100% 70%
PhD 5,500 46%
Masters 6,500 54%
Subtotal graduate 12,000 100% 30%
Total, St. George 39,600 100%
Numberof faculty 2,500
Per-student cost factor 1.8

Next, consider a scenario representing the other extreme, with graduate students representing 50% of the student population on the St. George campus. This scenario is shown in Table 3. It represents a significant increase in research capacity that would rival top institutions anywhere, public or private.

Table 3. St. George Campus — 50% Graduate

FTE Program Mix % of Total
A&Sc 7,000 39%
Other First entry 4,000 22%
Professional 7,000 39%
Subtotal, undergraduate 18,000 100% 50%
PhD 9,000 50%
Masters 9,000 50%
Subtotal Graduate 18,000 100% 50%
Total,St. George 36,000 100%
Numberof faculty 3,500
Per-studentcost factor 2.7

The 50% scenario would change the character and operation of the University in fundamental ways. A university with such a large percentage of graduate students is viable only if it offers the highest possible quality in every aspect of its operation. It must be able to recruit top students and top faculty, as well as the operating and research funding that would sustain that level of activity. The resources needed are considerably higher than the levels normally possible at public institutions.

The increased volume of research inherent to this scenario requires a corresponding increase in space. For this reason, the total number of students has been reduced to 36,000. If it is deemed desirable to maintain the number of students at the current level of 45,000, an estimated increase in space on the order of 40% would be needed.

Based on the experience of other universities, faculty complement would need to increase significantly in order to achieve a student-to-faculty ratio in the neighbourhood of 10 to 1. Substantial increases would be needed in the number of administrative and support staff to provide the level of service expected under this scenario. The cost of supporting graduate students is also considerable. Costs per student for this scenario are almost three times the present costs, requiring revenue per student at a level comparable to that at top AAU member universities.

In the third scenario, shown in Table 4, graduate students constitute 40% of the total population on the St. George campus. Although there are fewer graduate students than in the 50% case, this scenario still represents a highly research-intensive university campus and shares many of the qualitative aspects of the 50% scenario.

Table 4. St. George Campus — 40% Graduate

FTE Program Mix % of Total
A&Sc 11,000 49%
Other First entry 4,500 20%
Professional 7,000 31%
Subtotal, undergraduate 22,500 100% 60%
PhD 7,000 47%
Masters 8,000 53%
Subtotal Graduate 15,000 100% 40%
Total,St. George 37,500 100%
Numberof faculty 3,300
Per-studentcost factor 2.4

University of Toronto at Mississauga / University of Toronto at Scarborough

The comments in this section apply to both UTM and UTSC, but separate enrolment scenarios are presented for the two campuses.
The 2030 planning period is expected to present excellent opportunities for UTM and UTSC to grow and to enhance quality at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The two campuses are well positioned to offer undergraduate programs of exceptional quality and innovative graduate programs that respond to the anticipated increase in demand for professional education.

Undergraduate Programs

The two campuses offer programs both in the traditional disciplines of arts and science and in unique and emerging inter-disciplinary studies, as in the areas of the environment and digital media. The demand for such programs is increasing, both by the students and by potential employers. This, combined with the projected growth in the GTA and the expected reduction in admissions at the St. George campus, means that the number of applicants to UTM and UTSC can be expected to rise steadily. Each campus will become a destination of choice for top students who are seeking excellent undergraduate programs.

There is interest at UTM for some increase in the undergraduate population. A somewhat higher increase is possible at UTSC. These constraints are reflected in the enrolment scenarios given below. It should be emphasized that capital needs to build the space required are considerable, but these have not been included in the estimated operating costs for various scenarios.

Graduate Programs

The Task Force discussed at length the extent to which graduate programs at the two campuses can be expected to grow. We assume that any administrative matters that limit the development of new programs will be resolved, such that graduate programs and student numbers would be driven primarily by academic planning considerations, demand for graduate programs, and the capacity for teaching and supervision.

It is clear that there is significant interest on each of the two campuses in introducing innovative doctoral-stream research programs, new professional masters and possibly some professional doctorate programs. Professional graduate degrees are increasingly becoming the degrees of practice. There is excellent potential for sharing of resources between upper year undergraduate and professional Masters programs. There is also the potential for innovative packaging to introduce five-year degrees. The rate of growth in these areas will be influenced by the marketplace and student demand.

Current enrolments at UTM and UTSC are summarized in Table 5. As noted earlier, most doctoral-stream students at the University of Toronto, including many of those supervised by professors at UTM and UTSC, have their research activity located at St. George. Hence, the numbers in Table 5 do not reflect the actual level of graduate supervision by faculty with primary appointments on the two campuses. In the future, these numbers are expected to increase substantially as UTM and UTSC expand existing tri-campus programs and develop stand-alone programs.

Table 5 shows that the present student-to-faculty ratios at UTM and UTSC are very high. The current per-student cost is estimated to be 80% at UTM and 70% at UTSC relative to the average across the University.

Table 5. Enrolments at UTM and UTSC in 2007-08.

FTE Program Mix % of Total FTE Program Mix % of Total
Undergraduate 8,411 96% 8,377 8% 98%
PhD 96 27% 66 43%
Masters 255 73% 88 57%
Subtotal Graduate 351 4% 4% 154 100% 2%
Total 8,761 100% 8,531 100%
Number of faculty 243 224
Cost factor 0.8 0.7

The scenarios presented for UTM and UTSC anticipate a substantial increase in the number of undergraduate students. Actual increases will be guided by academic planning and by space considerations. Graduate enrolments are more difficult to project as they involve more complex issues. The increase in the number of graduate students is limited by a variety of factors, including:

  • Considerable effort and time is involved in introducing new professional graduate programs. For example, adding 500 professional Masters students would require adding a new program with 50 students every second year for the next 20 years. This is a challenging goal.
  • Similarly, stand-alone research-stream degrees, particularly the PhD, take considerable time to establish and to attract students. The current levels of enrolment in the PhD programs on the St. George campus have been attained over a 70-year period.
  • It is expected that faculty in some disciplines will continue to supervise graduate students on the St. George campus. Opportunities to move research activity from St. George to UTM and UTSC should be examined.
  • These factors affect all campuses, but their effect on limiting the rate of growth is likely to be more pronounced at UTM and UTSC because the starting point is relatively low.

The first scenario for enrolments at UTM and UTSC is given in Table 6. It shows undergraduate FTE enrolment growing to 12,000 on each campus, with graduate enrolment rising to 10% of the student population. Although this graduate percentage may seem low, it already represents a three-fold increase at UTM and an 8-fold increase at UTSC. To maintain the high quality expected in all scenarios, faculty numbers need to increase to about 650, and costs pre student would double relative to present levels.

Table 6. UTM and UTSC, 10% Graduate Students

FTE Program Mix % of Total FTE Program Mix % of Total
Undergraduate 12,000 90% 12,000 90%
PhD 300 23% 300 23%
Masters 1,000 77% 1,000 77%
SubtotalGraduate 1,300 100% 10% 1,300 100% 10%
Total 13,300 100% 13,300 100%
Numberof faculty 650 650
Costfactor 1.4 1.4

Both campuses indicated that under the right circumstances, total student population may go as high as 15,000 at UTM and possibly higher at UTSC. The scenario in Table 7 shows this possibility. Some of the opinions expressed during the Task Force discussions suggested that there is strong interest in more aggressive graduate expansion. Hence this scenario assumes that graduate students make up 14% of the total student population. The need for additional supervisory capacity relative to the 10% model means that a lower student-to-faculty ratio would be needed and a correspondingly higher cost per student.

Table 7. UTM and UTSC, 14% Graduate Students

FTE ProgramMix % ofTotal FTE ProgramMix % ofTotal
Undergraduate 11,000 86% 14,000 86%
PhD 300 17% 400 18%
Masters 1,500 83% 1,800 82%
Subtotal Graduate 1,800 100% 14% 2,200 100% 14%
Total 12,800 100% 16,200 100%
Number of faculty 700 850
Cost factor 1.5 1.5

An extreme case with 20% graduate students is shown in Table 8. Such a high ratio of graduate students would be difficult to achieve if there is a substantial increase in the number of undergraduate students. Hence, only modest undergraduate growth is shown in this scenario.

Table 8. UTM and UTSC, 20% Graduate Students

FTE ProgramMix % ofTotal FTE ProgramMix % ofTotal
Undergraduate    10,000   80%   12,000   80%
  PhD    500 20%      600 21%  
  Masters 2,000 80%   2,200 79%  
  Subtotal Graduate   2,500 100% 20%   2,800 100% 20%
Total 12,500   100% 14,800   100%
Number of faculty 700     850    
Cost factor 1.6     1.6    


A common requirement to all the scenarios for all campuses is the significant increase in the resources needed to achieve the quality level assumed. There are also implications to the balance of teaching and research and impact on the colleges. These and other issues are addressed below.


  • A significant reduction in student-to-faculty ratio compared to the present is essential. Lower student-to-faculty ratios are needed to provide the supervisory capacity and to sustain the desired quality of education at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • The Task Force does not envisage large increases in the number of teaching-stream faculty.
  • The University should aim for quality enhancements in all aspects of its operation, including the quality of space, the availability and quality of student services, etc.
  • The per-student funding required can only be achieved through meaningful increases in all sources of revenue, including:
    • Operating grant funding from the provincial government: A substantial increase in government funding would be more than justified by the return on investment that a university of the caliber envisaged would bring. A policy that recognizes the differential nature of post-secondary institutions would facilitate that investment.
    • Tuition Fees: The high levels of funding needed may also necessitate increases in tuition fees. Given the University’s commitment to accessibility, any increase in tuition must be accompanied by an appropriate increase in student aid. Deregulation of tuition fees for institutions that are able to guarantee student accessibility would facilitate these proposed changes.
    • Graduate Scholarships: Scholarships for graduate students are an integral and essential component of funding for a research-intensive institution. They are needed both to attract top-quality students and to relieve pressure on the University’s operating budget, which would otherwise have to provide financial support to a significant portion of the student population.
  • Significant changes in student mix would require reconfiguration of existing space. Also, substantial capital investments would be needed at UTM and UTSC to provide expansion space.

Teaching and research

  • The University should explore innovative approaches that make it possible to reduce class size, enhance the quality of undergraduate teaching and at the same time support a high level of research and scholarship. In particular, the Task Force wishes to draw attention to the University’s Statement of Institutional Purpose, which includes: “The University is committed to ensuring that the teaching and counseling of undergraduates is a normal obligation of every member of faculty.”

    A key ingredient to success in achieving the desired balance is to provide meaningful support to professors. An excellent example is found at MIT. Faculty members collaborate in the delivery of lectures and the small-class “recitations” that follow. Considerable assistance is provided in all aspects of course preparation and delivery. As a result, in addition to MIT’s stellar reputation in research, its undergraduate programs are among the best in the world.
  • Consistent with the point above, increasing the percentage of graduate students makes it possible to mount a sufficient number of small-class tutorials to enhance students’ understanding and engagement. Undergraduate students would also have many opportunities to participate in research.
  • The varied sources of research funding that would be needed to support increased research activity mean that professors are likely to be highly engaged with industry, business, government and society at large. In turn, this provides an enriching experience to all students, graduate and undergraduate.


  • Attracting a large number of excellent graduate students is dependent on the availability of a large enough pool, which will require a significant increase in international graduate enrolment. This is also consistent with the desirability for internationalization, as discussed earlier.
  • The demand for graduate education will undoubtedly differ among disciplines. Detailed planning will need to take that into account.
  • The government’s approach to operating grant funding and to tuition deregulation is likely to influence the balance between domestic and international students. The University must move to an appropriate mix of undergraduate and graduate students that not only achieves its academic objectives but also ensures financial sustainability.

Residence and Colleges

  • The graduate-undergraduate and domestic-international mix will impact the quantity and type of residences needed. With the recommended increase in international students and students from across Canada, more students are likely to seek residence close-by. Careful planning is needed in this area.
  • The services provided at present by the constituent and federated colleges are primarily focused on undergraduate students. With the increase in graduate population, colleges will need to attract and serve graduate students. Changes not only in the type of residence they offer but also in the programmatic aspects of their operation may be necessary.

Student Life

  • Student life aspects differ for graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students tend to be less involved in campus activities, and the activities they do participate in may be different. Careful attention should be paid to student life matters to ensure that both groups are well served with opportunities to develop soft skills while pursuing their research and scholarship.
  • A large number of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows present excellent opportunities for mentoring of undergraduates. Appropriate arrangements in this regard could enhance the student experience significantly.


The University of Toronto must continue to strive to be one of the top research-intensive universities in the world. Planning should be guided by the need to offer very high quality in both teaching and research.

Given the growth the University has already undergone in recent years, it is difficult to conceive of a further dramatic increase in total enrolment. We are in the process of rising to the challenge of meeting graduate enrolment expansion in a timely manner. We should be strategic in terms of clearly aligning any further enrolment expansion with our mission and vision.

In view of the projected additional demand at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, we believe that the University of Toronto is best positioned to contribute to the province’s overall needs by expanding its current plans for graduate education. The U of T cannot grow enough to meet the forecasted increased demand for undergraduate education.

Structure and Enrolment

  • There is continued broad support for the three-campus system, with some modifications. It is assumed that current administrative concerns will be resolved.
  • There is very little desire for a fourth University of Toronto campus. There is some capacity for undergraduate expansion at UTM and UTSC.
  • There may be opportunities for expansion of articulated programs between the University and external institutions such as Toronto area Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology. There already exist joint programs at UTM and UTSC with Sheridan and Centennial respectively. In order to increase these types of programs, we would need to develop clear protocols to assist in the movement of students (and their program/degree requirements) between institutions.
  • In order to meet demands for increased undergraduate post-secondary education in the GTA, the Task Force recommends that the University work collaboratively with government and other universities and colleges to create new institutions that best and most efficiently serve the needs and demands of the province.
  • As the premier research university in the country, the UofT should focus expansion on graduate and professional programs. This allows for the continuation and strengthening of our educational and research missions and for targeted growth.
  • Because of physical constraints and over-stretched resources, the St. George campus aims to reduce undergraduate enrolments in the Faculty of Arts and Science and to a lesser extent in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, with the remaining divisions maintaining their current levels.
  • UTM and UTSC should increase both undergraduate and graduate enrolments, probably with an emphasis on professional graduate programs and doctoral–stream programs in targeted areas.
  • The St. George campus should increase the percentage of graduate students to the order of at least 30% and possibly as high as 50% if circumstances allow. This target is similar to the student mix at peer institutions in the US and internationally.

The Task Force emphasizes that we will need to monitor progress toward these strategic goals and be prepared to adjust targets and plans to maintain quality. We can expect the road over the next fifteen years to be just as bumpy and unpredictable as it has been in the past 15 years.


  • A common and key component in all the scenarios presented in this report is the need to increase resources. Staff-student ratios must improve in order to provide a quality academic experience for students. This is needed to enable many more small classes than at present and to increase student-faculty interaction.
  • Careful attention must be paid to space constraints to provide a sufficient number of small classrooms, research laboratories and space for the increased number of faculty and staff.
  • Significant capital expenditures would be needed at UTM and UTSC to realize the scenarios presented in this report.
  • Research funding and support for research infrastructure must increase in proportion to the increase in the graduate population.
  • Students’ life and co-curricular activities should receive increased attention. Administrative staff should be increased and all services should be improved, commensurate with the increase in faculty numbers.

Sources of Students and Recruitment Strategies

The quality of students and what they bring to the University sustain the overall standard of our programs and scholarship. As noted in Stepping UP the “quality of all of our students makes a tremendous difference to the quality of the educational experience of any individual student both in the classroom and outside the classroom. A university seeking to offer a first-rate undergraduate, professional or graduate education must necessarily recruit first-rate students if it is to achieve its goal.” [2]

  • The proportion of international students should be increased overall. This is desirable at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • U of T should expand its presence as “Canada’s national University” at the undergraduate level and actively recruit more top students from outside the province.
  • We should consider our recruitment processes and admission policies, with a view to adding criteria to our historic focus on high school grades. Our recruitment strategy should focus on maintaining and enhancing excellence and diversity of our student population. To the extent possible, admission criteria should be broadened to include positive attributes of a well-rounded student.

    For example, it would be valuable to have in place a system for admitting students based on a ‘portfolio’ that demonstrates leadership ability, special skills in music, drama or athletics, community service and engagement, or other relevant activities. More comprehensive assessments of this kind are currently being employed in some divisions. A more wide-spread use would complement the University’s high academic admissions standards. In order fully to realize such criteria, the attributes of the best and brightest must be articulated by the University and its academic divisions and be considered in early admissions decisions where appropriate.

Concluding Remarks

The University of Toronto is Canada’s leading research-intensive university, and it has achieved an enviable international reputation. It is now poised to move forward to count among the top few universities world-wide, public or private, with its two complementary goals of excellence in teaching and research. This report provides several enrolment scenarios that are consistent with these goals and highlights the resources and changes needed to achieve them.

Appendix 1

Enrolments at Member Universitiesof the American Association of Universities

University Full Time Undergraduate Full Time Graduate Total % Graduate
 MIT  4,068  5,924  9,992 59%
 California Institute of Technology    864  1,222  2,086 59%
 Columbia U.-City of New York  8,543 10,524 19,067 55%
 U. of Chicago  5,840  5,722 11,562 49%
 Harvard U. 10,005  9,579 19,584 49%
 Johns Hopkins U.  5,769  5,427 11,196 48%
 Stanford U.  7,352  6,784 14,136 48%
 Yale U.  6,515  4,714 11,229 42%
 Rice U.  2,977  1,930  4,907 39%
 Duke U.  7,986  5,016 13,002 39%
 Carnegie Mellon U.  5,365  3,274  8,639 38%
 Northwestern U.-Evanston/Chicago 10,067  5,697 15,764 36%
 U. of Southern California 18,711 10,495 29,206 36%
 U. of Pennsylvania 12,495  6,997 19,492 36%
 Princeton U.  4,790  2,295  7,085 32%
 U. of Rochester  5,006  2,368  7,374 32%
 Washington U.-St. Louis  7,501  3,388 10,889 31%
 Brandeis U.  3,280  1,447  4,727 31%
 Vanderbilt U.  7,577  3,316 10,893 30%
 Emory U.  8,081  3,334 11,415 29%
 Georgia Inst of Tech-Main Campus 11,542  4,573 16,115 28%
 Case Western Reserve U.  5,435  2,044  7,479 27%
 U. of Michigan-Ann Arbor 27,155 10,165 37,320 27%
 New York U. 22,903  8,178 31,081 26%
 Cornell U.-Endowed Colleges 14,444  5,157 19,601 26%
 U. of California-Los Angeles 26,407  9,013 35,420 25%
 U. of California-Berkeley 24,164  7,892 32,056 25%
 U. of Washington-Seattle 25,431  7,598 33,029 23%
 U. of Maryland-College Park 23,239  6,593 29,832 22%
 U. of Virginia-Main Campus 15,588  4,410 19,998 22%
 U. of Texas-Austin 35,275  9,957 45,232 22%
 U. of Pittsburgh-Main Campus 17,277  4,846 22,123 22%
 Tulane U. of Louisiana  6,620  1,841  8,461 22%
 Stony Brook U. 14,331  3,926 18,257 22%
 Brown U.  6,107  1,647  7,754 21%
 Syracuse U. 12,827  3,244 16,071 20%
 U. of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign 31,389  7,860 39,249 20%
 U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 18,570  4,341 22,911 19%
 U. of Wisconsin-Madison 29,468  6,879 36,347 19%
 U. of Florida 36,166  8,208 44,374 18%
 SUNY-Buffalo 19,325  4,011 23,336 17%
 U. of Toronto 50,611 10,422 61,033 17%
 Catholic University  3,523    707  4,230 17%
 Texas A&M U. 34,078  6,576 40,654 16%
 U. of California-San Diego 20,999  4,044 25,043 16%
 U. of California-Davis 22,753  4,202 26,955 16%
 Ohio State U.-Main Campus 38,174  7,013 45,187 16%
 U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities 30,512  5,537 36,049 15%
 U. of Arizona 25,832  4,672 30,504 15%
 U. of California-Irvine 20,498  3,655 24,153 15%
 Michigan State U. 34,159  5,666 39,825 14%
 Purdue U.-Main Campus 31,085  4,894 35,979 14%
 Indiana U.-Bloomington 29,147  4,560 33,707 14%
 U. of Oregon 15,513  2,387 17,900 13%
 U. of California-Santa Barbara 17,709  2,722 20,431 13%
 Penn State U.-Main Campus 35,368  5,134 40,502 13%
 U. of Nebraska-Lincoln 16,500  2,309 18,809 12%
 U. of Iowa 20,292  2,833 23,125 12%
 Rutgers U.-New Brunswick 24,978  3,454 28,432 12%
 Iowa State U. 19,593  2,587 22,180 12%
 U. of Missouri-Columbia 21,309  2,801 24,110 12%
 U. of Kansas-Main Campus 19,026  2,282 21,308 11%
 U. of Colorado-Boulder 24,431  1,455 25,886 6%

Appendix 2

Enrolment Mix in Arts and Science

A&Sc (St. George)
Arts 3,010
Commerce / Business Administration 1,276
Science 1,886
Subtotal 6,172
U of T Mississauga
Arts 1,334
Commerce / Business Administration 760
Fine & Applied Arts 45
Science 924
Subtotal 3,086
U of T Scarborough
Arts 925
Commerce / Business Administration 940
Science 1,003
Subtotal 2,882
Arts 5,269
Commerce / Business Administration 2,976
Fine & Applied Arts 45
Science 3,813
Grand Total 12,140

Appendix 3

Enrolment Summary 2007-08

Domestic Intl Total % Intl
St. George, A&S 18,404 2,313 20,718 11%
  Arts & Humanities     7,961  
  Social Sciences     6,093  
  Math. Physical and Life Sciences     6,664  
  UTM 7,795 617 8,411 7%
  Arts & Humanities     3,254  
  Social Sciences     3,136  
  Math. Physical and Life Sciences     2,022  
  UTSC 7,710 671 8,381 8%
  Arts & Humanities     1,638  
  Social Sciences     4,463  
  Math. Physical and Life Sciences     2,280  
UndergraduateArts & Science 33,909 3,601 37,509 10%
  Applied Science 3,826 502 4,328 12%
  PE&H 519 8 527 2%
  Music 439 15 454 3%
  TYP 89 6 95 6%
  Undergraduate - Other first entry 4,873 531 5,404 10%
  Medicine - Postgraduate 1,602 782 2,384 33%
Dentistry 328 8 336 2%
Law 555 39 594 7%
  Medicine - MD 847 3 850 0%
  Medicine- Radiation Sciences 404 2 406 0%
  OISE/UT excl. CTEP 1,245 5 1,250 0%
  Nursing 307 6 313 1.9%
  Pharmacy - BSCP 962 4 966 0%
  Pharmacy - PharmD & Residents 56 1 57 2%
  WDW Certificates 70 0 70 0%
Undergraduate Professional 6,376 850 7,156 12%
Total Undergraduate 45,158 4,981 50,070 10%
  PMAS - St. George MBA 601 117 718 16%
  PMAS - St. George excl. MBA 3,016 193 3,209 6%
  PMAS - UTM MMPA 86 23 109 21%
  PMAS - UTM excl. MMPA 93 6 99 6%
  PMAS - UTSC 49 5 54 10%
  Professional Masters total 3,844 344 4,188 8%
  Doctoral Stream Masters 2,431 394 2,825 14%
  Doctoral Stream PHD 4,203 974 5,177 19%
Total Graduate 10,478 1,712 12,191 14%
Undergraduate 45,158 4,981 50,070 10%
Professional Masters 3,844 344 4,188 8%
Doctoral Stream Masters 2,431 394 2,825 14%
Doctoral Stream PHD 4,203 974 5,177 19%
Total UofT 55,637 6,693 62,260 11%