4. Our Campuses, Colleges and Affiliates
The history of the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses reaches back to the early 1960s14. Following the creation of York University and two new colleges on the St. George campus, New College and Innis College, it was evident that demand for student places would still not be satisfied. In 1962, the Committee of Ontario University Presidents recommended that two new colleges on the outskirts of Toronto be established by the University of Toronto. The two colleges were to be like other colleges in the Toronto system, though it was envisioned that they would gradually achieve greater autonomy. Scarborough College15 opened its doors in 1965 and Erindale College in 1967.
There have been several occasions in the history of the campuses where questions of autonomy and differentiation have been raised, and the views of the two campuses have frequently differed. Scarborough College, in its early years, expressed some opposition to the decision making and control exercised by the downtown (St. George campus) departments, and then-principal, Wynne Plumptre, requested ‘a fundamental review of the position and prospects of Scarborough College’. He proposed that the College should, over a short period of years, become an independent university with a primary mission in undergraduate education. A subsequent task force (chaired by Kenneth Hare) recommended greater autonomy for the College which came in the form of more independence in the decisions about faculty recruitment and appointments for the College. Erindale College did not share these ambitions for autonomy, and colleagues there perceived the advantages of close association to outweigh the disadvantages.
In Renewal 1987, President George Connell proposed ‘campus-by-campus planning’, i.e., planning for the academic and physical development of each campus independent of the others. Responses to the Renewal 1987 Discussion Paper16 pointed to the challenges of campus-by-campus planning when most programs are department-based, and most appointments, not least graduate appointments, are to University-wide departments. It was further suggested that any differentiation that adversely affected student quality or program quality would not be desirable. Overall, the majority of responses identified the need for a balance of campus-by-campus planning and three-campus planning to both preserve the ‘University of Toronto’ value and create new opportunities that capitalized on the strengths and imaginations of the individual campuses.
UTM and UTSC Today
Today the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM) and University of Toronto - Scarborough (UTSC) are predominantly undergraduate campuses which, over the years, have accommodated significant enrolment expansion. Each campus now enrols approximately 10,000 students.
Regarding functional integration, the east and west campuses are divisions in the University structure, with a Principal and Vice President position as the highest executive officer and relationships at the departmental level cross the three campuses. Graduate education on the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses is integrated within the University’s School of Graduate Studies and includes a range of programs in the Arts, Sciences and Management.
The unique role of both campuses, and their growing autonomy, is also evident. Both UTM and UTSC have developed relationships with faculties other than Arts and Science. They have distinctive departmental structures and many unique programs.
The Mississauga campus has been transformed by about $200M in capital redevelopment in the last five years alone. It hosts professional master’s programs in Management and Professional Accounting, Management of Innovation, Biotechnology and Biomedical Communications. A diploma program in Investigative and Forensic Accounting is offered primarily on a distance education basis. UTM’s unique undergraduate programs include Forensic Sciences (offered as a combination of Forensics and Biology, Chemistry or Anthropology), Geographical Information Systems, Biotechnology, Professional Writing, and Science Education. In partnership with Sheridan College, UTM has recently developed several programs at the interface of communications, culture and new technology. UTM has established strong ties with the City of Mississauga, and has a conspicuous commitment to environmental issues in its growth and development.
From its early days, the Scarborough campus has developed a distinct niche in offering co-operative undergraduate programs, with about 15% of Scarborough students currently engaged in co-op options. Co-op programs include Management with streams in accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and economics; Computer Science with streams in software engineering, information systems and statistics; Arts Management; Environmental Science; and International Development. UTSC hosts a graduate level program in environmental science. UTSC and Centennial College jointly offer innovative four-year undergraduate programs in Journalism, New Media Studies, Paramedicine, Environmental Science and Technology, and Industrial Microbiology. Capital investment is accelerating. Recently-opened buildings include a new Student Residence, the Academic Resource Centre, the Management Building, a Student Centre and an Arts and Administration Building. A Science Building is underway.
Both campuses host graduate level education with an emphasis on professional master’s programs and faculty from both campuses are engaged in research-stream graduate programs extending across multiple campuses. Growing numbers of research-stream graduate students work and study on the two campuses, particularly in fields where research is contingent on laboratory or other physical resources. This is in part linked to growth in research funding at UTM and UTSC over the past five years. UTM reported $9.5 million in research revenue in 2004-05, and UTSC reported $6.4 million. Oversight of research-stream graduate education is currently vested primarily within the graduate departments of the Faculty of Arts and Science, as will be discussed below.
Key challenges of the three campus model
The three campus configuration currently presents two major challenges – one relates to the balance of resources across the three campuses, and the second relates to mandate, including the evolution of graduate education across the three campuses.
First, resources: In assessing the distribution of resources across the three campuses, it appears that the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses are funded at levels lower than would be expected based on a roll-up of equivalent departments at the St. George campus. This is reflected in higher student-faculty ratios, fewer small classes, in some cases fewer teaching assistant hours, and less funding on a per-student basis. Some services funded by the University centrally are headquartered at the St. George campus, and while ostensibly tri-campus in mandate, do not have an equivalent presence at the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses. Conversely, UTM and UTSC have responsibility for a variety of local services that are funded by the central administration for the St. George campus. Part of the remedy for this imbalance is underway with the new budget model, discussed in the next section. The new model openly dissects revenues and costs, and assigns a net revenue budget to the operating divisions. Hidden inequities will inevitably be exposed, debated, maintained if they serve important academic priorities, or gradually rolled back if they are unsustainable or otherwise indefensible.
The second challenge is more complex. The three campuses are primarily collaborative in their interactions, but there are points where ‘sibling rivalry’ is apparent. The academic evolution of all three campuses has been guided through five-year planning cycles, with implicit assumptions about the linkage of UTM and UTSC to Arts and Science on the St. George campus, even as both the east and west campuses have forged other partnerships and relationships. Earlier in this document, we framed a series of questions around the long-term mix of students and programs for the University, as well as enrolment numbers for the institution. Those questions merit careful attention on each campus, and for the three-campus system as a whole.
Graduate education exemplifies the type of issue that must be joined. Distinct professional graduate programs are hosted successfully at both UTM and UTSC. These programs are presently administered through graduate chairs based on the St. George campus but recent initiatives are paving the way for campus-based structures. For research-stream graduate education, however, the prospects of the east and west campuses are dependent on factors such as a critical mass of faculty, research space and laboratory facilities, libraries, and the vibrancy of the relevant intellectual community. UTM and UTSC have both signalled an interest in selective expansion of research-stream graduate enrolment. The benefits to undergraduate education from the presence of graduate students on campus are well established. Beyond their obvious role as teaching assistants, graduate students enrich the intellectual life of any campus. If graduate student presence on the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses is important, then how big should that presence be, and how should the mix of graduate students relate to the undergraduate programs on offer? Few colleagues on the east and west campuses dispute the overall advantages of the tri-campus framework for graduate studies, but some chafe quietly about the structural conflict of interest and hierarchy implicit in the vesting of graduate chair status with the St. George department. It is possible that more pluralistic arrangements will evolve in some disciplines. What are the potential configurations that will promote collegiality, fairness, flexibility and quality?
Overall, the three-campus model has assisted the University in offering a first-class university education to a rapidly growing number of students from within the GTA and across the Province of Ontario. Entering averages of students admitted to the east and west campuses are lower than those for the St. George campus (by about 5%). However, there are also inter-college differences in entering averages on the St. George campus and there is no shortage of outstanding undergraduate students on all three campuses. World-class faculty are being recruited to the east and west campuses, and there is synergistic movement of excellent administrative staff from the older campus to the east and west, and back again. Graduate departments have been strengthened by the breadth and depth of intellectual capacity on three sites.
In addition, UTM and UTSC represent a unique opportunity for the University that transcends simple geography: Owing to their relative youth and smaller size, UTM and UTSC should in principle be more ‘nimble’ and in a strong position to implement bold new programs in a timely manner. Innovation and differentiation across all three campuses have fostered new programs and fields of scholarship, increased the diversity of the academic enterprise, and enabled us to respond more fully to the interests of our students. Last and not least, the east and west campuses have been characterized by strong engagement with local communities and cultural groups, and they have won countless new friends for the University.
Our tri-campus challenge, then, is very much as President Emeritus Connell framed it two decades ago. How do we balance independence and integration in academic and general administration of the three campuses? Can we better balance ‘all-campus planning’ and ‘campus-by-campus planning’ to foster differentiation and innovation? Is our long-term intent to create a regional ‘University of Toronto system’ with three campuses and a stronger identity and greater autonomy for each of them? Or do we allow evolution to occur on a more ad hoc basis? Both the east and west campuses could intensify or expand their physical facilities and accommodate substantial enrolment growth. Is that the best direction for UTM and UTSC to follow? We shall return to these and other questions below.
Our federated universities and colleges
The University of Toronto enterprise includes three federated universities – St. Michael’s, Trinity and Victoria, along with four constituent colleges – University, Innis, New, and Woodsworth. The federated universities and University College had, at one time, a distinct role in providing academic programs, predominantly in the humanities. That role has evolved, and the Faculty of Arts and Science now has responsibility for the academic programs in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.
With the assimilation of their academic departments within the Faculty of Arts and Science starting in 1974, the federated universities and colleges initially took on roles that revolved around provision of a home base for undergraduate students enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Some college loyalists have lamented the transformation of these divisions from academic units to centres focusing primarily on student engagement. However, their importance, if anything, has grown. Today, more than ever, the colleges and federated universities serve the invaluable function of disaggregating a very large and potentially overwhelming campus into navigable neighbourhoods for new students. All colleges have a mix of arts, science and commerce students and provide student services and activities, including counselling, writing workshops, math support services, libraries (at most colleges), computer facilities, residence accommodation, student government, social gatherings, student-run newspapers, and competitive and recreational sports. At their best, they offer students the sense of community and personal connections that inhere in attending a small college, in the context of a vibrant and extremely diverse university campus.
Moreover, in recent years, the colleges and federated universities have strengthened their roles as focal points for interdisciplinary programs or centres. To name a few from among a great many examples, one might cite: Cinema Studies at Innis College; Canadian Studies at University College; Christianity and Culture at St. Michael’s; International Relations at Trinity, Caribbean Studies at New College, and Employment Relations at Woodsworth. These programmatic functions create great synergy but also some tension with traditional departmental mandates.
As well, whether explicitly or not, the constituent and federated colleges have engaged in some degree of ‘market segmentation’ in student recruitment. There are differences across these divisions in disciplinary mix, ethno-cultural and religious backgrounds, and proportions of part-time students. Both Trinity and Victoria have strategically capitalized on distinctive identities and highly selective first-year programs to recruit a disproportionate number of top academic performers.
Finally, the colleges are introducing year-one programs to facilitate transition of new students to university life. These vary in configuration. Some target all first-year students. Others, most notably Vic One and Trinity One, offer additional seminar courses and some academic enrichment to a subgroup of first-year students who meet stringent academic and extracurricular criteria.
Against this background, it is clear that the colleges and federated universities have never been more important to the success of the University’s largest campus. But it takes little imagination to surmise that challenges have also emerged.
The majority of the University’s students commute. While the colleges have been successful in tailoring events and services to the needs of commuter students, the challenge of engaging commuter students in college life persists. Some commentators have argued that the colleges should increase the number of residence spaces, but here a series of tensions emerges. An increase in the number of residence spaces might necessitate a shift in recruitment patterns and in turn require the University to cede some of its competitive advantage in attracting excellent students who prefer to commute from within the GTA. Likewise, accommodating more residential students may well enhance the overall quality of student life but it will require the construction of new residence halls in a period of increasingly tight budgets. As we look forward to 2030, what is the ideal balance of residential and commuter students that best serves the academic mission of the University?
There are various relationships between the Colleges and other academic units and specialized links continue to be developed, e.g. between Victoria and the Faculty of Music. Nevertheless, students often form associations with other students they meet in campus-wide academic courses and extra-curricular activities that are stronger than any connections to their home colleges. In this context, the Colleges are therefore well positioned to continue broadening the undergraduate experience through pioneering interdisciplinary programs.
Given the broad mandate of the Faculty of Arts and Science, there can be overlap in functions such as academic advising and provision of related supports for students. Although colleges provide students with services that are more personalized, there may also be problems with service integration between faculties and colleges. Debate continues about whether decentralization leads to diseconomies of scope and scale, or whether it is actually more efficient for some services.
Last, the new academic roles of the colleges have become more visible in recent years and with them has come greater visibility for the differential in resource base of these seven entities. While the usual Canadian impulse is to ‘level down’, or to ‘equalize’ by centralization, it is refreshing to note that there has instead been a constructive focus on innovation, differentiation, and local resource generation, including more aggressive fund-raising. That said, the emergence of academic programs at the college level has raised questions about the sharing of responsibilities and resources with academic divisions.
Our research hospital partners
The University of Toronto benefits enormously from a partnership with ten fully-affiliated hospitals, as well as its relationship with community hospitals and health service providers. This relationship is vital to health professional education in multiple fields. Over 50% of all research funding attributable to the University of Toronto is held by hospital-based faculty, and as many as 1800 research-stream graduate students work in hospital environments. The research hospitals no longer appoint adjunct and ‘status-only’ faculty only in traditional health disciplines. Among the academic disciplines now represented in the hospitals are chemists, mathematicians, engineers, social scientists, ethicists, informatics specialists, and computer scientists.
The framework for hospital-university relations has been clarified on multiple levels in the last few years. A multi-year omnibus agreement was signed regarding research revenues and collaborative research planning. Another milestone was the adoption in 2005 of a policy governing appointments of some 1300 full-time members of the clinical faculty. Guidelines have been implemented across the campus and hospitals on ethical conduct of research and the publication of industry-sponsored research. The framework for graduate supervision in hospitals settings has been clarified and aligned with University policy. As well, in 2007, all affiliation agreements were updated and standardized for both fully-affiliated hospitals and community hospitals.
While much has been accomplished, there are challenges. Many are short-term, and division-specific but some are more general and recurrent. We mentioned earlier the challenges of commercialization and the continuing problems of metrics that tally the performance of the University of Toronto campus rather than the entire academic family including hospitals. We also asked what structures might facilitate commercialization, leveraging the University and hospital activity and the relevant institutional machinery for technology transfer. Hospitals and the University are engaged in constant fund-raising. Benefactors frequently provide generous support to one or more hospitals as well as the University. Collaboration on specific initiatives might further reinforce these positive patterns of philanthropy. Public policy advocacy is another area where collaboration among the institutional partners occurs intermittently, but might yield more positive results if it were done more systematically.
Our Campuses, Colleges, and Affiliates in 2030 and Beyond
As outlined above, we face important strategic questions about the degree of autonomy and integration that is desirable for our three campuses. These questions were raised, considered and, not unreasonably, deferred in 1987. Leaders at UTM and UTSC then had differing views with respect to future autonomy, and neither campus was at a scale that gave practical credence to theoretical arguments about stand-alone status. Today, very few voices call for a separate University of Mississauga or a University of Scarborough, but there are rational divisions of opinion about how the tri-campus system should evolve in the next few decades.
These questions recur in different forms as we consider the system of constituent colleges and federated universities on the St. George campus. Each college has the status of a ‘division’ within the University with its own governance body (divisional councils) for decision-making, while the federated universities have substantial autonomy and unique resources. Indeed all of the Colleges could serve increasingly as institution-wide ‘innovation laboratories’, given their differing governance structures, endowments, and strong alumni relations.
Reporting relationships, however, are complex, and the principles underlying the sharing of responsibilities and resources are still being delineated as the role of the colleges and federated universities continues to evolve. It is self-evident that the vast majority of college students are enrolled in degree programs where the locus of academic oversight rests within a Faculty, usually the Faculty of Arts and Science. At the same time, students vary in the extent to which they identify with their college rather than their faculty or department, and the suite of services and programs offered by colleges is also variable. That variability seems likely to increase in the years ahead, posing new challenges as well as exciting opportunities.
TOWARDS 2030: Some strategic questions to promote dialogue …
Considering the three campus system, is greater integration or greater autonomy required? What is the balance? How should enrolment growth or reduction be distributed across the three campuses in the years ahead?
Should the University of Toronto develop a unique regional variant of longer-distance models that are successful in some US jurisdictions?
Some performance indicators for external reporting (e.g. per-capita availability of student aid, per- faculty research funding, ratio of graduate to undergraduate students) are skewed by the aggregation of data across the three campuses. To what extent should campus-specific profiles be established for external reporting?
What academic and administrative functions should be integrated and which should be separate across the three campuses? Can or should the integration of all graduate programs be maintained?
To what extent should the academic offerings of the three campuses be deliberately differentiated?
In what dimensions can the University’s partnership with Toronto’s research hospitals be further enhanced to mutual benefit?
How can the federated universities and colleges be empowered so as to contribute even more successfully to the undergraduate student experience? How can this occur without creating gridlock in academic planning at the departmental or divisional level?
What broad principles should govern the allocation of resources among colleges, divisions, and the University’s central administration?
Should college admissions be more sensitive to students’ programs, allowing greater differentiation of student profiles across colleges? Or, if greater alignment is deemed to narrow the student experience through a more homogenous peer group in each college, then what is our vision of the ideal mix of disciplines to promote a diverse environment for undergraduate student life?
Currently, the college system is associated primarily with the Faculty of Arts and Science. Should we ensure that first-entry students on the St. George campus from all faculties are aligned with colleges and the associated residence opportunities?