Academic Planning

This working group was struck at the first University of Toronto General Assembly.

Minutes from break-out session (pdf file).

Report-back to the general assembly from break-out session:

Member: We’re discussing the effects of the Academic Plan released last summer and the activities that resulted. Short-term goals: the provost’s panel on academic planning that may be announced next week. We would like to create a mechanism to be able to call a confidence vote in her selection for the committee and its mandate, if we ever find out what that is, and as a response to be able to create a supplemental committee to create substantive academic planning in the future. We’d also like to see the budget and find out departments’ needs, and initiate communication with people on the committee to open lines of communication. Long-term goals: watch and help preserve potential victim departments, and work toward creating a new division of academic planning that is bottom-up.

This working group was merged with the Governance and Accountability working group at the second general assembly. Minutes and approved motions will be added within the week (before 03/08/11).

Background Issues

Tutorial Sizes

A recent Provostial Task Force on the Undergraduate Tutorial Experience exposed that tutorials at the U of T often look a lot more like lectures. The median tutorial size is approximately 26 students, a reasonable size. However, 24.3% (561) of tutorials are larger than 51 students. 18 tutorials at the U of T have more than 200 students.

The task force’s data reveals that TAs and tutorials are often not well integrated into the coverall course. 19% of TAs never had the overall goals of the course explained to them by the instructor and 46% did not have the goals of individual tutorial sessions explained. 30% of TAs never receive training specific to their course. Many TAs lead tutorials where there is no attempt to integrate their teaching into the larger course. This is an obvious disservice to undergraduate students, the instructor, and the TA.

The Tutorial Task Force reveals the ad-hoc basis by which the U of T uses tutorials. Rather than providing a space for graduate students to increase their capacities as instructors and for undergraduates to learn in small groups, tutorials at the U of T are an afterthought.

– more coming soon –

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