Professor Deep Saini returned to his position as VP of U of T and principal of UTM last Monday following a six-month sabbatical, where the administrator was able to reflect on the future of UTM.

In an interview with The Medium, Saini outlined his plans for the growth of UTM and to meet the demands of a growing student population, currently sitting at 14,000, by hiring additional faculty.

When asked how many students UTM can ultimately accommodate, Saini pointed to 20,000 as a “sweet spot” that can maintain intimacy and community on campus.

As previously reported by The Medium, UTM’s current ratio of students to faculty is 35.9:1, while the ideal ratio is 30:1.

When asked how Saini will lead the expansion while faced with decreasing financial support from the provincial government, he said that for UTM, the focus will be on balancing the budget effectively and implementing one area of change at a time, such as facility expansion and faculty expansion.

When discussing academics, Saini expressed the willingness to incorporate more programs in the applied sciences while also fostering more events and opportunities for students in the social sciences and humanities to create more of an artistic and literary culture at UTM.

“It is important to remember that we are not just the University of Mississauga, we are the University of Toronto Mississauga,” Saini said on UTM’s position within the broader context of the University of Toronto.

Another goal of the sabbatical was to focus on research.

“I made a lot of progress on getting back into research, so that was a good thing,” Saini said regarding his return to research both on paper and in the lab. He worked on a research manuscript in his field of biology and hopes to have a potential publication with input from other experts in the field published sometime this summer.

“I was able to just detach myself [on sabbatical] and set my own schedule and work on things that had been lingering,” said Saini, who told The Medium that he had not taken a leave of absence for the last 15 years.

During his absence, Saini also played golf and traveled abroad to India.

This article has been corrected from the print edition. Saini was quoted as saying that an enrolment of 20,000 was a “soft spot”. The quote should have read “sweet spot”. A notice will be printed in the January 18, 2016 issue.