Updates to UTM food service, information and instructional technology services, and budget priorities were the main topics of discussion at last Monday’s meeting of the UTM Campus Affairs Committee.
Campus food service
According to a presentation by the hospitality and retail operations director Vicky Jezierski, the contract with Chartwells that was signed on June 1 will last for five years. The university has negotiated a 30-percent catering discount for student groups for non-branded food services on campus.
According to Jezierski, the portion of the contract related to catering was “publicly tendered in September in order to source three to five new providers in addition to the Chartwells Food Services”.
Jezierski explained that this means that UTM members will be able to choose from several approved suppliers when catering, rather than just Chartwells.
“To be recognized as one of the approved catering suppliers, they need to meet all requirements, including but not limited to the inspection of the production facility and copies of health inspections from the city in good standing,” she said, adding that the university is reviewing the proposal and will update the community once the process is completed.
According to Jezierski, during the process of deciding on the contract, student input was sought through an online food services survey, through which the university received 2,557 responses. Also, there were four open houses with a total of 997 responses, and four focus groups: UTM staff, UTMSU executives, Residence Council, and Faculty Club members.
Since 2010, the “managed volume”—the size of food operations at UTM—went from $6.5M to $11M. As well, the sponsorship of the Hospitality and Retail Department for community events rose from $6,000 to $30,000/year.
“I think we are in a much better place now than five to seven years ago,” said Jezierski.
Further plans include construction on North 2, which is to open in September 2018, and a new food court.
New IT service desk
The Information and Instructional Technology Services is expected to have a new service desk in CCT, which is to open on December 1.
According to Susane Senese, I&ITS Director, they want students to only have to come to one place with their TCard, instead of going to the third floor of CCT for the IT Desk and then being asked to go somewhere else. The new desk will also offer shuttle bus services.
Also, in an attempt to improve their customer service, Senese said that a ticket system will be used.
As for campus Wi-Fi, Senese said that UTM’s capacity for Wi-Fi since 2013 had been 1,150 wireless access points and 9,000 simultaneous connections. According to Senese, UTM plans to double this capacity.
UTM’s budget was also discussed.
According to Amy Mullin, VP academic and dean, the gross revenue of 2015/16 is $240.5M, and the net revenue is 75 percent of that—$184.3M.
Among the budget priorities for 2016/17 are enrolment growth, space expansion, experiential learning, faculty and staff searches, a lower student-faculty ratio, and the student experience.
The student to faculty ratios in 2013 were the highest at UTM compared to U of T’s other campuses, with UTM at a ratio of 35.8, and projecting 35.9 for the fall of 2015. The long-term goal is to arrive at a ratio of 30.
The next Campus Affairs meeting will take place on January 7.