Task Force on Outreach Activities at the University of Toronto - Report

PDAD&C # 56, 2007-08


To:    Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
From:      Vivek Goel, Vice-President and Provost
Date:      May 30, 2008
Re:   Task Force on Outreach Activities at the University of Toronto - Report

In October 2007, I announced the formation of a Task Force on Outreach Activities at the University of Toronto (PDAD&C # 24 http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/public/pdadc/0708/outreach.htm ). The Task Force was asked to provide a description of the outreach programs already in existence at the University of Toronto, including examining their stated aims and their funding sources. It then compared the University of Toronto outreach initiatives to what is being done at other universities, both in Canada and internationally. Once these aims were assessed, the Task Force was asked to make recommendations regarding: the ways we measure the success of our existing programs; the scope of our programs; the internal and external relationships forged by our existing programs; and participant engagement.

The Task Force met from November 2007 through to March 2008, considered oral and written submissions, representations from guests, and reviewed documentation about programs offered at U of T, at comparator universities, and within the broader community. The Task Force has now completed its work and has provided the attached final report http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/Assets/Reports/outreachrep2008.pdf

The Report of the Task Force on Outreach Activities makes it clear that all divisions of the University of Toronto are engaged in highly valued and essential outreach activities. It recommends that our broad and diverse outreach activities be coordinated to ensure appropriate focus, planning, and impact in accordance with our core academic mission and values and with our limited resources and that centrally-funded outreach initiatives be assessed through a transparent process in which the academic divisions participate in the allocation of central resources.

In light of these recommendations, we will be exploring ways to set up appropriate mechanisms that will enable us to continue to be engaged with our community.

I wish to express my gratitude to the Task Force members, and the many members of the University community who shared their knowledge with the committee.