[COVID-19] Structure Changes  

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost  
Vivek Goel, Special Advisor to the President and Provost  
Date:  July 16, 2020  
Re: [COVID-19] Structure Changes   

Four months ago, the University activated its Crisis and Emergency Framework to manage our coordinated response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the Incident Leadership Team (ILT) has overseen six teams focusing on academic continuity, students, research operations, human resources and equity, business continuity and operations, and communications.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us all with an unprecedented situation. The ILT has worked collaboratively across the institution, taking the lead in planning and coordinating our collective response. We are extremely grateful to every member of the ILT and subgroups for their commitment and service to the University during these past months.  

As we look ahead to the Fall, we want to announce some details about changes to our COVID response structure as referenced in the President’s recent message to our U of T community.  These changes, effective July 13, 2020, will be in place for one year. Much remains unknown about COVID-19, consequently, we will continue to update the structure periodically and do a reassessment in Spring 2021.  

As we move from crisis-response into a “new normal,” the University is retiring the current ILT structure.  Many of its members are returning to their former roles as we go back to our usual organizational structures with adaptations as needed to support our continued COVID-19 response efforts.    

In his new role as Special Advisor to the President and Provost, Vivek will lead the University’s operational response to the pandemic on a day-to-day basis. Cheryl will remain involved in many aspects of the COVID-19-related work as co-lead with Vivek, as almost every aspect of the university’s operations will continue to be informed by the pandemic on so many fronts. To assist Vivek and support our academic and administrative leaders navigate the incredibly complex and unchartered territory ahead, the University has created the Response and Adaptation Unit, a small, dedicated team housed in the Provost’s Office, and a tri-campus Response and Adaptation Committee (RAC). This unit and committee will assist all portfolios across the institution with COVID-related issues, projects, and other matters.    

Archana Sridhar will be returning full-time to her role as Assistant Provost, while Anuar Rodrigues and Elizabeth Church will remain as a part of the secretariat for this RAC.    

The membership of the Response and Adaptation Committee will be:    

  • Vivek Goel, Special Advisor to the President and Provost (Chair)  
  • Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students  
  • Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education  
  • Joshua Barker, Vice-Provost, Graduate Research & Education and Dean, School of Graduate Studies  
  • Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance  
  • Ron Saporta, Chief Operating Officer  
  • Erin Jackson, Chief Human Resources Officer  
  • Anne MacDonald, Assistant Vice-President, Ancillary Services  
  • David Jang, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications (UTC)  
  • Amanda Pautler, Director, Operations and Chief of Staff (GRO)  
  • Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer (UTSC Liaison)  
  • Susan Senese, Executive Director, Strategy (UTM Liaison)  
  • Anuar Rodrigues, Senior Lead, COVID-19 Strategy and Implementation  
  • Elizabeth Church, Senior Lead, COVID-19 Strategy and Communications   

We thank all members of the ILT and subgroups for their commitment, leadership, creativity, and dedication over the past four months as we navigated this crisis and now prepare for a broader return to our campuses in the Fall.  

For the latest information on the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the UTogether 2020 website.