McMaster University has appointed an acting dean of business to steady the waters after Paul Bates resigned following a controversial tenure at the business school’s helm. Bob McNutt, a retired professor of geology and former dean of humanities, will lead the DeGroote School of Business beginning March 1 and until a permanent replacement for Bates can be found.
“He understands some of the history of the issues in the school, but he also has an extraordinary amount of experience and good judgment on these kinds of matters, so I’m confident he’s the ideal person to help move the school through this next phase,” McMaster president, Patrick Deane said of McNutt in the Hamilton Spectator.
Bates left the post last month after a presidential committee reported a vicious climate in the faculty, going back at least 20 years, characterized by “bullying, harassment, mean-spirited sarcasm, intimidation and disrespect.” Several faculty members bitterly opposed Bates’ management, arguing he was running the business school like a corporation, and criticized the fact that Bates does not have a university degree. Supporters pointed out that Bates had raised the profile of the faculty and that he was was well liked by students. An earlier report from the university’s office of human rights and equity services described the faculty as “dysfunctional.”
After stepping aside Bates took a new strategy and development role at the Ron Joyce Centre at McMaster’s Burlington campus.
President Deane said he is evaluating possible disciplinary measures for several members of the faculty that could include dismissal. “It’s not a huge number, but it is a significant number,” he said. Deane will likely make his recommendations before March.