McMaster University’s dean of business, Paul Bates, has resigned after a presidential report revealed a nasty work climate in the faculty that has existed since before Bates took the top job in 2004. The report, authored by a President’s Advisory Committee, described a culture of “bullying, harassment, mean-spirited sarcasm, intimidation and disrespect.”
The committee was appointed in the Spring by former McMaster president, Peter George, after an investigation by the university’s office of human rights and equity services discovered a “dysfunctional work environment.” Faculty members were divided over Bates’ management style with many raising concerns that the dean, who does not have a university degree, was running the faculty like a corporation. Supporters pointed out that Bates had raised the profile of the business school and that he was was well liked by students.
However, in a non-binding 2008 poll, organized by the faculty association, more than 80 per cent of business professors voted against reappointing Bates to a second five-year term. The university reappointed Bates anyway.
While this latest report concludes that the faculty is “dysfunctional” and that there are hardened positions between critics and supporters of Bates, it also found that the bitterness goes back as much as 20 years. Bates will step into a new strategy and development role at the Ron Joyce Centre at McMaster’s Burlington campus. An interim dean will be appointed in March.