When CEOs Run Universities
Yesterday’s Globe and Mail features an articleÂ on the resignation of Paul Bates as Dean of McMaster’s business school.Â I believe the article is instructive in terms of understanding what can happen when private-sector actors are put in senior administrative roles at Canadian univerities
According to the article, McMaster hired Mr. Bates in 2004.Â Mr. Bates had no university degree, yet had been very successful in the private sector.Â With Mr. Bates as Dean,
[f]aculty membersÂ soon became “perplexed” about how decisions wereÂ made onÂ important academic matters such as chairing tenure and promotion meetings, developing research policies and developing new graduate programs…By the timeÂ Mr. Bates’ five-year contract came up for renewal in 2008, 80 per cent of the faculty opposed his reappointment but they were overruled by the university’s board of governors….The feuding came to a head last spring when the university’s Office of Human Rights and Equity Services released a report that said dissension had become so bad, several faculty members were on medication for depression, anxiety and stress-related illnesses.
Though Mr. Bates resigned as Dean on Thursday,Â McMaster has given him a new position in the businessÂ schoolÂ whereÂ he will focus on “strategy and development.”
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, and is Section Editor of the Canadian Review of Social Policy/Revue canadienne de politique sociale. You can check out his website here: https://nickfalvo.ca/.