After more than four years, the world's largest tournament is back on the main stage, and McMaster had multiple venues hosting watch parties that you can tune into  

It’s been over four years since the last world cup in Russia, held in the summer of 2018. Since then, there have been many fans who have been awaiting the return of this event and finally the time has come. A world cup during winter. Over the course of the month, soccer fans at McMaster University had and will have the opportunity to tune into numerous events and watch parties that will be occurring throughout the course of the event.   

While it has already passed, the “World Cup with the Dean” event had been organized for Nov. 23, where students had the opportunity to join the dean of DeGroote School of Business to watch the opening Canada game against Belgium. The rare opportunity features complimentary food and snacks for the attendees.   

Another source for watch parties occurring around campus is the OSCARplus website, which has been helpful for students all the way through. On the website, students will be able to find over a dozen watch parties that are offered by International Student Services and for the time being are only showing the group stage games, with a view of expanding during the play-off stages. Although no prior registration is required for each game, it is a first-come first-serve basis for all students, with most of the games being broadcasted in the Student Centre (MUSC B118).   

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A third opportunity for soccer fans at McMaster to tune into the World Cup comes via the McMaster Sports Community, a regular watch party host at the school. The club intends to hold their final World Cup watch party on Dec. 2 at 2:00 p.m., viewing the Serbia vs Switzerland affair. Food and drinks will be provided to attendees free of charge, and the event will be held in Burke Science Building, room 115.  

There is no doubt that there are soccer fans among the student population that will be tuning into this year's biggest sports event, and although it is the first world cup ever being hosted in the winter, it opens the opportunity for McMaster to offer as many student-led events for the matches as possible.   

C/O Ollie Take, Contributor

Got yesterday’s lecture notes? 

As McMaster University students prepare to return to in-person learning, the school issued new guidance on how students should handle absences. 

On Feb. 1, McMaster Daily News posted a guide on what to do if you get COVID-19.  

“Staying home when sick or isolating when required is one of the most important ways our community members can contribute to making in-person learning and working as safe as possible,” wrote McMaster Daily News.  

Everyone in the McMaster community is reminded that they must complete MacCheck before attending campus.  

If you have symptoms or have tested positive, stay home!  

For those who are not well enough to learn, the university has increased how long the MSAF lasts. Instead of only covering three days of missed classes and assignments, you will now be able to MSAF five days. This ends in April 2022. 

“Students are encouraged to use the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) through Mosaic if their screening results recommend that they isolate and are not permitted to come to campus,” said the post. 

DeGroote School of Business students received a flowchart that explains what to do if they miss class. Students who are not cleared to attend classes are instructed to contact their peers, TAs or instructors to stay on top of their work. 

C/O DeGroote School of Business

The Daily News article also spoke to students who are currently living on residence, encouraging them to check with their community advisor or residence life area coordinator for more details on what to do if they show symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.  

According to Housing and Conference Services, if students live in residence and need to isolate, they may be asked to move to an isolation room for up to 10 days, unless they have a private ensuite washroom, live in a suite or apartment style room, or isolate at home. 

Students have pointed out on the McMaster sub-Reddit that the university has not said whether or not classes will be required to be recorded. This confusion has caused some heated debated amongst users. 

“This doesn’t confirm that they won’t record right? Or does it? Honestly idk lol,” user Lord_of_Wessex wrote about the flowchart sent by DeGroote. 

In a MacDiscussions roundtable with the Silhouette and 93.3 CFMU, Vice-Provost (Academic) Kim Dej said that most medium to large lecture halls would be equipped with recording technology. 

“[W]e have really invested in our learning spaces over the last 20 months. Most of our medium and large lecture halls have Echo 360, which is a capture tool that the MSU has been advocating for many years pre-pandemic and it means that live lectures can be streamed or they can be recorded,” said Dej

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McMaster University has not publicly stated whether all in-person classes will be recorded for students who are absent. Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Susan Tighe stated in a post on McMaster Daily News that the university is committed to helping those who cannot come to campus due to isolation. 

“Our university is committed to being supportive, compassionate and flexible for our community members who are required to isolate,” said Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Susan Tighe.  

Despite Tighe’s commitment, many students remain confused as to exactly what supports are available should they get COVID-19 and cannot attend in-person classes.  

Photo C/O Toques from the Heart Website

Casey Rogan and Matthew Milne, two level III commerce students at McMaster University, are collecting knit hockey socks and repurposing them into toques that they’ve been handing out to help vulnerable community members, particulary those facing challenges of homelessness, stay warm this winter. The duo has co-founded Toques from the Heart, a Hamilton-based non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for hockey players to donate hockey socks to give back to their local communities. According to Rogan, he and Milne came up with the idea on July 30, 2019, while both of them were enrolled in summer school. 

“[Milne] had the initial idea when he was younger, and got the idea to ask his mom to change knit hockey socks into toques just as a fun little thing . . .  and his mom actively sews so she did it for him, [so] we’ve had some of the toques for a while,” explains Rogan. 

Upon further discussion, Rogan and Milne decided to start donating toques by directly handing them out in Hamilton and Toronto and selling others to raise money to support hockey programming for children. “As McMaster students in our third year of commerce, [we] really felt that we wanted to get the most of our university experience . . .  [we] wanted to make things happen for us, and not just wait around to get out of university without having any experience,” said Rogan. 

A hat made from a hockey sock. Photo C/O Toques from the Heart website.

Four months later, Toques from the Heart officially launched on Nov. 15, 2019, with the goal of collecting 200 knit hockey socks by the end of the year. In 2019, the organization reported that they were able to achieve more than triple their intended goal, receiving approximately 700 knit hockey socks. Each sock donated can be repurposed into two toques. Rogan explains that he was overwhelmed by the amount of support and feedback the program received from the community. 

“In just under two months, we were able to pass our goal and collect 700 knit hockey socks through donations, [this can make] approximately 1400 toques . . .  and have donated many of them [to the] Downtown Hamilton and Toronto areas,” said Rogan. 

Toques from the Heart also sells repurposed toques to community members for $20 to raise money to support children’s hockey programming.

“We have enough money to cover [the] initial costs and all the funds coming in now are going towards this initiative [of supporting hockey programming]. In the future we would love to sponsor our own Toques from the Heart team and have kids who don’t have these opportunities to be able to play hockey,” explains Rogan. 

Hats made from a hockey sock with patches with the Toques from the Heart logo. Photo C/O Toques from the Heart website.

By the end of 2020, Toques from the Heart has set a goal of raising $5000 and help 500 Canadians stay warm this winter by collecting 2000 knit hockey socks. The organization is also looking for potential sponsors, partnerships and opportunities to expand within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.

By the end of 2020, Toques from the Heart has set a goal of raising $5000 and help 500 Canadians stay warm this winter by collecting 2000 knit hockey socks. The organization is also looking for potential sponsors, partnerships and opportunities to expand within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.

“We are actively contracting Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Canadian Tire. We’re [also] trying to get donations in local arenas and bigger arenas and work with these bigger companies to get the word out there and get exposed in the hockey community,” Rogan added. 

According to Rogan, the organization has also given them the opportunity to engage with seniors in the Hamilton community. 

“[On Jan. 26], we went out to two retirement homes, and held a [toque-making] session . . .  folks helped to make some toques and in the coming weeks they will take on the production of the toques. They were all super excited about [us] coming and happy that they had a chance to give back to their own communities,” Rogan explained. 

Rogan adds that Toques from the Heart is always looking for additional volunteers. More information about the organization can be found on their website. 


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McMaster undergraduate programs have been making waves all over, so much so that the Atlantic, an American political magazine, recently featured the new integrated business and humanities program.

The program was spearheaded by McMaster professors Emad Mohammad and Anna Moro and enables students to both pursue a business major and receive a robust humanities education.

“The humanities aspect is what makes it, in part, more than a typical business degree,” said Moro. “A foundation in the humanities is what makes some of the most progressive thinkers and business leaders.”

In his article in the Atlantic, however, Jon Marcus paints a grim picture, highlighting that, while business programs continue to be sought after, the popularity of the humanities has languished.

In particular, the number of students pursuing a humanities degree in both Canada and the United States has fallen. Marcus notes that, though McMaster’s integrated business and humanities program sought to fill 80 seats this year, only 51 students enrolled.

According to Mohammad and Moro, Marcus omitted key data from the article. Although only 51 students enrolled in integrated business and humanities this year, the program received 452 applications, and only 315 applicants made it to the supplementary application phase.

In addition, the program generated a yield, which includes the percent of students who accept their offer, of about 30 per cent, which is three per cent higher than McMaster’s annual yield for Ontario high school students in 2014, the most recent data point publicly available from the university’s Office of Institutional Research and Analysis.

According to Mohammad, the integrated business and humanities program’s yield was also comparatively higher than that of McMaster’s commerce program.

“We don’t think future enrolment is a problem,” said Moro. “I think we got more than expected applications for the first year.”

While the article published in the Atlantic exaggerated the lack of demand for integrated business and humanities, the program’s future popularity will, in part, depend on the first cohort’s experience.

“It’s very interesting to be linking information learned in one class to the other classes. We already have four group projects, such all seem to be very interesting and engaging topics,” said Yael Morris, an integrated business and humanities student.

“All of our classes are interactive and encourage group work, which allows us to work on communication and teamwork skills,” said Chloe Benalcazar, another student in the program.

William Stephenson, another integrated business and humanities student, appreciates that the program has created a tight-knit community for him.

Morris and Benalcazar, however, highlight concerns with their peace studies course.

“I would like to see a change in our peace studies course by having more structure, direction and organization. It seems to be very slow and that we’re not learning as much as we could,” said Morris. “I find that my classmates and I are continuously lost during the lectures and that we aren’t learning to the highest potential.”

Benalcazar questions the relevance of the course, not being able to see the intersection between peace studies and commerce.

Moreover, Stephenson wishes he could take a humanities course, rather than the required commerce one, as an elective in third and fourth year.

“As we currently do not have room for electives until third year, I believe that the interests of the class should be taken into account when designing the curriculum for the courses,” said Benalcazar. “For example, if the class is interested in international business or wants to learn more about the environment and sustainability, that interest should be taken into account and implemented in the following years.”

To improve the program’s reputation and increase enrolment in the future, integrated business and humanities students’ feedback will need to be acknowledged.

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Business at McMaster has been a constant source of controversy over the last 12 years. When Paul Bates was appointed dean of DeGroote in 2004, some faculty members attempted to have him removed in the belief that his Bay St. success was less important than his lack of a university degree. The selection committee recommended the administration appoint an academic as the associate dean, common at other universities, but this was never followed.

By his contract renewal in 2008, 80 per cent of the faculty opposed his reappointment. They were overruled by the university’s board of governors. His greatest achievement in building the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington to house the school’s MBA program in addition to the increasing number of students and the public reputation of the school trending upwards was enough.

A later report stated a culture defined by “bullying, harassment, mean-spirited sarcasm, intimidation and disrespect,” resulted in dissension and lead to several faculty members turning to medication for depression, anxiety and stress-related illnesses. He resigned in 2010.

In 2013, three professors were suspended without pay for three years, two faced shorter suspensions and one was reprimanded. Two groups had developed before the resignation, critics and supporters of the dean, which resulted in disputes before and after the resignation.

The tribunal recommending this course of action argued that these critics were, “seemingly unconcerned about whether allegations [against Mr. Bates] were real, embellished, or even false.” This group was also accused by the dean’s supporters of interfering in decisions about their careers and tenure.

In October of this year, an Ontario appeals court reduced the suspensions in this harassment case and ordered the university to compensate the faculty members for the difference in duration.

The public reputation of the DeGroote School of Business, the internal culture of the university, hiring practices and general human resources have all been altered significantly over the last 12 years. However, assuming a lack of persisting internal problems, the future and the current contributions from the School of Business, including dean Leonard Waverman, are extremely positive and should represent a source of inspiration to any faculty.

The first notable point is how the dean’s experience in international telecommunications and global resources management has changed the faculty. Most evident in the launch of a new Executive MBA in Digital Transformation with theScore Inc. as founding partners, the focus on technology and understanding globalization has defined a goal and focus for the faculty that has modern relevancy.

John Levy, theScore’s founder and CEO, stated, “companies are being [digitally] disrupted all the time and there is a lack of understanding of how to cope with that. We wanted to do something to have an impact on how modern businesses work.”

Companies are being [digitally] disrupted all the time and there is a lack of understanding of how to cope with that.
John Levy
Founder and CEO theScore

James Bigg, manager of communications at theScore, added that the digital world, “is moving so fast that if you don’t stay ahead of the game, you’ll be left behind. This program will offer tangible results for organization.”

This shift can also be noted recently with the three-day alumni panels hosted last month at the Ron Joyce Centre as part of the newly-redesigned MBA program. Reforms like cohort classes, integrated case studies and Foundation Weeks dedicated to sessions with faculty and industry professional are additional components to this modernization.

Adeel Abbasi, who drove large-scale digital transformations at companies like Adobe and CIBC, stated, “Almost everywhere I’ve been, digital is growing while other areas are being consolidated… Think of an enterprise like Uber: they’re one of the largest transportation companies on earth, but they have no fleet. Airbnb has become a world leader in accommodations, but they own no properties. Every sector is being impacted by digital change.”

While it seems obvious to shift to modern technology and interactions as an area of focus, other areas of the school should be learning from this. Developing Mosaic, while still with a large assortment of issues, and embracing WebEx as a web conferencing tool represent a similar idea in updating previously stale or non-existent tools. While these have been larger university issues, DeGroote has represented one of the few examples of a faculty actively moving towards this as a core part of its education.

In more traditional courses, the lack of technology use and a lack of focus on how interconnected people are remains an issue. This generally ranges from professors not using all the options already available on Avenue to aid the accessibility of the material, the fact that so few courses having the ability to access podcasts or recorded lectures and fundamental issues with the curriculum that advocate for old methods in modern times. The capability to add more to each course with what is already in place and the capability to add more real world relevancy is apparent.

While the increasing advocacy for course feedback may indirectly result in changes, the issue remains that this is done on a course-by-course basis rather than a directed change by each faculty’s management.

Having clear direction, objective and way to elevate the prestige of the program above competitors should be on the agenda for any faculty. It does not need to be digitally focused, but a five year plan should be more than generic and subjective improvement of what is already in place. All it takes is a focus, a direction and a desired endpoint.

The other big adjustment made is the coordination between DeGroote and other faculties. One of the only ways to mix faculties currently in the majority of undergrad experiences is roommates, electives or through clubs. While a career may filter you into an area with likeminded people with similar degrees, there is still a divide present between academia and real life. Understanding the perspectives of other people, expanding your knowledge base outside of bird courses and knowing how to interact with people outside of the limitations of your faculty are all underrepresented lessons at McMaster.

The most notable example of this is the upcoming launch of the Integrated Business and Humanities program that follows a long tradition of McMaster innovation and experimentation. Introducing this program, set to launch in Fall 2017, has been considered since Leonard Waverman’s hiring as dean in 2013.

Ken Cruikshank, dean of the Faculty of Humanities, stated “The 21st century knowledge economy needs people skilled in communication, collaboration and creativity. These are precisely the qualities that a humanities education helps to foster.” This program and coordination with another faculty helps fill the gaps in education and reinforce important areas that may not be fully covered otherwise.

We have already seen the effects of diversified post-secondary with the success of McMaster initiatives such as the Arts and Science program. Similar to the Integrated Business and Humanities program, the emphasis on active, self-directed and cooperative learning in addition to the development of transferable skills leaves students with a large base of skills and knowledge to work with.

The Integrated Business and Humanities program, with a target enrolment of 80 students, will follow a near identical formula as Arts and Science’s target enrolment of 60 first-year students.

Almost everywhere I've been, digital is growing while other areas are being consolidated.
Adele Abbasi
Digital Transformation Leader, Adobe

Arts and Science is mentioned in the Forward with Integrity paper by current president Patrick Deane as the program, “was a determined attempt to escape the constraints of a discipline or department-centred curriculum and to create a program that would effectively answer by example the concern that undergraduate education cannot thrive in a research-intensive university.”

The paper continues to state that the program continued to have an influence on innovations such as the medical program with self-directed and problem-based learning, and the Engineering and Management program.

The 21st century knowledge economy needs people skilled in communication, collaboration and creativity. These are precisely the qualities that a humanities education helps to foster.
Ken Cruikshank
Dean, Faculty of Humanities 

These are simply the next steps of long-standing McMaster traditions. The new Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program is also a great continuation of this concept, and additional faculties should take the examples set by DeGroote in addition to McMaster’s past and present to explore similar options.

Despite recent controversies and history, the DeGroote School of Business has been able to push through this adversity to be a great example for the rest of the university to follow. With the technological shifts, general interaction and interactions with other faculties, DeGroote has managed to advance and modernize its education by finding appropriate inspiration from the past and from Patrick Deane.

While most of us will have graduated by the time the full effects are felt around campus, the sense of pride knowing the school continues in a positive direction is one I am glad to have.

The recent mess in the Faculty of Business that has resulted in the suspension of five professors is shocking for the high-profile nature of the situation, while simultaneously being unsurprising for the issue that it’s over. The hostile work environment described in the documents that have been released so far concerns differing opinions over who is worthy of tenure and leadership positions: those with doctorate degrees or those without - but with extensive industry experience.

The faculty feud is indicative of two things: one, that bullying, infighting and plotting are not left behind at high school graduation; and two, that the debate between higher education and work experience is not over, and is worth revisiting.

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As upper-year students begin submitting their applications to Masters programs, post-grad college programs, second degree programs and continuing education, questioning – in our personal lives – what the DeGroote professors questioned becomes an important conversation to have with ourselves.

With the job market becoming ever more competitive, many students are turning to post-grad studies as the inevitable next step. Friends of mine in this position are either uncertain about what they want to do so they figure more schooling will give them answers, or they know what they want to do but are convinced competition is too fierce to get anywhere without more education. Maybe this is an appropriate approach. But maybe it’s not.

As I begin to search for jobs for when my time here comes to an end, I’m repeatedly reading about the amount of years in the field that companies are looking for. A degree, from a variety of potential programs, is required – but it’s not the emphasis and it’s non-specific.

I’m currently trying to decide if I ought to go back to school – do a post-grad college certificate and amp up my credentials – or just try to directly enter the working world. If the turmoil in DeGroote can be any lesson to me, perhaps I should just try my luck with finding a job and focus on industry experience rather than more years of theoretical knowledge.

Easier said than done, of course, when you need experience to get a job and you need a job to get experience. Still, perhaps more students will start choosing job experience to precede their names, rather than more letters to go behind them.


Five professors in the DeGroote School of Business have been handed “lengthy suspensions without pay” by the University after a tribunal of their peers found their misconduct resulted in a “poisonous and hostile work environment.”

In 2011, two complaints of harassment were filed by and against faculty in McMaster’s business school.

An anti-discrimination tribunal set up to address the complaints recently released its 26-page public report. The report summarizes the tribunal’s findings after two years of proceedings, 2694 documents and testimonies from 65 witnesses.

In the first complaint, five faculty members filed a harassment complaint against a senior administrator and McMaster University.In the second complaint, seven faculty members and one staff alleged that six faculty members, including four who filed the first complaint, harassed them. One counter-complaint was filed against one of the initiators of the second complaint.

A tribunal, made up of three tenured McMaster professors, was commissioned to hear the complaints. They found that several professors committed “serious and multiple” acts of misconduct.

“The most egregious misconduct involved the unlawful and self-serving interference with tenure and promotion,” according to the public report.

“Permanent removal was a remedy seriously considered for some of the individuals. In the end, it was not determined to be necessary,” the tribunal stated, as the University allowed some delays in the process and certain decisions by a “non-party senior administrator” also contributed to the workplace hostility.

The tribunal recommended that three professors should have “lengthy suspensions without pay, benefits, privileges or access to the University’s premises.” It was recommended that two other professors also be suspended, but for a shorter period of time. One other individual will receive a written reprimand.

The identities of the suspended professors have not been disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement. The tribunal did not specify how long the suspensions should last.

McMaster president Patrick Deane issued a statement calling the “complexity and number” of the complaints “unprecedented” at the University.

Deane stated that he “fully accepts the Tribunal’s findings” and has “already begun the process of implementing the recommended sanctions and other remedies.”

Following the release of the tribunal’s report, three business classes were cancelled this week.

McMaster spokesperson Andrea Farquhar said the department is working to ensure all classes are up and running again by next week.

“[The School of Business] has been successful in finding a number of well-qualified instructors,” Farquhar said, to temporarily take over from the suspended professors.

“It will certainly be a priority for us to minimize impact on students,” she said.

The tribunal dismissed allegations against the senior administrator accused of harassment and abusing his power.

The tribunal also found there was no “direct harassment or malicious behaviour” on the part of the University. However, it stated that University must “accept some responsibility” for the unacceptable workplace environment and review its anti-discrimination policy. The tribunal recommended sensitivity training for the reprimanded professors.

The complaints were filed a year after former business dean Paul Bates resigned. Bates stepped down amid disputes among the faculty and claims of bullying. Some believed he was not a qualified academic as he had industry experience but no university degree, while others defended him. The issue created a rift between business school faculty.

Bates, who was not specifically named in the tribunal’s report, still works at McMaster as a special advisor to the president.

Since the tribunal began investigating the complaints two years ago, proceedings have been kept out of the public eye.

Farquhar said it was necessary to protect the identities of the university employees involved in the complaints.

Individual sanctions have taken effect immediately while other recommendations will be gradually enforced.

“There are some recommendations on reviewing the [anti-discrimination] policy, for instance, and some sensitivity training – that takes a little bit of time to implement. The policy will go to the Senate,” she said.


A McMaster tribunal that hears complaints filed under the University’s anti-discrimination policy has issued an update on complaints filed prior to last year.

According to the statement, complaints were submitted by individuals affiliated with the DeGroote School of Business. The tribunal is still determining whether there has been any breach of University policy.

"No member is permitted to discuss any of the proceedings as it is a closed hearing and there is a confidentiality order in place," said Maureen MacDonald, chair of the tribunal, who asked that no further questions be directed to her or any other member of the committee.

The tribunal has received inquiries about the hearing from other members of the University. On Wednesday, the tribunal reiterated a confidentiality order dated June 30, 2011 that “pertains to all aspects of the complaints and apply to all parties including the University.”

The statement was handed out at Wednesday's University Senate meeting and subsequently posted on the McMaster Daily News.

McMaster spokesperson Gord Arbeau said he could not provide any further comment on the situation.

The tribunal has expressed that a summary of its decision will be made public when the proceedings are over.

[Updated Fri. Mar. 15 to include a quote from the tribunal chair]

At a university with an ever-growing student population, you might expect that academic distinctions would get more competitive. But a recent policy change in the DeGroote School of Business will now make it easier for more students to earn an honours degree.

At the Feb. 13 meeting of University Senate, a motion was passed to change the average requirement to enter the level three honours stream of the Bachelor of Commerce program from a 6 (67-69 per cent) to a 5 (63-66 per cent).

According to Giri Kanagaretnam, Associate Dean at DeGroote, the change is only meant to “make entry and exit requirements consistent.”

To graduate with an Honours B. Com., a cumulative average (CA) of 5 is required. A CA of 5 is also the standard for passing from Level I to Level II of the program.

Kanagaretnam was unsure as to why the averages were different in the first place, but he said the standards have remained the same since the separation of the Honours stream about 20 years ago.

“One of the biggest complaints is that we have these two programs that are the same length,” he said of the B.Com. and Honours B.Com., which are both four-year degrees.

The difference between the two, aside from the distinction itself, is the availability of electives. While Honours students have their choice of business electives, regular B.Com. students must choose from courses offered outside the department.

It is unclear as to how many students this will affect. The current Level III B.Com class has 81 students, 61 of whom passed into the Honours stream with an average of at least 6.

“We cannot promise anything until we review their grades in May,” Kanagaretnam said of the effect on current second-year students.

The department also chose to allow third-year students who fell just short of meeting the requirement of a 6 to switch into the Honours stream in Sept. 2013.

Applying the change only to incoming students was an option, but Kanagaretnam explained the rationale behind the decision, saying that “given that [the Honours degree] would be students’ first choice, why not extend that to them?”

Though the motion was passed before reading week, when the Silhouette went to press, students had yet to be notified of the change. The Academic Office at DeGroote reported that it would be alerting students to the new policy by email later in the week.

The shift in requirements will be put forward in Sept. 2013 and was described as a “minor structural change” done in preparation for changes to the B.Com. curriculum which aligns with the Forward with Integrity priorities.

Arrival of Leonard Waverman as new dean marks the end of a tumultuous era at DeGroote School of Business

After a rocky two years, things at the DeGroote school will once again be business as usual.

This January, McMaster welcomed Leonard Waverman as Dean at the DeGroote School of Business. The appointment, which was announced last September, marks the end of a two-year period without a permanent leader at the business school.

While DeGroote’s previous dean came from a business background, Waverman’s experience is chiefly academic. Waverman, who holds a PhD in Economics from MIT, has over 40 years of university teaching and administration on his resume.

Most recently, he served as Dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.

“It’s an adjustment,” he said of the transition from Calgary. “Each university is so different.”

Before working as dean at Calgary, Waverman held positions at the University of Toronto and the prestigious London School of Business in London, England. Over the course of his career, his particular research interests have been in telecommunications and the digital economy.

When the Silhouette sat down with Waverman, he was a mere three weeks into his five-year term.

“I’d be presumptuous to talk about plans [at this point],” he said, emphasizing that establishing a direction for the school would be a community effort. “Really, a dean is just one person.”

Even so, the economics professor has a vision for where DeGroote will go from here.

“I think every business school has to search for their independent identity, their DNA,” he explained. “I think we have very good programs at DeGroote, but I don’t think we market ourselves especially well. I think we have to enhance our reputation, and we have to have revenue growth.”

He spoke of broadening the school’s reach through public talks by faculty so that people become more familiar with academia and DeGroote breaks away from being an “ivory tower.”

McMaster has some damage control to do after the controversy regarding the last dean, Paul Bates, who was reassigned out of his role in 2010.

Bates was chosen in 2004 to lead the school because of his industry experience. A 2010 report from a president’s advisory committee on DeGroote explained that “hiring a dean who was successful in the business world … and could serve as a positive external face” was a strategic choice for DeGroote, which was seen to have a low profile in the business world.

The same report called the faculty of the school “dysfunctional,” and purported that the environment included “bullying, harassment, mean-spirited sarcasm, intimidation and disrespect.” While this atmosphere was said to predate Bates, the committee that produced the report alleged that he exacerbated it, and called for the University to “redefine his role” at the school.

Bates remains a member of the faculty at DeGroote. He teaches at the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington, a satellite campus that he helped to establish during his term, as well as serving as Strategy Advisor to the President.

The drama at DeGroote in recent years doesn’t faze its new dean, however.

“I’ve heard rumours about the previous controversy,” said Waverman. “But I’m really looking at the future of DeGroote, not into the past.”

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