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Towards a Better Canada

Dean's Annual Review 2020-2021


Do You Know Your Dean?

March 9th, 2021 marked the first day of Stéphane Brutus’ journey as the new Dean of the Telfer School of Management.

Dean Stéphane Brutus entered his new position at the Telfer School of Management with a vision in mind. He has developed ideas and goals he would like to accomplish in the future to help elevate Telfer even further. Dean Brutus is motivated to bring Telfer’s reach to heights it has never been to before and ensure our School is one of the most well-known business schools in Canada. Additionally, Dean Brutus has plans to revitalize Telfer’s programs and continue to elevate the School’s research efforts.

Dean Brutus explained what he’s most looking forward to as Dean and more on his vision for the School: "Telfer is a really good school, and it kind of flies under the radar in the Canadian business school landscape. Of course, we need to grow and develop, but the school is strong as it is now. The biggest opportunity is getting Telfer more well-known. So, what excites me most is unveiling Telfer to the world by reinforcing the Better Canada pillars through continued support of our research and create a greener, healthier, happier, and wealthier tomorrow.”

Dean Brutus further elaborated on his future goals as Dean at Telfer: “My two short-term goals are to revitalize our programs, which I think we can accomplish relatively quickly within the next few years, and to keep up the research momentum, which is on a strong upward trend. For the long term, I think it’s just a matter of increasing the visibility of the School and boosting its reputation on a national and international scale. We can do this by creating alliances with other business schools, making our programs accessible to learners around the world, and by creating first-class global research hubs.”

As a huge advocate for student case competitions, Dean Brutus believes that they are a crucial part of student experience with many benefits for all participants. Furthermore, he knows that these case competitions are an opportunity for students to develop both personal and professional skills that are essential for a successful career, making every student’s experience rich and rewarding. Part of his plan is, therefore, to improve the student experience at Telfer, that is already excellent, and focus on engaging with alumni as their involvement in the School is also important, just as for any business school.

Dean Brutus shared the ‘win-win' value he sees in case competitions: “It gives a chance for the students to perform when ‘put on hot fire.’ The Faculty also benefits from the visibility by participating, but also by hosting. The Telfer community can also benefit by being involved as judges or sponsors. It’s a good way to involve everybody,” he explained.

Throughout his career, Dean Brutus has served on a number of regional and national associations, including the Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Academy of Management, and L’Ordre des Conseillers en Ressources Humaines du Québec. He also serves on several committees, including the Comité-conseil sur le racisme et la discrimination du Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion, and, from 2015 to 2018, he chaired the board of the KANPE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that brings support to the most vulnerable communities in Haiti to help them achieve autonomy.

“To be in a position to shape the future of the Telfer School of Management is a privilege. I really look forward to meeting Telfer Nation and the broader uOttawa community,” shared Dean Brutus. “When I think about my new academic home, I know we have many things to be excited about – thanks in large part to the strong foundation created by my predecessor, former Dean François Julien.”


Celebrate Telfer PhD in Management Program

Back in 2016, we launched the first ever PhD in management program at Telfer and less than five years later, Vusal Babashov successfully defended his thesis and became the first PhD graduate of the Telfer School. All graduates of the Telfer’s PhD program will have a huge part in contributing to a greener, healthier, wealthier and happier tomorrow, ultimately leading us towards a Better Canada for all.

Telfer’s former Dean, François Julien, had the launch of the PhD at Telfer close to his heart. It is part of the legacy he left behind during his 10-year tenure as Dean. Julien attributes the success of the program to a wide variety of factors that led the school to mould into the research-based institute that it is well known for today: “The School-wide research culture was built over the past twenty years through various incentives to stimulate research productivity and excellence, and through the recruitment of professors who were not only excellent in education and teaching, but who also were actively engaged in influential and impactful research programs.”

History of the Telfer PhD

Telfer’s executive team, faculty members, and graduate office came together to create a program that reflects the vision of the School, the value of a PhD in Management, and cutting-edge, valuable learning experiences for students. The program’s evolution also exemplifies the leadership of women faculty and staff in all phases of the program’s development, including inception, design, implementation and evaluation.

Progress towards elevating research excellence at the School in hopes to eventually launch the PhD was well underway when the School created two research-based M.Sc. programs.

In 2009, Telfer established a Graduate Studies Taskforce to consider a ‘built-in Telfer’ doctorate, and in 2010 the Telfer PhD Committee was formed to establish standards for the program and conduct research into existing Canadian and international doctoral degrees.

Subsequently, 2011 and 2012 were the years when program details such as curricula, disciplines, and structure were established. These decisions were made collaboratively through consultations with faculty members and various stakeholders, benchmarking, and market research of competing programs.

In 2013, approvals were reached with the University of Ottawa’s Senate and a number of its committees, the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

This then led to an evolving discussion on cross-disciplinary studies, and to bringing on new hires to doctoral students. Five key fields of study were created within the program: Accounting and Control, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Systems, and Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources.

In 2016, the program was officially opened for business when Professor Silvia Bonaccio led the program as the first PhD Program Director. Professor Bonaccio was glad to see the PhD program added to our portfolio: “this was the next step in the growth of the Telfer School; we had a roster of world-class professors who were eager for the opportunity to work alongside doctoral students and train the next generation of researchers. I was thrilled to earn the responsibility of being the first director.”

Former Dean Julien reflected on the value added to Telfer once the doors were opened up to PhD in Management students: “Adding a PhD Program to our roster allowed us to complete our program portfolio. The program puts the Telfer School in a different league. It speaks to the academic rigour and excellence of its faculty members and allows us to attract and recruit talented professors, and students alike.”

Now that the program was set up for success, all it took was the right leader to steer the ship that is the Telfer PhD. Professor Silvia Bonaccio was up for the task.

Barbara Orser

Barbara Orser

Deloitte Professor in the Management of Growth Enterprises

Silvia Bonaccio

Silvia Bonaccio

Ian Telfer Professor of Workplace Psychology

Mirou Jaana

Mirou Jaana

MHA Program Director, Telfer Research Fellow

Samia Chreim

Samia Chreim

Ian Telfer Professorship in Organization Studies, PhD Program Director

Launching the Program

Silvia Bonaccio, Ian Telfer Professor of Workplace Psychology, was named the first director of the PhD program and has been instrumental in making the program what it is today. She led the program for five years from 2013 to 2018 and worked behind-the-scenes for more than 2 years on building the program prior to its official launch in 2016.

By the time Professor Mirou Jaana, current Telfer MHA Program Director, took over as PhD Program Director, Telfer had also welcomed a considerable number of new faculty members who were active researchers from various management areas.

Professor Jaana’s mandate as Director was marked by a program revision: “The biggest accomplishment during my tenure was launching the first revision of the PhD Program, which resulted, among other changes, in the addition of a new field in Organization and Strategy,” noted Professor Jaana. “This new field will present research opportunities for PhD students who are interested in specializing in this area. The program revision also led to improvements and changes, which strengthened the experience of students and added more flexibility in relation to the program delivery.”

The third and current PhD Program Director as of July 2020, Professor Samia Chreim, Ian Telfer Professorship in Organization Studies, shares the same enthusiasm as her predecessor on these changes: “We have recently conducted a program revision based on the feedback we had received over the first four years of the program from various groups, including the students and the faculty members. As part of this revision, we have provided more flexibility to students in the choice of their courses. The addition of a 6th area of specialization, is giving students interested in our PhD program more choices.”

According to Professor Chreim, a testament to the sense of community and engagement in research is the Thesis Competition event, which the Telfer PhD and M.Sc. students organize and host each year with the help of Telfer’s Research Office.

A Generous Donation to Support Telfer's First Cohort

An other testament of Telfer's sense of community and engagement came from Lilian and Swee Chua Goh. Through a generous donation, they helped support the first cohort of students, in all its five original fields, in order to attract the best doctoral candidates and to help them financially in the critical first two years of study. Mrs. Goh, who was an advisor to the Telfer CPA Accounting and Governance Research Centre for over 20 years and Mr. Goh, a Telfer Emeritus Professor, knew just how crucial it was for this initial cohort to create strong momentum in the program from the very beginning. For them, the Telfer School setting up its PhD program sent an important message that the School was spurring top-flight research. It set a tone that a new mission of Telfer is focused on fostering research that contributes to new knowledge in the field of management. 

The Telfer School of management will forever be grateful for Mrs. and Mr. Goh contribution in the growing excellence of the Telfer PhD program.

The Echoes of the Program

François Julien

François Julien

Former Dean

For the former Dean Julien, the success of the doctorate program is undeniable: “There is no doubt that the Program allowed us to recruit excellent, research-intensive faculty members who were attracted by the prospect of working with our researchers and supervising PhD candidates. The quality of the students we have recruited at the PhD level, and also in our research-based masters programs, has been excellent.”

Since being involved in the program’s inception, Professor Barbara Orser shared where she hopes to see the PhD evolve in the future: “It would be great to see more PhD disciplines added, further integration of doctoral degree candidates in multi-disciplinary research portfolios, the creation of centres to support doctoral students, and Telfer to become the ‘go to’ School for prospective hires.”

“I truly believe this program brings Telfer to a new level of excellence and that this program and its graduates will contribute in no small way in strengthening Telfer’s reputation as a leading business school in Canada and in the world!” Julien proudly concluded.

As Telfer is committed and united by a shared belief that better business means a Better Canada, the PhD program and its contribution to the academic world will more than ever foster a greener, healthier, happier, and wealthier Canada for all.

© 2024 Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa
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