I am grateful to the students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, and partners of our business school who moved – as one – through the perils of 2020 with a singular and unwavering commitment to our values.
They say hindsight is 20/20.
There are some organizations, and indeed many individuals, who are looking back on the year that was and wishing they had done things differently. They could have been kinder. They should have been more generous. They would have, had they only known what was to come, been more innovative.
DeGroote is not among them.
For this, and so many other things, I am grateful to the students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, and partners of our business school who moved – as one – through the perils of 2020 with a singular and unwavering commitment to our values. Because of them, we were always going to weather the unique challenges of this extraordinary year with generosity, leveraging our strengths in collaboration and innovation to support our students.
This is how we lived the concept of resilience – the theme of this year’s annual report.
Witness the launch of our Imagining and Navigating the Future course in January, which teaches undergraduate and graduate students alike to learn how to peer around corners. As many have come to understand, this is an increasingly important mindset for leaders in any sector.
That same month, our students began a remarkable set of achievements on the national stage, garnering top honours at competitions such as the MBA Games, the John Molson MBA International Case Competition, JDC Central Business Competition, and the Battle on Bay. By February, more than 900 had participated in our own 24-Hour Case Challenge. A further 120 students elected to continue expanding their experiences by volunteering as DeGroote Ambassadors, representing the School, and working closely with prospective students.
As institutions and governments around the globe responded to the pandemic in the spring, DeGroote moved quickly to build world-class remote teaching and learning capabilities and to focus our research and services where they might have the greatest impact.
Our students completed their term on schedule, and, with their feedback, we continued to improve our delivery. Within weeks, dozens of DeGroote faculty members had provided their expertise on business stability, economic recovery, and worker protections to local businesses through the Hamilton and Burlington chambers of commerce, Knowledge Labs videos and webinars, and countless articles. DeGroote researchers tackled critical issues such as using AI to make air travel safer and what big data solutions might do for hospitals in crisis situations. As faculty and staff engaged our external community, we also continued to improve support for students through expanded services, new internship opportunities, a video series featuring words of encouragement, supplemental convocation celebrations, and a mental health awareness campaign, among many others.
Amid this crisis, the world also had a racial reckoning in the summer of 2020 that gave us an opportunity to look more closely at systems of oppression closer to home and our own roles in the fight for equality for all. At DeGroote, we accelerated and expanded the equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work underway. In the coming months, we will announce new scholarships and faculty positions for Black and Indigenous peoples, more feedback opportunities for staff and faculty on equity issues, and the launch of an EDI strategy for DeGroote.
All these efforts continued through the fall term and into 2021. Through it all, our community was focused and strong. It was kind, generous, and innovative. It pivoted quickly and innovated wherever possible. DeGroote and its people have demonstrated a degree of resilience that has often defied our circumstances.
And now, looking back on all the years since I joined this business school as dean, I am very, very proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
I’m pleased to share this view with DeGroote’s next dean, Dr. Khaled Hassanein, whose deep relationships, and many years at DSB will only serve to grow its potential. As he steps into the role in July 2021, it will be with DeGroote’s entire community’s support and appreciation.
In the days ahead, I hope you take a moment to congratulate Dr. Hassanein on his new role and to contemplate how you might want to remember 2021.
Dr. Leonard Waverman
Dean, DeGroote School of Business