People on the Move: Stéphane Brutus takes the reins as new Telfer dean

Stéphane Brutus
Stéphane Brutus is the new dean of the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.
Editor's Note

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A university isn’t the first place one thinks of visiting when travelling to a new city. But it’s top of the list, ahead of museums and art galleries, for Stéphane Brutus, the new dean of the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

“I like to walk on campuses, I like to get the vibe of the place, I like to talk to professors and to the students,” says Brutus. “I’ve travelled the world and, for me, I’ve always been fascinated and energized and curious about universities.”

Brutus, 54, officially became head of uOttawa’s business school on March 9, following a 23-year career at Concordia University, where he was most recently a professor in motivation and employee performance at its John Molson School of Business.

He replaces professor François Julien, who served as dean at the Telfer School of Management for two terms, from 2010 to 2020. Professor Wojtek Michalowski had been interim dean since summer 2020.

“I’m super excited,” Brutus said of his new job. “Professionally, it’s a fantastic opportunity. Telfer is a really, really good school in terms of its research, in terms of its student experience and impact on the community.”

Telfer is home to some 4,300 students, 200 faculty members and more than 25,000 alumni. It’s one of only two business schools in Canada to hold the prestigious Triple Crown accreditation.

While it’s well known and respected in Ottawa, it needs to reach a broader audience, Brutus believes.

“I’d like to bring more of a spotlight to the strengths of the school beyond the local market,” said Brutus, who will be looking at branding and marketing, increasing international enrollment and creating stronger alliances with other reputable business schools.

“The challenge is not to strengthen the school (although I’m going to do that) – the challenge is to make the school better known.”

Brutus was born and raised in a French-speaking family in Montreal, to a Haitian father and Québécois mother. He studied psychology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver before earning his MA and PhD in industrial organizational psychology at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. It runs one of the top I/O psychology programs in the U.S.

He spent two more years south of the border completing his post-doctoral fellowship at the internationally respected Center of Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C. before returning to his hometown to join the faculty at Concordia. 

Brutus’s accomplishments include being interim dean when he renewed the John Molson Business School’s AACSB accreditation. He also served as associate dean of graduate professional programs, chair of the department of management and director of the Bell Research Centre for Business Process Innovations. 

“If you think of a university, what is it? Well, it’s buildings, it’s infrastructures but, at the core of universities, it’s people,” explained Brutus, whose expertise is in HR management and people management. “It’s professors, it’s staff and it’s students.

“It’s really kind of a knowledge-based organization. It’s all about people, it’s all about what people know, how they transfer that knowledge and how they create that knowledge through research, or how they disseminate that knowledge through teaching.”

Brutus said he’s looking forward to becoming better acquainted with Ottawa. His hobbies include cycling, tennis and the fast-paced game of ultimate frisbee.

“I’d love to find a team that can play at my speed, which is an old man speed,” he joked.

Brutus is also trilingual, with his third language being Spanish. He did a one-year stint as a visiting prof in Spain, as well as in Brazil, while on sabbaticals.

Before joining Telfer, Brutus had recently started co-chairing a new task force on anti-black racism at Concordia. As well, he was previously board chair of KANPE, an organization that brings support to the most vulnerable communities in Haiti to help them achieve autonomy.

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People on the Move is a monthly feature highlighting Ottawa-based professionals, managers and executives starting new positions. Want to see your appointment featured? Share your news with caroline@obj.ca.

People on the Move is supported by Boyden, connecting great leaders with great companies in Ottawa, across Canada and worldwide. Explore executive insights, human capital trends and talent solutions here.