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Timothy Thompson, chief operating officer of TD Asset Management, is funding a scholarship for LGBT leaders at Desautels.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

In 1990, except for discussions about women in business, Timothy Thompson recalls little talk of diversity and inclusion of minorities when he became a banker after graduating with an MBA from McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management.

"Over the course of my career of 25 years, the conversation about diversity and inclusion has definitely opened up," says Mr. Thompson, chief operating officer of TD Asset Management in Toronto. But he still sees gaps, including for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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That's why Mr. Thompson decided to donate an annual scholarship of $20,000 for each of the next five years to an academically strong MBA student (gay or a supporter) at Desautels who demonstrates exemplary commitment and leadership within the LGBT community.

"We have seen some great progress but there is more progress to be made," says Mr. Thompson, praising efforts at his bank and elsewhere to recruit and retain women, visible minorities and gays. But, he adds, "We still have more to do to ensure we are having the conversation and promoting it."

Mr. Thompson says he made a decision to come out in 2007.

"Back in 1990, if there had been an award [like this] it might have allowed me to bring my whole self to school," he says.

The first recipient, to be selected by Desautels, is expected to be named in September of 2016.

Rotman thinkers recognized

On the premise that ideas make the difference between success and failure, two former British business columnists put out a call every two years to identify the world's top 50 management thinkers.

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Based in part on nominations from 20,000 people, three professors from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management made the 2015 Thinkers50 list created by Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, editors of the Financial Times Handbook of Management.

The Rotman winners are adjunct professor Don Tapscott (fourth), former dean Roger Martin (seventh), now director of the school's Martin Prosperity Institute, and Richard Florida (14th), director of the institute's cities initiative.

A lifetime achievement award went to Henry Mintzberg of McGill's Desautels. Thinkers50 praised him as a "Canadian contrarian" known for his skepticism of some forms of management education.

Harvard Business School's Michael Porter, an expert on business strategy and global competitiveness, took the top spot globally, pushing faculty colleague Clay Christensen, who popularized the concept of "disruptive innovation," into second spot.

Alberta college expands business degree options

Over the next five years, Calgary-based SAIT Polytechnic plans to enroll an additional 1,000 students in new undergraduate business degree programs with specialties in financial services, human resource management, marketing and supply chain management.

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The new programs, introduced in September, include an option for students to earn minors in energy and construction project management. "We are giving students the opportunity to differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace," says SAIT business school dean David Ower.

With a current enrolment of 4,000, the business school already offered the specialties in its long-standing two-year diploma programs. "For us it was a logical progression to offer the baccalaureate option," says Mr. Ower. "For each of these majors we have had very strong industry connections who have been asking for this for quite a while."

Despite a global drop in oil prices that has slowed the Alberta economy, Mr. Ower says prospective degree students need to focus on likely market conditions when they graduate in four years. "Alberta won't be moving away from oil and gas [in that time] and still will be one of the largest industries," he says.

Industry-funded research centre to be reviewed

A third-party review will examine the relationship between an industry donor and a research centre at the Haskayne School of Business, the University of Calgary says.

"Questions have been raised regarding the creation and operation of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability, and the potential infringement of academic freedom of those involved," Mark Starratt, a member of the executive committee of the university's board of governors, stated in a press release. "We believe that academic freedom is a fundamental value of all universities."

At its founding in 2011, the centre had been named for Enbridge Inc., a Calgary-based energy company.

The results of the independent review by a third-party expert, yet to be named, will be made public.

Former ambassador joins Gustavson

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has been of particular interest to the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, which negotiated its first bilateral agreements with the north African country in 2012 to assist with administrative government reforms.

This month, the school named Sébastien Beaulieu, Canada's former ambassador to Tunisia until earlier this year, as an adjunct professor.

Mr. Beaulieu, executive director of Middle East relations with Canada's federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, serves as an adjunct professor until September of 2018, with a mandate to "strengthen the quantity and quality" of Gustavson's global partnerships, according to the school.

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Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net

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