January 2024

Head’s Message

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Welcome to the Winter 2024 semester! Classes begin on Monday, January 8th. There is still time to add classes to your schedule. If you are looking for an open course, you might want to consider the following:

  • POLS 2210 - Canadian Public Administration and Policy

  • POLS 2410 - Contemporary African Politics

  • POLS 2880 - Current Political Issues

  • POLS 3000 - Indigenous Treaties and Land Claims

  • POLS 4410 - The New Scramble for African Resources

This month’s newsletter features a conversation with our newest tenure track hire, Dr. Geoffrey Callaghan.

We also are looking forward to summer jobs and employment opportunities. Check out thearticle on Career development from the University and the information from the provincial government for internships for undergraduate and graduate students.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter and find it useful. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. Thank you for being part of our community!

Q&A with Dr. Geoffrey D. Callaghan, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Q: What inspired you to become a professor?

A:  I’ve always been drawn to academia and the pace of it. It allows you to ask questions throughout your life and dig deeper into them, and I felt that while other professions I considered have a lot of benefits, the pace of being a professor is great because it allows you to set your own agenda and projects. Seeing how students respond to subject matter and changing a class to better suit students is one of my favorite aspects of the job. But to sum it up: it was the desire to explore philosophical questions that brought me into academia, and the pace of academia inspired me to continue pursuing those questions.

 Q: What is your area of research?

A: I started out researching philosophy of politics, but now I’ve shifted a bit and I focus more on constitutional theory and democratic institutions theory. A lot of my work involves the researching of democracy not just in the abstract or in theory, but also understanding what democracy requires in terms of institutions. So I look at a lot of discrete institutions within the democratic system, and what’s interesting is that my work reveals not just what’s required to sustain democracy, but the limitations of carrying out the democratic project.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: I got a SSHRC Insight Development grant to study third party intervention in the courts, which allows non-parties to provide testimony that may be relevant to a case which they are not directly involved in (i.e. amicus curiae). What I’m studying if this is truly a democratizing feature of the courts, or if there are enough issues with it that it should be reconsidered. I’m pulling data on this process to understand how third-party intervention impacts rulings at the Supreme Court and to see how the court has been using it with respect to democratic principles.

Q: What courses are you teaching this semester?

A:  In the fall semester I taught Constitutional Law and Politics, with the focus of the course being rights-based theories and its surrounding discussions. I also taught a second course titled Democracy’s Commitment to Free Speech in the Age of Social Media which focused on what kinds of pressures social media has put on the robust commitment to free discussion in democracy. Next term I’m teaching Principals of International Law.

Q; How difficult are your courses?

A: Like a lot of other professors, I think my classes are meant to be challenging and stimulate thought and discussion, but they’re also meant so that you get out what you put in. Students who do the readings, show up to class, participate, and engage with the professor always do well.

Q: Do you have any tips on how to succeed in university?

A: Get involved in the community and in your courses. Presence is so important because when you feel that you are a part of the community, it changes everything. Get involved as a TA, GA, engage with your professors in your classes and office hours. Students who do this retain and apply the information so much more. And I think this is even more important now that we’re coming out of COVID, because our social skills and the strength of our communities really suffered. So we have to do better in terms of rebuilding those skills and communities, and doing it at the university level is a great start.

Q: Do you have any hobbies you like to do during your free time? 

A:  I’m a musician, I play music all the time and I try to stay in touch with people that I’ve played with in the past. I play a variety of instruments, including the guitar, piano, and any of the rhythm instruments in addition to being a vocalist. I also love spending time with my children, playing tennis, and bike riding in La Salle.

Winter 2024 - Reading Liberty

Book cover

There’s still some availability for Reading Liberty for Winter 2024 for applicants.

This book club is free to students. The book and lunch is provided. Here is the Winter schedule:

  • January 26, 2024 - 12:00-2:00

    • Readings: Part I - Three Bad Ideas & Part II - Bad Ideas in Action

    • Location: Saigon House

  • February 16, 2024 - 12:00-2:00

    • Readings: Part III How did we get here?

    • Location: Sun Hong BBQ & Seafood Restaurant

  • March 15 2024 - 12:00-2:00

    • Readings: Part IV Wising Up

    • Location: TBA

Sign up today for your free book and chance to participate in lively discussion!

Thinking about Summer Employment?

Whether you are still in your program, or planning your next steps there are several career opportunities available to students.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the Career Development and Experiential Learning department. They can help you with job search strategies, resumes and cover letters, interview preparation and labour market information.

Government of Ontario Opportunities

The Ontario government has several opportunities for students:

Summer Employment Opportunities (SEO) program 

The SEO program provides up to 5,000 high school and post-secondary students with summer employment between May and September. Job ads have staggered closing dates with opportunities closing as early as January 31, 2024. Full details regarding program eligibility can be found on the SEO website.

Master’s-Level Policy Co-op (MLPC) program

The MLPCP program annually provides up to 150 paid policy co-op placements for a four or eight-month work term to students from seven participating graduate-level policy programs at six Ontario universities. The deadline to apply is January 17, 2024 and co-op placements begin in May.

Ontario Internship Program (OIP)

The OIP provides one-year internship opportunities to post-secondary graduates in a variety of fields across seven focus areas in the OPS. The deadline to apply to the program is January 31, 2024 with internship placements beginning in August 2024. The OIP offers dedicated streams and extended eligibility to graduates identifying as Black or as a Person with a Disability, with extended eligibility also offered to graduates identifying as Indigenous and Bilingual (French-English). More details regarding program eligibility can be found on the OIP website.

Call for Participants

The 1st edition of The CAP-CF’s Mock Constitutional Negotiations : The Senate Reform, Donald Gordon and Conference Centre, Kingston, Ontario
5-11 May, 2024

The Centre d’analyse politique – Constitution et fédéralisme (CAP-CF) of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) will hold from May 5 to 10, 2024 its first mock constitutional negotiation on the theme of the reform of the Senate of Canada for university students from across the country.

The pan-Canadian mock negotiation – the first of its kind – is funded by the Government of Québec’s Programme d’appui à la recherche du Secrétariat aux relations canadiennes. The event will allow students to familiarize themselves with the demands and various interests with which the Canadian federation must deal. It will also allow them to develop their verbal and written communication skills, as well as gain practical experience in politics and constitutional law in Canada. Finally, the exercise will network and promote exchanges between future generations of jurists, constitutionalists, political scientists, economists, historians and sociologists in the country.

The simulation will be held at the Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre, located in Kingston, ON. Participating students will be called upon to represent the federal government, a province, a territory, an Indigenous nation, or even an interest group (union, social group, etc.). The student delegates will have to agree on amendments to be made to the Canadian Constitution, according to the formulas in force, to reform the Senate. The participants will have to look more specifically at the functioning of Canadian bicameralism, the role of the Senate in the Canadian federation, the representation of various communities, the selection and mandate of senators, as well as the amendment process and possible non-constitutional reforms. They will receive training in advance, through prior readings, and on site, through presentations given by guest speakers. If they desire to, participants will also be able to register for a course offered by UQÀM.

Students interested in participating in the simulation must apply by January 30, 2024, by completing the registration form and uploading their unofficial transcript in the space provided below. It should be noted that to be eligible, participants must have passive French-English bilingualism, allowing them to understand everything in both official languages ​​as well as to express themselves in at least one of the official languages. They must also have taken courses on Canadian politics and Canadian law, particularly on constitutional politics and federalism. Participants will be selected in February 2024. There is no registration cost to participate in the simulation and participants will receive financial assistance for their transportation. Accommodation costs will be covered by CAP-CF.

For any questions regarding the simulation, please contact us at: [email protected].

To submit your application, please complete the following form.

Calendar of Events

  • January 8th, 2024 - First day of Winter 2024 Classes

  • January 15th, 2024 - GRAD: Deadline for deposit step #1 of 3 for Phase I (100% tuition refund).

  • January 21st, 2024 - Academic Add/Drop for Winter 2024 courses

  • January 26th - Reading Liberty meeting 12:00pm

  • January 29th- GRADE: Deadline for deposit steps #2 and #3 for Phase I (100% tuition refund).