Renewed federal grant means more faculty, offerings in Canadian-American Studies

by Mary Gallagher
Office of University Communications

Western’s Canadian-American Studies Program will fund a new tenure-track faculty position and expand offerings exploring environmental and social justice issues on both sides of the border, thanks to a renewed federal grant.  

The U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant, which Western shares with the University of Washington, enabled Western to hire Assistant Professor Madison Heslop, a historian specializing in waterfront land use in the in the Salish Sea region, in a dual appointment with the History Department. 

The four-year grant renewal is the largest in the 40-plus year history of Western’s and UW’s collaboration in Canadian Studies. Western’s interdisciplinary Center for Canadian-American Studies and the Canadian Studies Center in UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies are designated by the Department of Education as the Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada. The only other National Resource Center on Canada in the U.S. is a collaboration between the University of Maine and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.  

The grant, $278,000 a year for four years, focuses on Indigenous perspectives on environmental and social justice in North America, and on issues facing under-represented groups in the U.S. and Canada, said Christina Keppie, director of Canadian-American Studies and a professor of French and linguistics.  

Plans include workshops, guest lectures, a speaker series and other events and curriculum development opportunities exploring these topics, Keppie said. The grant will also fund the development of a Salish Sea curriculum repository with Whatcom Community College and Northwest Indian College, featuring materials for both K-12 and higher ed. And Can-Am Studies will continue to offer program development workshops and summer institutes for K-12 teachers.  

“We’re hoping we can grow our collaboration across campus, in the community and across the border,” Keppie said.  

Keppie and other faculty members will also participate in short-term exchanges with the nation’s other National Resource Center on Canada. Keppie will travel to Plattsburgh, New York, and their director will visit Western for a week in winter or spring quarter.  

In addition to the Canadian history professorship, the grant is expected to help fund an additional faculty position in another department, though details are not finalized. The new faculty positions are in addition to two new permanent faculty members added to Canadian Studies in the past four years.  

Western’s Canadian-American Studies Program includes 34 core and affiliated faculty in departments ranging from History and English to Environmental Science and Economics. Western is the only university on the West Coast offering both a major and a minor in Canadian Studies, Keppie said, and more than 2,300 students are enrolled in courses at Western with at least some content relating to Canada.   

Monday, November 28, 2022 - 12:04pm