Harlow adventure possible
By Leslie Vryenhoek
This fall, a political science program will take students to the Harlow campus, introducing them to British politics and to the students and culture of another Atlantic Canadian university.
Power and Politics in Britain: Government, Business and the Environment is a joint offering between Memorial and St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
“In addition to the Harlow experience, Memorial students will get access to courses not offered here, and they’ll get to experience another university’s culture and have an interchange of ideas with those who share some commonalities as Atlantic Canadians,” said Dr. Christopher Dunn, who organized the overseas study term with Dr. Peter Clancy, a political science professor at StFX.
The full semester program will cover a variety of issues relating to Britain’s current political scene and the ongoing constitutional revolution that has sparked changes to the House of Lords and experiments with electoral systems.
Dr. Dunn noted that the curriculum he and Dr. Clancy built is reminiscent of the old focus in Canadian universities on the ‘North Atlantic Triangle.’ “Students were routinely exposed to comparatives between Canada, the U.S. and Britain, which at that time was the pertinent arena,” he said, adding that the practice fell out of favor decades ago. “I think it’s relevant to bring it back.”
During the semester, field trips will take students to Wales, Scotland and on several trips to London, and students will meet decision-makers and have an opportunity for active research. Plans are being made to visit political party headquarters, the London Assembly, the National Assembly in Wales and various other agencies involved in business and government, and to bring in Coracle Fellow Wally Kirwan to talk about his work on the Irish peace process.
Dr. Dunn thinks this joint program could serve as a model for similar ventures with other institutions. “I was told by an official at the Canadian High Commission that Memorial is fortunate to have got its overseas property when real estate was affordable. Now a lot of Canadian universities want to create a similar opportunity for students, but the market is much too pricey,” he explained.
“This could be an exciting prototype for new ventures, and it could help maximize usage of our Harlow facility.”