Two Canadians came to the UB medical school back in 1847 and were the university’s first international students. Now, 160 years later, a new academic program will capitalize on UB’s existing strengths in Canadian studies, as well as its ideal geographic setting.
Proposed to begin this fall, the new graduate Canadian studies program of UB’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) will offer an advanced graduate certificate in Canadian studies. This 15-credit-hour program will feature two required courses, one of which will provide an introductory overview of Canadian culture, society, history, politics and economy. A second required course will focus on the Canadian-American relationship, particularly as it manifests itself along the binational Niagara frontier.
“The Canadian studies program responds to a number of needs and opportunities,” says Munroe Eagles, CAS associate dean, professor of political science and Canadian studies program director. “Academic interest in Canada, involving research and teaching, has for many years been widespread and growing across the UB campus.”
Last year, more than 40 UB faculty members identified themselves as having interests related to Canada; more than 100 courses (both graduate and undergraduate) have been identified as presenting Canada-related material. Moreover, a survey of participation by American universities in the Canadian Embassy’s research and teaching programs undertaken by the embassy in the mid-1990s revealed that UB was the most active campus in the United States. During his recent visit to UB, Daniel Abele, academic relations officer with the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, confirmed UB’s national prominence as a participant in that embassy’s programs.
“While impressive in scope and intensity, such activity at UB has remained diffuse and largely unconnected, and as a result it does not gain the attention that it deserves,” says Eagles. “It is hoped that the establishment of an overarching academic program dedicated to Canada will broaden awareness of these many Canada-related activities.”
The program also builds upon the “Canadian and Cross-Border” focus that has been identified within the UB 2020 strategic strength area, “Civic Engagement and Public Policy.” It also will also facilitate the establishment of collaborative programs with other institutions of higher learning on both sides of the border.