Published February 14, 2013
President Satish A. Tripathi and Brock University President Jack Lightstone have made official a joint Master of Arts degree in Canadian and American studies to be offered in the fall.
An agreement signed by the two presidents on Feb. 1 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, renews a five-year partnership agreement through which the universities will continue to share research and education initiatives. One of those initiatives is the joint MA degree.
Charles F. Zukoski, UB provost and vice president for academic affairs, says the new program was significant for the university and its students, noting it will be the first international joint degree to be offered in the SUNY system.
Stephen C. Dunnett, vice provost for international education at UB, says the Feb. 1 event was “a wide-ranging meeting at which the presidents and provosts of the two institutions discussed a number of promising opportunities for expanding cooperation relating to economic development in the bi-national Buffalo Niagara region, cross-disciplinary research in targeted areas of mutual interest and exchange of faculty and students.”
The new 12-month on-campus program is open to students from a range of undergraduate disciplines and was developed by the Canadian Studies Program in the UB Department of Transnational Studies and the Faculty in Humanities at Brock University.
Donald M. Eagles, professor of political science and director of the UB Canadian Studies Program, was instrumental in developing the new degree, which, he says, recognizes the vital need for citizens on both sides of the border to understand one another.
Eagles, a Canadian citizen, says the program “will focus on interdisciplinary research in the area of borders and boundaries, a field whose relevance is evidenced by the geographical location of the institutions and by the existing cooperation between the two countries.
“We have developed as nations in different ways, with unique sensibilities, loyalties and cultures,” he says, “and it is imperative that we understand our differences, as well as our shared interests as best we can.
“We are among the most active campuses in the entire United States when it comes to research and teaching on Canada,” Eagles adds, “and the UB faculty has long appreciated the importance of that role.”
The program’s initial cohort will comprise six students from each university in different fields of study. In addition to graduate courses in their specific disciplines, they will be required to undertake comparative analyses of social, economic, political and cultural issues in the two nations through courses taught by faculty members in the humanities and social sciences at both universities. Additional electives covering other aspects of the Canadian-American relationship also will be encouraged.