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Canada's political voices come to Concordia

The Workshops on Social Science Research's winter lecturers include ethics commissioner Mary Dawson and auditor general Michael Ferguson
November 18, 2015

“The more speakers we have, the more WSSR is becoming recognized by top-level academics, public policy makers and politicians,” says Kerry Tannahill, who helps coordinate the lecture series.

It started as one quantitative methods workshop at Concordia back in the spring of 2008. Now, the Workshops on Social Science Research (WSSR) have grown to more than 35 all-day sessions spread over the winter and spring academic terms.

The next group of seminars starts on January 8, 2016 and runs until April 8, 2016.

“Previously, we held workshops in the spring, but this year, we’re also offering workshops in the winter term,” says political science PhD candidate Kerry Tannahill, who coordinates the WSSR with Mebs Kanji, an associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Political Science.

“This way, we can expand our student reach, and also approach speakers who aren’t available in the spring.”

More qualitative research methods

Another “first” is the WSSR’s collaboration with the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

Mary Dawson Mary Dawson

“They offer top-level methodology training in Europe, but this is the first time they’ve come to Canada,” says Tannahill.

The WSSR will be running eight workshops in collaboration with the ECPR ranging from introductory-level research methods to interviews and qualitative data analyses.

The new winter workshops will take place on Fridays. Topics are grouped under this winter’s four themes: the democratic process; politics and public policy making; political philosophy and normative theory; and integrity, corruption and accountability.

Highlights include a workshop lead by Mary Dawson on ethical governance; a session with Saundra Schneider about how governments deal with disasters and unexpected events; a workshop with Stockwell Day on resource extraction; a session on accountability and corruption by John Gomery; a workshop on public policy for wildlife and the environment by the former mayor of Toronto, David Miller, now the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund for Canada; and a free talk about democratic reform by Canada’s auditor general, Michael Ferguson.

Each workshop has limited seating, for a more intimate learning environment.

stockwell Stockwell Day

The WSSR’s growing network

“The more speakers we have, the more WSSR is becoming recognized by top-level academics, public policy makers and politicians,” says Tannahill.

“Our network is growing. As proof, we were able to host a very interesting post-election talk with Maclean’s political columnist Paul Wells, three pundits who appear on the CBC’s Power and Politics television show, plus three prominent academics.

“We were able to brings those worlds together because of the connections built by the WSSR.”

In light of the recent election and new government, Tannahill is expecting an increase in interest in the already-popular workshops.

“We’ve already got more than 50 registered participants and we’re still weeks away. I suggest people sign up now, so they aren’t disappointed.”

Register for the WSSR Winter 2016 term,
either for credit or non-credit. Students wishing to take the workshops for credit need to sign up for and attend six workshops. Fees vary according to the type of participant.


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