From April 2006 to June 2007 I was on leave from Queen’s to serve as the Academic Director of Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, an experience that taught me a lot about the capacity of fellow citizens. It also lead to a new stream of research for me examining the effectiveness of citizens’ assemblies as deliberative bodies. The culmination of this work is a book written with André Blais, R. Kenneth Carty, Patrick Fournier and Henk van der Kolk called When Citizens Decide: Lessons From Citizens Assemblies (London: Oxford, 2011), a book that won the Lipset Award for best book in Canadian politics from the American Political Science Association. Since then, I have also created and led the Prince Edward County Citizens’ Assembly, a body created to study the optimal size of municipal council. In September 2016, I will partner with my friend and collaborator, Peter MacLeod of MASSLBP to co-lead the Lethbridge Citizens’ Assembly.
Clicking on the teaching link above will give you my teaching philosophy and a recent version of course syllabii and evaluations. In 2013 I was awarded the Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2010 the W. J. Barnes Teaching Excellence Award.
My research interests are broadly defined as Canadian politics and public policy but I’m specifically interested in the role of the mass media in democracies and the uses of state communication. I have written a book on the latter called Making “Pictures in Our Heads” Government Advertising in Canada. (Praeger: Westport, CT: 2000) and a number of articles on advertising and politics.
My most recent research has focussed on deliberative democracy, specifically on citizens’ assemblies as a way to encourage meaningful citizen engagement. You can find more about me by clicking on the CV & Bio tab above.