Carleton gets $15-million commitment to create Canada’s first graduate program in political management

Carleton received a $15 million financial commitment from Clayton Riddell. The commitment will be used to establish the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management. On hand for the June 2 announcement was (left to right) John ApSimon, interim dean of Public Affairs; Chris Dornan; director of Kroeger College; Andre Turcotte, professor of mass communication; Preston Manning; President Roseann O’Reilly Runte; Chancellor Herb Gray and Board of Governors chair, Jacques Shore. (James Park Photo)

Carleton is establishing the country’s first graduate program in political management thanks to a historic $15-million commitment from Calgary businessman Clayton Riddell.

The goal of the new program is to improve the practice of politics at all levels of government in Canada through graduate level professional training for political officeholders, advisers, campaigners and staff.

Riddell’s contribution to Carleton is the largest in its history. To honour his generosity and dedication to public policy, the program will be named the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management.

“Our history of scholarly excellence in the fields of public policy and administration, communications and public affairs, coupled with our location in Ottawa, make Carleton the best place for this one-of-a-kind program in Canada,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president of Carleton University. “Thanks to Mr. Riddell’s generosity, we now have a program that will attract and provide the highest quality training to the best of those drawn to a career in politics.”

Riddell says he has no specific connection to Carleton but he appreciates its well-established commitment to public policy and public affairs.

“I admire the passion and enthusiasm of those people who work for our elected officials,” says Mr. Riddell. “I am delighted to invest in an innovative academic program that will focus this enthusiasm and provide a deeper understanding of how our country works and how good public policy is developed.”

“Although I had no previous affiliation with Carleton,” says Riddell, “the university was recommended to me by Preston Manning. We respect Carleton’s commitment to public policy and public affairs, its outstanding faculty, its record of academic excellence and innovation. Coupled with its location in Canada’s capital, these factors make Carleton the best university for this program.”

The program was originally proposed to Carleton by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of democratic governance in Canada.

A handful of leading universities around the world offer graduate level programs in political communication and applied political skills, but until now no graduate program in political management has been available in Canada.

Housed in Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs, the program will award a master’s degree after one year of full-time study. Students will take courses related to communications, campaign management, the transformation of public policy ideas into legislation and relationships between political staff and the public, among other topics. Students will also complete an internship. Carleton’s Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management will welcome its first class in September 2011.

Graduates will be equipped to work as legislative assistants, strategists, campaign managers, senior government advisers and policy liaison officers for civil society and non-governmental organizations, among other professions.

“The nation will be better served when those occupying political staff positions have an advanced education in the field of political management,” says John ApSimon, dean of Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs. “This will result in more constructive politics and well-informed policy decisions.”

As with all new graduate degree programs, its design will be appraised for approval by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs includes the highly-respected School of Journalism and Communication, Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs and School of Public Policy and Administration.

This entry was written by Maria McClintock and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , , , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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