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6/12/2006 Linfield professor receives grant in Canadian Studies

McMINNVILLE – In the coming months, Dawn Nowacki will expand her knowledge of Canada, its government and its relationship with the United States and its governing system.

Nowacki, associate professor of political science at Linfield College, is one of 14 faculty members from Pacific Northwest colleges and universities accepted to participate in the sixth annual International Canadian Studies Institute in July. It is presented by the Canadian Consulate General in Seattle, Wash., in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium. Participants in the institute will travel to several locations in British Columbia and the Yukon. Program costs are covered by the Canadian government.

She has also been invited to present a paper at the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States/Alaska, a symposium scheduled for September in Anchorage.

The Canadian Studies Institute is designed to provide faculty from U.S. colleges and universities with a broad multidisciplinary introduction to Canada. That includes assisting with developing or strengthening international studies programs; revealing the magnitude and importance of U.S.-Canada relationships; exploring the similarities and differences between the two countries; and discussing potential research projects or courses that could be taught.

Nowacki's interest in Canada blossomed after Sept. 11, 2001, when she was motivated to provide students with an international experience without having to travel extensively. She began including Canada in her comparative politics course in 2002 and has since taken two groups of students to Victoria, British Columbia, to study its parliamentary system. In addition, the Canadian case, as a federal parliamentary system, is an exciting addition to her research interests, which have focused on the election of women representatives to provincial parliaments in Russia, another federal system. Her paper for the ACSUS symposium will compare the factors that explain the election of women to the Russian and Canadian subfederal legislatures.

"Although Canada is a developed democracy, it has certain important institutional and geographical similarities with Russia, which is experiencing a rocky political transformation," she said. "I am interested in investigating whether these similarities can explain the variation in women getting elected in the provinces of both countries. Some provinces of Canada and regions of Russia have very low numbers of women in their legislatures, and some have relatively high percentages, rivaling the Scandinavian countries. "

Both the Seattle institution and the Anchorage symposium will give her an opportunity to expand her research and her knowledge of Canada, which will help in developing her courses and broadening her research agenda.

"The more I can know about Canada for the purpose of studying comparative politics, the better," she said.