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Promotion of Canadian Studies in U.S. Focus of "CONNECT" Program

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Plattsburgh State University of New York and the University of Vermont formally announced the establishment of a joint nationally focused program to improve the study of Canada in the United States.

Dr. Christopher Kirkey, director of the Center for the Study of Canada at Plattsburgh State, and Dr. J. Andr� Sen�cal, the director of the Canadian Studies Program at UVM, announce the new program The program, titled "CONNECT," will be funded through a three-year $300,000 (CAD.) grant from the Academic Relations Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for the Government of Canada.
In announcing the joint program at a Wednesday news conference at Plattsburgh State, Interim President John Clark said the program would improve and build upon the existing educational programs in the United States for the study of Canada by training and informing more educators of America's neighbor to the North.
"Canada is America's closest ally - geographically, culturally and politically," said Clark. "It is important that we continue to have a better understanding of the social, economic and historical realities that have shaped our close relationship."
Dr. J. Andre Senecal, the director of the Canadian Studies Program at UVM, said, "The Canadian Studies Program at the University of Vermont is pleased, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Canada at Plattsburgh State, to launch CONNECT.  This initiative will successfully contribute toward the institutionalization of Canadian Studies in American higher education."

Dr. Christopher Kirkey, director of Plattsburgh State's Center for the Study of Canada, was also very pleased with the joint effort.

"CONNECT is an innovative and progressive program we are very proud to offer. It provides a comprehensive approach on how to identify, recruit, orient and mentor new and emerging teachers and researchers for the Canadian Studies community in the U.S."
The innovative program will focus on four key challenges: identification, recruitment, orientation and mentoring of new American Canadianists in the U.S.

The first step, which will be spearheaded by the Canadian Studies Program at UVM, will be to identify new, emerging and potential American Canadianists in the United States. These individuals will be advanced graduate students, new doctorates and faculty members who have recently entered the profession on the study of Canada.

Plattsburgh State's Center for the Study of Canada will then contact academics identified through the UVM study. A survey questionnaire will be sent to all new Canadianists, focusing on teaching and research interests, professional development experiences, scholarship, successful grantsmanship and institutional affiliations.

The American scholars will also receive an initial mailing providing them with a full array of information on Canadian studies centers/institutes/programs, associations and organizations and major publishing outlets such as the American Review of Canadian Studies and the International Journal of Canadian Studies.
Their names and related data will then be forwarded to the Academic Relations Office of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, the applicable Canadian Consulate, the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, the applicable regional Canadian Studies association, the International Council for Canadian Studies, and where appropriate, the American Council for Quebec Studies for regular updates.

The new Canadianists will be invited to participate in an annual weeklong summer Canada-focused orientation seminar. The training seminar, to be convened in Ottawa, will focus on the social, economic and political realities of contemporary Canada and the history and culture of Canada.

Plattsburgh State and UVM will also jointly implement a permanent mentoring program for the new American Canadianists. Based on their respective academic profiles, the American scholars will be placed on an individualized mentoring track and provided with structured materials specifically suited to their academic background, scholarly interests and professional development.

They will also receive regular updates of scholarly developments in their respective Canadian studies discipline, as well as announcements of appropriate grant opportunities, seminars, symposiums and colloquiums.

Canadian studies educators from UVM and Plattsburgh State will also work with new Canadianists to facilitate networking with the executive council of the respective U.S. regional Canadian studies association (based on the geographic location of the individual), with key academics in their respective discipline, in the United States and Canada, and with academic relations and public affairs officers at the Canadian Embassy and Consulate. 

This mentoring process will identify individuals as they progress in their career, who are qualified and willing to make important service contributions to Canadian Studies associations in the U.S.

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