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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 25, 2016
Canadian Excellence

One of the North American Studies Online 'Summits' connecting Professors and Students from 6 Universities in 3 Countries
One of the North American Studies Online 'Summits' connecting Professors and Students from 6 Universities in 3 Countries


Faculty of Arts

Teaching Across Borders: A North American Studies "Summit"

By Dr. Lucy Luccisano and Dr. Kevin Spooner

Oct 10/11


Dr. Kevin Spooner, North American Studies Coordinator (


Dr. Lucy Luccisano (

Kevin Spooner (North American Studies) and Lucy Luccisano (Sociology and North American Studies) with key administrative support from Laurier International director Peter Donahue, spearheaded and coordinated a grant application involving five university partners in three countries. Entitled, “Developing Public Policy Capacities in a North American Context: Investigating (Mis)Perceptions and Building New Continental Frameworks,” the grant is a six-university consortium, which includes the Canadian partner University of New Brunswick, St. John, two U.S. Universities (Georgia Southern University and University of Vermont) and two Mexican Universities (Universidad Veracruzana and Tecnológico de Monterrey). The grant funds a student exchange and research project.  Funding for the project will allow ten Laurier students, and ten students from University of New Brunswick, St. John to study abroad over a four-year period at a partner institution for one term. The value of the Canadian portion of the grant (government and institution funding) is $284,000. In total, the Canadian, American, and Mexican governments will contribute $450,000 to the consortium. Fifty-two students from the three countries will be funded to participate in the project.  

In October 2010, the project leaders from the six universities attended a Project Director’s meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A key item on the agenda was the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU), the document describing the multilateral agreement amongst the 6 university partners. The MOU was a consultative process involving lawyers and faculty from the six universities. After eight months of consultation and collaboration, all the universities reached agreement and twelve final copies of the MOU (both English and Spanish versions) traveled back and forth across the continent to be signed by the university Presidents. President Blouw completed the process, as Wilfrid Laurier was the final institution to sign the agreement.

Laurier hosted a Project Directors Meeting on campus this past August. The two-day workshop was mainly dedicated to designing the parallel directed studies, entitled North American Public Policy: Directed Studies that all students receiving the mobility scholarship are required to take as part of their course load. With the assistance of the office of Educational Technology at Laurier, Paul Kleinschmidt, and Media Technology, Carolyn Morrison, Laurier is leading the way by providing an innovative way of offering a live on-line undergraduate course that involves the participation of Professors and Students at six Universities in the three different countries. Students are also taking part in a community-service learning experience in their host city, and both faculty and students will work together to develop a research project on North Americans’ perceptions and (mis)perceptions of one another (and their impact on public policy in all three countries).

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