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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
April 24, 2017
Canadian Excellence


Michael Haughton, Faculty

The border between Arizona and Mexico is heavily fortified with high fences and intensive screening practices. While these measures can restrict movement, for transborder expert Michael Haughton, seeing these borders first-hand has opened his eyes to a new perspective.

Haughton, a professor in Laurier’s School of Business and Economics, is still feeling the positive effects of his term as the 2008-2009 Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS).

“I got a broader appreciation at one level. And at the same time, it sharpened my own perspective and my own understanding of what supply chain really means in a trans-border context,” said Haughton.

While at NACTS, Haughton researched the evolution of the transborder trucking sector in the post-9/11 world, and how it’s a key contributor to the economic vitality of Canada-U.S. trade. During his term, he vividly remembers visiting a border crossing between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

“You stop and see how issues of poverty and migration start to impact supply-chain management,” said Haughton. “It was not just visualizing it, but being able to draw the connections now between issues of migration, issues of poverty and how they impact issues of supply chain,” said Haughton.

The Fulbright program facilitates bilateral academic exchanges between the United States and over 150 countries, so scholars can examine subjects critical to strengthening the relationship between their country and the U.S.

Now that he’s back at Laurier, Haughton said his style of research hasn’t changed. He is still a quantitative-type researcher at the core. However, it has prompted him to read journals that he wouldn’t normally for a broader perspective of transborder issues. It has also affected how he teaches and interacts with his students.

“When I get a one-on-one with my students, I try to tell them about the importance of broadening their perspective with a term abroad, or something beyond what they are used to.”