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Here’s how it came about: Manning originally approached Carleton to see if the

university might entertain the prospect of establishing such a degree. He did so for a number of reasons. First, the university’s location in the nation’s capital and there- fore its proximity to Parliament Hill and the apparatus of federal politics. Second, the university’s existing strengths in its Political Science department and School of Pub- lic Policy and Administration. And third, André Turcotte, with whom Manning has had a long professional associa- tion, already teaches at the university. That said, the initial approach met with very much the

sort of skeptical reaction captured in Ish Theilheimer’s questions. The then-Dean of the Faculty of Public Af- fairs struck a feasibility assessment committee to report on whether a graduate program in political management was something the university should consider; and, if so, under what conditions. That committee delivered its report in the summer of 2009. It found that the concept – uni- versity-based professional education for those who would go on to become senior staff to elected representatives or political parties – had merit, and that such a program, properly designed and delivered, would be a contribution to the public good. It argued that the idea of the program fit well with the traditions of Carleton University. But it insisted that the university should only contemplate the prospect under two conditions. First, the proposed program had to be avowedly trans-partisan.

The university, as an institution, is necessarily politically ec- umenical, and any such program in political skills education would have to be of interest and value to students across the political spectrum. (We speak of the program being cross-partisan or trans-partisan, rather than non-partisan, so as to recognize that the students drawn to such a degree will have political convictions. Some will be on the right, some in the centre, some on the left. Indeed, from the start the intention is to have a mix of political convictions and affiliations in the faculty and student cohort.) Second, the committee argued that

the university

should pursue the idea only if it committed its fundrais- ing arm to raising the necessary endowment to establish the degree. Because what is imagined is a small, gradu- ate program admitting only some 20-25 students per year, the program could not pay for itself. It would require an external benefactor(s). The committee calculated that it would cost at least $10 million to establish such a degree. The upper administration of the university accepted

the recommendations of the committee and two things ensued, simultaneously. The fundraising arm of the uni- versity set about approaching potential benefactors while a curriculum design committee began to rough out what an eventual degree program might look like. (One year or two? What would the core curriculum consist of? What would be covered in elective courses? What should the graduates of such a program need to know and be capable of doing?)

14 Campaigns & Elections | Canadian Edition The curriculum design committee completed its

work in early 2010, mapping a curriculum architecture that leaves maximum latitude for the core faculty (as yet to be hired) to give full shape to how the curriculum will be delivered. In May 2010, it was announced that Clayton H. Riddell was sufficiently convinced of the need and worth of such a program, and of the ability of Carleton University to mount and deliver a high-qual- ity degree, that he agreed to support it in the financial amounts necessary. Though the origins of the initial approach to the uni-

versity lay with Preston Manning, everyone involved is crucially aware that the program must be scrupulously cross-partisan. Hence, once the university decided to pursue the idea, the president created an advisory group that included Preston Manning, Brian Tobin, Robin Sears and Chris Arterton, the founding director of the Graduate Program in Political Management at George Washington University. Meanwhile, the concept was endorsed by peo- ple as varied in their political convictions as John Baird, Scott Reid, Bill Knight, and Anne McGrath, chief of staff to Jack Layton. The program will be principally taught by three core

tenure-track faculty members (who have yet to be hired) and a roster of adjunct faculty drawn from the world of political practitioners, and who may teach courses or workshops in their areas of expertise, module units of longer courses, or deliver one-off lectures or seminars. The trans-partisan character of the program will be most prominently signaled by the ideological diversity of this core and adjunct faculty complement. The hiring com- mittee is charged with not only finding the best quali- fied candidates for the faculty positions, but ensuring that those hired reflect the political diversity essential to a healthy democracy. I cannot stress this enough: Under no circumstances will

we build a program that takes on any specific political coloura- tion. The skills and understandings the program seeks to cultivate in its graduates must be valuable and applicable no matter where one situates oneself politically. Indeed, the measure of the program’s success will be

threefold. First, will it attract bright, accomplished, high- quality students? Second, are the students and graduates of the program ideologically diverse? Third, do they go on to positions of leadership and seniority in the ranks of political strategists and managers in Canada across the partisan spectrum? Assuming the program is approved by OCGS, we will

be happy and confident to have its success weighed in light of those key considerations.

Christopher Dornan is the Director of the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, and Associate Dean, Faculty of Public Affairs, at Carleton University. To find out more about the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, visit akcollege

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