Minutes of CSN-REC Meeting, November 13, 2009

The third meeting of the new Canadian Studies Network took place at Trent University on November 13, 2009, between 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. in conjunction with the sixth annual Trent-Carleton Graduate Student Conference. The goal of this meeting was todevelop a cohesive plan for the creation of a constitution along with fundraising, networking and communication policies. There were 21 faculty members present representing Canadian Studies programs from across the country including: Brock University, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of British Columbia, York University, the University of Toronto, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, the University of Ottawa, Trent University and Carleton University. There were 16 graduate students in attendance representing Trent University, Carleton University, Memorial University, McGill University, York University and McMaster University. As well, there were two undergraduate students from Mount Saint Vincent University. Guy Leclair, representing the International Council on Canadian Studies, was also present. Regrets received from faculty at St. Mary's University University of New Brunswick, McGill University, Queen's University, University of Regina, University of Calgary, Athabasca University, Lethbridge University and Simon Fraser University, who were not able to attend.

Opening Comments by Jim Struthers, Trent University.

Initially several joint concerns that members of the steering committee have were brought forward.First, concerns about closures of some Canadian Studies programs across Canada. It was made clear that the CSN-REC should become a network focused on consolidating Canadian Studies Programs across Canada. It was mentioned that there is a dire need for an organization to link Canadian Studies in Canada as well as students and scholars in other disciplines at the post-secondary level who consider themselves Canadianists. It was also mentioned that organizations such as the Association for Canadian Studies are no longer facilitating this type of academic networking.

Components of the Constitution

This segment of the agenda was moderated by Andrew Nurse from Mount Allison University.


A motion was passed that designates the size of the Executive of the CSN-REC, which will include: a President; a Vice-President, a Secretary/Treasurer, plus two members at large; one graduate student representative and secondly one member who will be a liaison with the ICCS. There will also be an ex officio member who will serve as the Program Chair, for the next meeting. This individual will be a member of the host university.

A motion was passed stating that the CSN-REC would be regionally sensitive in elections.

It was decided that each Executive term would last for 1-3 years and that there will be some staggering over this period with a maximum over 4 years in each position.

The motion passed that the CSN-REC will become a non-profit organization.

A motion was passed to make the address of CSN-REC the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies, Suite 103, Kerr House, Traill College, Trent University, 299 Dublin Street , Peterborough, Ontario K9H 7P4 for next 3 years.


A motion to make the CSN-REC a bilingual organization with a French and English name, as well as the mission statement and the constitution in both languages was passed. The full name of the organization will be: Canadian Studies Network- Réseau d'études canadiennes.

A draft mission statement for the CSN-REC was discussed at length. The amendments suggested are included in the copy below.

The Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes is a bilingual organization dedicated to serving the purposes of academics - including faculty, students, and independent researchers - involved in the study of Canada through Canadian Studies programs or within other disciplines at the post-secondary level in Canada. The CSN's goal is to strengthen links, promote exchanges, and build new partnerships amongst Canadianists working in academic institutions in order to promote thriving Canadian Studies programs in Canada at both the undergraduate and graduate studies level, to facilitate professional connections with international Canadian Studies associations, and to foster critical teaching and research on Canada. In support of this mission, the CSN will to facilitate communication among Canadianists and hold an annual meeting to discuss issues of mutual concern and new developments in the field. We welcome individuals or institutions involved in Canadian Studies at the post-secondary level to participate in and/or join the Canadian Studies Network.

Motions were carried concerning membership categories. In all there will be a regular annual membership at $70.00; low income, retired, or student membership at 30.00; undergraduate student membership at $15.00 and an institution membership at $125.00 that includes 5 free student memberships allotted at their discretion.

A motion was passed stating that elections would be conducted electronically.

Advisory Board
It was decided that the CSN-REC would have an advisory board. It was suggested that this board must have regional representation as well as one PhD student member. The Executive will appoint this board and then report back to the membership about its composition.
As a final comment a motion was passed to empower the Steering Committee to be responsible for a draft of the constitution, which will get hammered out.

Questions that still need to be addressed:
There are two key components of the constitution that were not decided at the meeting that need to be decided on by the steering committee, so that a draft can be created.
1) What is the nomination process for electing an Executive?
2) Who gets to vote on a draft of the constitution and the election of the Executive?


This segment of the agenda was moderated by Christl Verduyn from Mount Allison University.

A motion was passed to affiliate with ICCS as an associate member as soon as we are duly constituted as an organization, no later than the fall of 2010.

A motion was passed for the Executive to further explore the possibility of becoming a member of the Federation. It was noted that we need to have 80 members and have been constituted as a functioning organization for 3 years in order to join.


This segment of the agenda was moderated by Laura Moss from the University of British Columbia.

Guy Leclair, of the ICCS, said that there is funding available to be applied for in the spring of 2010, for a project linking Canadianists working inside Canada to those working outside Canada. He also said that any surplus of funds for such programs could be used for other related purposes.

It was decided that we needed to focus on developing a deliverable. Ideas about deliverables included:
1) Holding a conference on citizenship.
2) Curriculum development for undergraduate Canadian Studies programs across Canada.
3) Developing a speaker's bureau for Canadianists with academic expertise.
4) Facilitating an exchange of faculty between Canadian and International Canadian Studies programs.
5) Publishing an annual bibliography of published works that focus on Canadian studies.

No final decisions were made.

National and International Exchanges

This segment of the agenda was moderated by Colin Coates from York University.

The overall thrust of the conversation focused on the fact that international exchanges are more common and easier to facilitate than domestic exchanges, which would be a good project for the CSN-REC to focus on.

Language exchanges could be very valuable for post-secondary Canadian Studies students in Canada; it already happens in high schools.

It was mentioned that promoting national exchanges between students would be a great project and could be the first main deliverable of CSN-REC that would aid in getting funding from ICCS. It was mentioned that such a project could also get approval from university advancement offices as a focus for donor support. As well, the website would be a good place to forward and communicate information about exchange programs.

On the down side there were comments about the difficulties with these types of programs, that they are a lot of work and that they need a stable and established organization to support them.

Faculty exchanges were mentioned as accompanying viable and needed projects.

Brokering student exchanges to other Canadian universities is a tangible benefit that we should be able to offer undergraduate members.

Communication Policy

This segment of the agenda was moderated by Jim Struthers from Trent University.

David Staines, of the University of Ottawa, delivered a demonstration of the draft CSN web portal, in development over the past year and now online. David performed the first online registration and outlined the information and functions available through the site. Members expressed their appreciation to David and the IT staff at the University of Ottawa for their efforts to date in developing this portal. Following his presentation some basic concerns were expressed about whether this model for a website allows us to communicate with each other sufficiently.

There were also questions about how a stand-alone identity for the CSN-REC could emerge through a University of Ottawa portal.

Lynda Mannik presented 3 graphic models for stand-alone websites. There was strong praise for the striking visual imagery.

We discussed the difference between design issues and functionality including the stress and cost of time and money in producing this type of website, security concerns, browser interface concerns, privacy issues and visual accessibility issues.

It was decided that the website needed to look professional, be very secure and easy to use once up and running. There were questions about whether this stand alone website should be hosted by a university website.

A motion was passed to create a website committee headed by Lynda Mannik and includingLauralee Proudfoot from Trent University and Kelly Best from Memorial University. The committee is mandated to explore issues related to the costs of creating a website, security issues, the need for bilingualism (and how it will be addressed) and design/functionlity issues. A report will be given to the newly constituted Executive.

Student Issues

This segment of the agenda was moderated by Patrick Scott from Trent University. The student panel was made up of Adam Guzkowski, Jonathan Pinto and Peter Balogh. Below are suggestions put forward by the panel.

There was an emphasis made on the desire to have all levels of students included in the CSN-REC: undergraduate, MA, and PhD students. And that the benefits of joining really needed to be made clear. Also it was mentioned that the communication policy needs to be made clear in our mission statement.

The panel emphasized that different points of student access, in terms of communication, needed to occur through Facebook and Twitter etc.

They also emphasized that it is important for the CSN-REC to lobby against funding cuts for Canadian Studies in Canada and lobby for the importance of thriving programs.

There were questions about the student role on the advisory board. Students should have a regional meeting first and then bring ideas to the executive.

Create a student committee affiliated with CSN-REC and report back to steering committee on student issues.

Interdisciplinarity is key and that is where the linkages are.

A website is critical in strengthening linkages with other departments and networking in general as well as in providing accurate and up-to-date information about Canadian Studies Programs, both graduate and undergraduate, across the country. Networking needs to include undergraduate students.

Universities are facing a retirement phase and Canadianists are not being replaced. This is a key issue that the CSN-REC needs to address as well.


Throughout the conference there were many conversations related to what the CSN-REC is going to do; what will be its deliverables in terms of funding; what will be its projects and what will be the benefits of becoming a member.

To summarize suggestions that were made:

Facilitate an annual conference or individual conferences as a good way to network between students and faculty. This would aid in facilitating professionalism between faculty and graduate students as well as connections between Canadian Studies departments and Canadiantists across Canada.

To launch a national exchange program that would facilitate the exchange of students and/or faculty between Canadian Studies departments. This is would elevate Canadian Studies in general, inspire students to value Canada, create connections, aid in developing pedagogical practices and facilitate language exchanges.

Create a visually striking and easy-to-use web site that would serve as a way to network and facilitate the circulation of information about Canadian Studies in Canada. This could include blogs, profiles of faculty, resources (published and unpublished) specific to Canadian Studies, a space that facilitates lobbying and links to Twitter and Face book.

Network through forms of publication such as the Journal of Canadian Studies, develop our own e-newsletter, and publish a bibliography of works on Canadian Studies.

Next meeting of CSN-REC is to be held at Brock University in early November 2010, in conjunction with their "Two Days of Canada" conference, as previously agreed at our February 13, 2009 discussions at Mt. Allison.

Minutes taken by Lynda Mannik