Carleton University is establishing Canada’s first graduate program in political management. The goal of the program is to improve the practice of politics at all levels of government across Canada, by providing graduate level professional training for political officeholders, advisors, campaigners and staff.

The program is made possible thanks to a financial commitment from Calgary businessman Clayton H. Riddell who has made the largest philanthropic gift in Carleton’s history.

To honour Mr. Riddell’s generosity and dedication to public policy, the program will be named the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management.

“Our history of scholarly excellence in the fields of public policy and administration, communications and public affairs, coupled with our location in Ottawa, make Carleton the best place for this one-of-a-kind program in Canada,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president of Carleton University. “Thanks to Mr. Riddell’s generosity, we now have a program that will attract and provide the highest quality training to the best of those drawn to a career in politics.”

“I admire the passion and enthusiasm of those people who work for our elected officials,” says Mr. Riddell. “I am delighted to invest in an innovative academic program that will focus this enthusiasm and provide a deeper understanding of how our country works and how good public policy is developed.”

The program was originally proposed to Carleton by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of democratic governance in Canada.

“For the past five years we have been seeking to have a program such as this launched in a major Canadian university,” said Preston Manning, President and CEO of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. “Raising the bar of democratic governance requires talented individuals who possess not only a good appreciation of political theory but a highly-developed understanding of its practical application.”

A handful of leading universities around the world offer graduate level programs in political communication and applied political skills, but until now no graduate program in political management has been available in Canada.

“Although I had no previous affiliation with Carleton,” says Riddell, “the university was recommended to me by Preston Manning. We respect Carleton’s commitment to public policy and public affairs, its outstanding faculty, its record of academic excellence and innovation. Coupled with its location in Canada’s capital, these factors make Carleton the best university for this program.”

Housed in Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs, the program will award a master’s degree after one year of full-time study. Students will take courses related to communications, campaign management, the transformation of public policy ideas into legislation and relationships between political staff and the public, among other topics. Students will also complete an internship. Carleton’s Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management will welcome its first class in September 2011.

Graduates will be equipped to work as legislative assistants, strategists, campaign managers, senior government advisers and policy liaison officers for civil society and non-governmental organizations, among other professions.

“The nation will be better served when those occupying political staff positions have an advanced education in the field of political management,” says John ApSimon, dean of Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs. “This will result in more constructive politics and well-informed policy decisions.”

As with all new graduate degree programs, its design will be appraised for approval by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs includes the highly-respected School of Journalism and Communication, Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, and School of Public Policy and Administration.

Details about the program are available at:

About Carleton University:
Located in the nation’s capital, Carleton University is a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change. Its internationally recognized faculty, staff and researchers provide more than 24,000 full- and part-time students from every province and more than 100 countries around the world with academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study, including public affairs, journalism, film studies, engineering, high technology, and international studies. Carleton’s creative, interdisciplinary and international approach to research has led to many significant discoveries and creative works in science and technology, business, governance, public policy and the arts. As an innovative institution Carleton is uniquely committed to developing solutions to real-world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding daily.


For more information:

Beth Gorham
Manager of Public Affairs
Carleton University
(613) 520-2600, ext. 2234
(613) 608-0544 (cell)

Christopher Dornan
Director, Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs
Associate Dean, Faculty of Public Affairs
(613) 520-7560

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 in
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