On Wednesday, October 30, the University of Prince Edward Island hosted a public meeting to release the report of an external panel that was commissioned to review the Institute of Island Studies.
The review, initiated by Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies Robert Gilmour and interim Vice-President Academic Christian Lacroix in June, examined the role and governance of the institute in relation to UPEI’s Island Studies programs and courses, as well as its connections with the PEI and broader community.
Earlier in the year, UPEI did not renew the contract for the institute’s director due to budgetary restraints, but officials were quick to assure stakeholders that the study of islands is an important aspect of the University’s programming.
“Many people with an interest in the Institute contacted us to voice concerns about its future,” said Lacroix. “We felt it was vital to have an unbiased, independent review conducted that would give feedback on how to move forward. With the receipt of the reviewers’ recommendations, and our newly-established Island Studies Futures Committee now in place, Island Studies and the Institute are in good hands.”
The final report from the three-member panel—Dr. Liette Visseur, Dr. Graham Whitelaw, and Hon. David MacDonald—was compiled after the reviewers held several on-campus forums and interviews with key stakeholders. The report contains 29 recommendations, grouped into six categories: overarching recommendations, administration, governance, educational initiatives, administrative and financial support, and Canada Research and UNESCO chairs.
The mandate of the Island Studies Futures Committee, chaired by UPEI Associate Professor of History Dr. Ed MacDonald, is to review the recommendations of the external IIS review panel, seek input through consultation with colleagues, and make recommendations on how to structure and implement changes to IIS. The terms of reference for the committee were also unveiled at the public meeting. Committee members include chair MacDonald, Ann Grayborn (IIS advisory board chair), Harry Baglole (community representative), Dr. Neb Kujundzic (interim Dean of Arts), and Dr. Jim Randall (Master of Arts in Island Studies program coordinator). For more information or to contact the Island Studies Futures Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.