Distinguished Researcher Award - Fall 2001
University of Saskatchewan professor John Courtney, a world-renowned expert on electoral democracy, is the recipient of the U of S Distinguished Researcher Award.
The award, which carries a $1,000 prize, recognizes a faculty member who has made a major contribution to knowledge through research and publication.
"His work has helped to shape political studies in Canada, while greatly enhancing the classroom experience for his students." said Michael Corcoran, U of S Vice-President of Research. "He is a model academic in the social sciences with a proven commitment to his profession and to the public sphere."
Courtney, who has just released his third book on Canada's electoral system, will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Canada's electoral regime at a public lecture in Room 106 Biology at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The lecture will focus on Canada's "first-past-the-post" electoral system which has been widely criticized of late. "I will examine claims about the disadvantages of the current system and the benefits of proportional representation," Courtney said.
Courtney's latest book, Commissioned Ridings: Designing Canada's Electoral Districts, has been variously described by reviewers as "the definitive work on how electoral boundaries are drawn in Canada" and "a benchmark performance of political science work." The book has been shortlisted for the Saskatchewan Book Awards in the scholarly writing category.
He is the author of Do Conventions Matter?: Choosing National Party Leaders in Canada (1995), and The Selection of National Party Leaders in Canada (1973). He has written 31 book chapters and 26 journal articles. As well, he has edited or co-edited five books on Canadian politics.
A frequent analyst on radio and television, he is also often asked to testify before parliamentary committees and has appeared as an expert witness in several important cases involving Canada's election laws.
In 1987, he brought his expertise to government when he served on the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission. His co-authored report for the Department of External Affairs on International Cooperation for the Development of Human Rights and Democratic Institutions led to the creation in Montreal of the centre of the same name.
Courtney earned his B.A. (1958) at the University of Manitoba, his M.B.A. (1960) at the University of Western Ontario, and his Master's (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) at Duke University. He has been part of the political studies department since 1965.
He served as a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for six years, including two years as Vice-President from 1989-91. His report on the SSHRC Research Grants Program in 1989 led to an overhaul of social science and humanities research funding.
He has served a number of positions on the board of the Canadian Political Science Association, including a term as president in 1987-88 and as English language editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science for three years.
Among Courtney's past awards are the prestigious Killam Research Fellowship which he received in 1998, and the Secretary of State Canadian Studies Writing Award which he received in 1986. He has also been a visiting scholar at universities in the United States, Germany, Israel and England.