Acadia University welcomes inaugural Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership

Dr. Alex Marland joins Acadia’s faculty as part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration across five Canadian universities


Acadia University is taking an important next step in enhancing the education of current and future leaders in government, politics and the public service with the appointment of Dr. Alex Marland to the prestigious role of Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership.

“Dr. Marland is an excellent addition to Acadia’s interdisciplinary learning environment,” said Acadia University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Peter Ricketts. “He is a trusted and important voice who brings remarkable insight into what goes on in Canadian politics and governance that will benefit our students tremendously. The generous support of the Jarislowsky Foundation and the Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership are foundational components of a program that articulates the significance of truth, integrity and trust in political life and public service that will benefit Acadia students and students across the other universities in the national network of Jarislowsky Chairs in Trust and Political Leadership. Dr. Marland is committed to these values in his research and pedagogy, and I believe he will have a dynamic and positive influence on the next generation of those fully prepared to live on the cutting edge of political thought leadership and action in this country.”

Dr. Marland is an award-winning researcher who has interviewed hundreds of politicians, strategists and political staff across Canada. His book Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control (UBC Press, 2016) won the prestigious Donner Prize for best public policy book by a Canadian and an Atlantic book award for scholarly writing, and his book Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada (UBC Press, 2020) was shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. He is a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

“I am so excited to be joining the Department of Politics and to be Acadia’s inaugural Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership!” he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to train strong political leaders and to catalyze research and teaching in Nova Scotia, the Atlantic region and across Canada. Acadia students and practitioners alike will benefit from innovative new courses and programming, guest speakers, field trips, scholarships, leadership workshops and more. I’m looking forward to being a leader among the four other Chairs at Trois Rivières, Trent, Lethbridge, and Vancouver Island as we develop new learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of leaders in politics. Lots of exciting things are going to happen – stay tuned!”

Chair of the Search Committee, Dr. Rachel Brickner, thanked the committee for its work and said, “Acadia students will benefit from the opportunity to learn across the partner universities through a combination of foundational courses and experiential learning opportunities that bring together students from across the country committed to addressing the challenges of 21st century political leadership. There is much for our students to explore in the Atlantic Canadian political landscape and the appointment of Dr. Marland to the Jarislowsky Chair ensures that they will have ample opportunity to engage theoretically and practically with others who are passionate about politics and governance locally and nationally.”

“The appointment of Dr. Marland demonstrates the calibre of excellence that this Jarislowsky Chair has attracted,” said the Hon. Frank McKenna, who is a member of the advisory council of accomplished Canadians for the Network of Jarislowsky Chairs in Trust and Political Leadership. “Dr. Marland is the ideal candidate to hold the Acadia Jarislowsky Chair and will ensure strong Atlantic Canada participation and leadership within this unique national network.”

The Network of Jarislowsky Chairs has been launched with the vision and generous support of prominent Canadian business leader, investor and philanthropist, Stephen A. Jarislowsky. This Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership at Acadia is supported by a $2 million gift from the Jarislowsky Foundation and a match of $2 million from other donors that will assist the development of an innovative program of scholarship, involving teaching, research, experiential learning, and the collaborative development of innovative programming and certification.

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