[Press Release] Island Studies leader Dr. Jim Randall retires

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (July 6, 2021) —

After nine years as Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program and Chair of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS) Executive Committee, Jim Randall is retiring. 

Professor Emeritus Jim Randall

Trained as an economic and urban geographer, this native of Ontario moved with his family from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George to Prince Edward Island in 2010 to take up the post of VP Academic at UPEI. In 2012 he became Coordinator of the MAIS program, teaching in the MAIS and Island Studies Minor programs and undertaking  a supervisory role for several Master’s students. When Jim arrived, the MAIS program had 28 thesis students and 21 graduates. Since 2018 when he introduced the work/study program, enrolment has more than doubled and MAIS alumni now total 50. More than half of incoming MAIS students are now international students. Students and staff agree that the current success of the program is due to Jim’s vision, persistence, and hard work.

As Chair of the IIS Executive Committee, Jim built on the Institute’s reputation as an “honest broker” that is recognized for doing research that contributes to evidence-based policymaking. This led to a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Prince Edward Island to research and produce the 2019 Vital Signs report that went into households across the Island, as well as various research contracts with the Government of PEI. The most recent, to undertake a four-year “Indicators of Well-being” study with the Government of PEI, is now under way with a province-wide survey set to launch in the fall.

Jim was named UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability co-chair (with Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino from the University of Malta) from 2016 to 2020 and became sole Chair in 2020. Throughout that time, he has demonstrated true leadership, securing several research contracts with funding from the Government of PEI, ACOA, the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CC UNESCO), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), among others. His most recent project is curating a series of 24 COVID-19 Island Insights papers from islands around the globe in collaboration with the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance and Island Innovation. The papers form the basis of a policy initiative that will be presented at COP-26 in Glasgow in November.

The author of dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, Jim is Executive Editor of and contributor to the Annual Report on Global Islands 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, published in affiliation with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province. His groundbreaking textbook, An Introduction to Island Studies, was published in 2021 with Island Studies Press and Rowman & Littlefield.

Jim was presented with the Faculty Association’s Merit Award for Outstanding Service in 2019, and UPEI’s Katherine Schultz Research Recognition Award in 2018. Upon his retirement, the University bestowed upon him with the well-earned designation of Professor Emeritus. As Dr. Ed MacDonald (History, UPEI) wrote in his nomination letter, “As someone who has been involved with the Institute of Island Studies since 1986 and with the MAIS program since its inception two decades ago, I think I can speak with some authority when I praise the tremendous contributions that he has made to those two, closely related enterprises. He has devoted his considerable energy and abilities to both, and both have prospered under his leadership.”

A builder and visionary, Jim Randall has left a legacy that will stand Island Studies @ UPEI in good stead for years to come. But we know Jim won’t be a stranger: fortunately, he and his wife Brenda have decided to continue to call PEI home. And he’s already agreed to lend his expertise to ongoing projects, and will continue to be part of the Island Studies family.

Congratulations, Jim, on a well-earned retirement!

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Media contact:
Dave Atkinson
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island
datkinson@upei.ca | (902) 620-5117


[New publication] Latest from the COVID-19 Island Insights Series: Canary Islands & Azores

May 11, 2021—

The latest instalment of the COVID-19 Island Insights Series shares critical insights from the Canary Islands and Azores. How have these European archipelagos responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and what do their recovery plans hold for future resilience and sustainability? Check out this week’s Insights reports to find out!

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series is a collaborative project between the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG), the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), and Island Innovation. For more information about the Series and to read all of the reports so far, visit islandstudies.com/island-insights-series.


Info session: Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) @ UPEI – May 19, 2021 via Zoom

Have you ever thought of completing a Master’s degree in, among other things, island tourism, sustainability, or international relations, all while staying right here on Prince Edward Island?

If so, please join us on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021, for an information session on UPEI’s Master of Arts, Island Studies programs!

Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) Information Session
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
10:00am – 11:00am ADT (UTC-3)
Zoom registration: bit.ly/mais-info-session-may2021

Any questions can be directed to Dr. Laurie Brinklow, Interim Coordinator of the MAIS Program.


ABOUT THE MAIS PROGRAM

In addition to the traditional thesis-based option, you are now able to take one of three course-and work-study-based Masters specializing in Island Tourism, Sustainable Island Communities, or International Relations & Island Public Policy. Sessions will be delivered using a combination of face-to-face classes, video link, and online, starting in September. Entrance Scholarships for these and the thesis version of the program are available.

Learn more at islandstudies.com/mais-program


[Employment Opportunity] Research Coordinator – Well-being and quality-of-life on PEI (Part time)

May 7, 2021—
Come work with us!! The Institute of Island Studies at UPEI is seeking a research coordinator to work on a project that will assess the well-being and quality-of-life of Islanders.

Department: Island Studies – Faculty of Arts
Position: ADS Level 7 – Research Coordinator
Contract: Part-Time Term Position (Grant Funded)
Term: As soon as possible for Six (6) Month Term (Term may be reduced or extended depending on performance, available funding and departmental requirements)
Full details: https://www.upei.ca/hr/competition/74e21

Closing date for applications is May 12, 2021.


[Press Release] Future Prosperity Scholarships awarded to UPEI Island Studies students

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (May 4, 2021) —

The Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program at the University of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce the recipients of the Future Prosperity Scholarships. The winners for 2020 are Greg Ellison, Eliza MacLauchlan, and Alyssa Gillespie. They join Joyce Ferguson and Sarah Davison who received the awards in 2019.

The Future Prosperity Scholarships are generously funded by Dr. Regis and Mrs. Joan Duffy and the Province of Prince Edward Island’s Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. The awards were created two years ago to support students whose thesis research focuses on a topic related to the future prosperity of Prince Edward Island, ranging from entrepreneurship and tourism to renewable energy and migration.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of the Future Prosperity Scholarships,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “Thank you for your dedication and extensive research in exploring how we can make Prince Edward Island a better place for generations to come.”

“These are exceptional researchers and scholars helping us better understand the unique challenges and opportunities of life on islands,” said Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI. “The Future Prosperity Scholarships are crucial to ensuring these students are able explore this knowledge, which will have far-reaching impacts on Island life and policy.”

More about the winners

Greg Ellison is interested in climate change and reducing carbon emissions in both island and non-island societies. His research will focus on the factors, particularly “islandness,” that can facilitate energy democracy and enable smoother transitions towards renewable energy systems. Through examining island societies in the North Atlantic region, Ellison is hoping to uncover factors that can lead to increased social acceptance of renewable energy expansion, with the goal of bringing these lessons back to Prince Edward Island.

Alyssa Gillespie is undertaking research on the issue of youth retention and migration in rural Prince Edward Island communities, focusing on systemic issues and the individual experiences of those who make the decision to leave. By examining factors that keep youth in their island communities and what communities and youth identify as the “pull factors” to attract new people, Gillespie hopes to provide meaningful opportunities for youth to stay within their communities and to attract new people.

Eliza MacLauchlan is looking at the experience of tenants on small islands, such as the process of gentrification and displacement, and the impact this has on tenants. Through a comparative study with islands that are similar to Prince Edward Island, she will aim to understand the experience of tenants and look at the larger implications for housing policy on Prince Edward Island and other small islands.

Sarah Davison is a rural Island resident and an entrepreneur who is interested in the stories and visual representations of entrepreneurs who work in PEI’s tourism industry, specifically within arts and culture. Her research explores how photographic images represent off-season tourism and how these might influence our local understandings of self and place. The study is relevant to the ongoing discussions of social entrepreneurship, seasonality, and concepts of “islandness” on PEI and other small islands.

Joyce Ferguson’s research interests revolve around the relationship between energy policy and community in an island setting. Ferguson has chosen to focus her thesis on the wind farm expansion controversy in eastern Kings County. Her work will highlight community acceptance/resistance to large-scale renewable energy initiatives.

Successful applicants for these awards receive up to $25,000 over two years.

There are currently 47 students registered in the Master of Arts in Island Studies program: 27 in the thesis stream and 20 in the three course/work-study streams (Island Tourism, Sustainable Island Communities, and International Relations and Island Public Policy). While many of the students come from Prince Edward Island, others are from Halifax, Ontario, the USA, England, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, and China.

For more information on the Master of Arts Island Studies program, or to apply for the next round of Future Prosperity Scholarships, contact Dr. Laurie Brinklow at brinklow@upei.ca.

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Media contact:
Dave Atkinson
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island
datkinson@upei.ca | (902) 620-5117


[New publication] Latest from the COVID-19 Island Insights Series: St. Helena & Fernando de Noronha

May 4, 2021—

The latest instalment of the COVID-19 Island Insights Series shares critical insights from St. Helena and Fernando de Noronha. How have these South Atlantic islands responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and what do their recovery plans hold for future resilience and sustainability? Check out this week’s Insights reports to find out!

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series is a collaborative project between the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG), the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), and Island Innovation. For more information about the Series and to read all of the reports so far, visit islandstudies.com/island-insights-series.


NEWS: MAIS Thesis Student awarded national scholarship

April 28, 2021 —

Megan Lane MacDonald, a thesis student enrolled in the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program at UPEI, was recently awarded the Canadian Federation of University Women Graduate Studies Scholarship in Arts or Education, offered to female UPEI graduates enrolled in or applying to a full-time Masters or PhD program at a Canadian university. Megan’s research is focused on the poetry of PEI Women throughout history, and analyses themes of nature, modernization, and gender roles.

Congratulations, Megan!

To learn more about the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program, visit islandstudies.com/mais-program


[Press Release] New island-specific policy recommendations for ‘building back better’

For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (April 26, 2021) —

A new report outlines challenges and creative solutions for islands to “build back better” as they recover from COVID-19. The Annual Report on Global Islands 2020 is published by Island Studies Press.

While the ongoing global pandemic may have spared many islands the negative health impacts of COVID-19 thus far, it has undoubtedly served as a wake-up call for islands, such as Prince Edward Island, that rely heavily on tourism.

“It is crucial that islands and their communities recover from COVID-19 not by going back to a business-as-usual scenario but by building back better,” writes Dr. Francesco Sindico, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, University of Strathclyde, Scotland, in the report. He has identified tourism and food security as two of many areas that need to be included in such a process.

“If resilience is about driving an agenda for a better island following a state of vulnerability, the question becomes: what kind of future does that island want?”

Based on analysis of a comprehensive data set contributed by islanders around the world, Dr. Sindico discusses the importance of shifting towards sustainable tourism and diversified island economies. He suggests that the ongoing pandemic provides islands with an opportunity to take stock, recognize policies that may have contributed to vulnerability, and begin a process to become more resilient and sustainable in the face of present and future crises.

According to Dr. Sindico, the first step in making islands more resilient is to recognize that governance and government is at the heart of many of the current vulnerabilities. He proposes a policy-relevant research agenda to ensure that post-COVID-19 recovery packages enable islands to “build back better” and move towards a more resilient and sustainable future.

Dr. Sindico is continuing to collaborate with UPEI and its Institute of Island Studies through the COVID-19 Island Insights Series, where 24 islands from all over the world are being analyzed not just in relation to how they coped with the pandemic, but also, along the lines of his chapter, on how they can build back better. The final goal of the project is to develop policy recommendations aimed at promoting greater island resilience and sustainability in a post COVID-19 world.

The Annual Report on Global Islands series is published by Island Studies Press at UPEI and edited by Dr. Jim Randall, UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability at UPEI. It is produced in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, P.R. China, a sister province to PEI. Released annually since 2017, the series features peer-reviewed chapters by international experts on major topics associated with the economic development of islands.

For more information and to read this and past editions in the Annual Report on Global Islands series, visit https://projects.upei.ca/unescochair/publications/annual-report-on-global-islands.

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Media contact:
Dave Atkinson
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island
datkinson@upei.ca | (902) 620-5117


[New Publication] Islands Economic Global Forum ‘Annual Report on Global Islands’ 2020

April 19, 2021—
The latest instalment of the Annual Report on Global Islands Series was released today and is now available online. This series is published by Island Studies Press in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province.

The themes of this year’s Report are:
  • Public health on small islands
  • The vulnerabilities and resilience associated with the public health systems
  • The links to the rest of the world that both aggravate challenges and offer creative solutions.

Preface by Wang Sheng, Introduction and Conclusion by James Randall, and chapters by: James Randall & Marlene Chapman, Francesco Sindico, Robert Huish, Ilan Kelman, John N. Telesford, Huang Danying & Wang Sheng, Mathew Y.H. Wong, and Lin Heshan & Deng Yuncheng.


RESEARCH | PUBLICATIONS


[New Publication] What can island studies show us about sustainable development and public policy today?

April 16, 2021 —
The Institute of Island Studies was invited to submit an article to The Parliamentarian, the Journal of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, for their recent issue, Parliamentary democracy in the smallest Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth. Read our contribution, “What can island studies show us about sustainable development and public policy today?” below.

The issue also includes other articles about islands, including one from our colleagues in Malta on “The importance of academic research in studying islands and small states.”
Click here to read the full issue


RESEARCH | PUBLICATIONS