MAIS Grad Joins UPEI as Assistant Professor

Charlottetown, PEI (June 30, 2022)—

Last summer we announced that MAIS graduate Patrick Augustine had received his Ph.D. from the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. This month we’re thrilled to announce that Dr. Augustine will be joining UPEI as an Assistant Professor in the new Faculty of Indigenous Knowledge, Education, Research, and Applied Studies (IKERAS).

Congratulations, Patrick! This is SUCH good news for UPEI and for Island Studies. 

And with Patrick comes partner Margaret Augustine (nee Mizzi), another MAIS graduate; Margaret is currently finishing up her Ph.D. looking at women’s work on Gozo, Malta, using a feminist island-geographical lens.  

Welcome back to the Island, Patrick and Margaret! 

[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

Media contact:
Anna MacDonald
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island | (902)-566-0949

NEWS: Final report of the Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee

Final report of the Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee

April 22, 2014—

In the fall of 2013, the University of Prince Edward Island created a committee to advise on the future operations of the University’s longstanding and widely respected institute for research and public policy: the Institute of Island Studies. The Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee, in cooperation with UPEI’s Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies, and Interim Vice-President Academic has released its final report, entitled One Step Back, and Two Steps Forward, which is available for download and review.

Using as its starting point an external consultants’ report commissioned in 2013, the Report endorses the current mandate of the Institute as a centre for the comparative study of Prince Edward Island and other islands, and outlines a number of options for its future structure and operations. Two of the key recommendations entail adding a national and international scope to the membership of the Institute’s advisory committee and a strong commitment to the Institute’s role as an honest broker of public dialogue about key issues confronting Prince Edward Island. To that end, the Institute will organize two public forums during 2014, one in the spring and one in the fall, on water resources and land use issues.

In its report, the Committee expresses its confidence in the future of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island and of the strong support from the University and community.

The full text of the report can be downloaded here.