J. S. Milloy
Last July – 2014, that is, I had not imagined I would become Director nor that this July I would leave the job and the University. As it turned out, those last months were close to being the best of my time at Trent. For that I owe thanks to many people, especially to Cathy Schoel who made sure that I was doing what I needed to do and doing it in the way that she wanted it done. She is the calm centre of Frost Centre operations, a wise advisor to students and faculty and a strong proponent of Frost interests before administrative units in other parts of the University. I should recognize too the close and supportive, relationship between our undergraduate Canadian Studies program and the Centre. This past year Professor Chris Dummitt not only chaired Canadian Studies but taught the central PhD course in association with Carleton’s Director Peter Hodgins.
The year conformed to the Centre’s traditional annual rhythm, beginning with the PhD retreat at Windy Pine led by two former Directors, Julia Harrison and John Wadland. Windy Pine is the opening social to welcome new students and faculty and the whirl of getting teaching assistants into their assignments while not conflicting with their course schedules – always a complex process. Courses, comprehensive exams, supervisory meeting, funding applications and thesis exams filled the winter and spring terms. There were too many accomplishments to mention them individually. But one stands out and that is recent graduate David Rapaport, who won the President’s Medal for his dissertation, “The Rewiring of the State: The Privatization of Information Technology in Ontario.” As well, visiting lecturers, conferences and the North at Trent Lecture Series added to the intellectual activity. This year’s Series focused on issues related to Aboriginal communities and resource development. The highlight was the paper - “Saskatchewan First Nations and the Province’s Resource Future” - given by Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Proving that there is life after Trent and sites of meaningful contributions in your area of study, he was accompanied by his executive assistant, Valery Galley, a Frost Master’s graduate.
In additional to those usual activities, the Centre hosted two major events. A conference in honour of now retired Professor Jim Struthers, The Future History of the Welfare State, was organized by two of our post-docs, Lisa Pasolli and David Tough, which brought in leading scholars for a retrospective (a post-mortem?) on aspects of the welfare state. And, in honour of the University’s 50th anniversary, Professor Joan Sangster and Professor Bill Waiser (both Trent alumnae) and a committee of graduate students organized an ambitious and highly successful conference, Contesting Canada’s Future.
The year ended on a note of optimism in what has been a decade of considerable anxiety about the future of Canadian Studies at Trent. With the support of the University’s new President, Leo Groarke, and the Acting Vice Provost (Graduate Studies), Elaine Scharfe, the School for the Study of Canada, combing the various elements of Trent’s Canadian Studies project, became a reality. This was due to Professor Scharfe’s shepherding of the proposal through the requisite university committees and to the design and consultation work of Professors Struthers, S. Chivers, J. Harrison, J. Sangster, Dimitry Anastakis, and C. Dummitt. This was followed by an additional, long hoped for sign of renewal – a tenure track position.