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Political Studies Professor Celebrated for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

January 13, 2021

Dr. Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Political Studies) has been awarded the 2020 Faculty of Arts and Science Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. The award, given annually by the Faculty of Arts and Science, recognizes faculty members who, in the judgement of their graduate students, have made outstanding contributions to promoting graduate student excellence.

Dr. Goodyear-Grant, who has been at Queen’s since 2006, is a leading expert on Canadian politics, and teaches courses on campaigns and elections; women, gender, and politics; and Canadian politics more generally. She is also serving a five-year term as the Director of the Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA).

Ten of Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s current and former graduate students nominated her for the award, writing letters which emphasized her unending support of them as people, as students, and as academics.

Students and alumni relayed anecdotes of Dr. Goodyear-Grant supporting the launch of student initiatives related to mental health, regularly sending them relevant opportunities to further their learning and career, and providing prompt and thorough feedback on academic work.

Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s staunch advocacy for her students extends to outside of the classroom as well, with many nominators recognizing her compassionate and generous character.

Current PhD candidate Elisha Corbett described how Dr. Goodyear-Grant has gone above and beyond in the midst of the current pandemic, “[emailing] me once a week to check in – not only to see my dissertation progress – but to offer her professional and personal help in any way she can… like having my own personal cheerleader; she is always on the sidelines encouraging me to succeed in every way possible.”

This sentiment was shared by many nominators, including Jacob Robbins-Kanter, who wrote “Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s positivity and encouragement are a welcome relief during the doctoral degree experience. She is generous with her time and remains extremely accessible, reliable, and easy to talk to. Her strong dedication shows that she is highly and genuinely invested in the success of her students.”  

Another common thread throughout the nomination package was Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s support of women in politics, which extends beyond her own research; many letters celebrated her continued dedication to female academics in the field. As Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s lead nominator Rebecca Wallace noted, “Elizabeth has a very strong track record of graduate student supervision over the past 13 years, having supervised seven PhD students and 14 MA students…While political science still remains a predominantly male-dominated field, seven of Elizabeth’s eight PhD students are women, a number of whom have specialized in studies of women, gender, and politics.”

Further nominators expanded on this point; describing the extra time and effort Dr. Goodyear-Grant continually spent connecting with female students from many universities to help them advance and succeed in political science.

“Like all workplaces, there are issues around harassment and gender bias in teaching evaluations, promotion and tenure decisions, and more,” noted Wallace.

“Elizabeth educates her students about these challenges, helping to equip them appropriately to know their rights, the rules of their workplace, and the legislative and regulatory environment in which they find themselves operating.”

Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s dedication to the cause of gender balance extends to her extracurricular involvement; she has been the faculty advisor of Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) since its inception in 2015, has been the faculty advisor for McGill’s Women In House program women in house program, which aims to engage young women in political leadership, and was the first female director of the Queen’s Institute of Intergovernmental Relations.

Wallace also praised Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s teaching of the “hidden curriculum” – “the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives learned in a program. For graduate students, this includes: networking; how to submit a journal article; how to get a grant; what are the norms of professional behaviour; how to give a conference paper; as well as media training, work-life balance, mental health and stress, and so on.”

This assistance and dedication did not go unnoticed by her nominators, several of whom detailed how Dr. Goodyear-Grant went above and beyond to help them navigate graduate study as non-native English speakers or complete the program while working full time.

The strength of Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s mentorship and teaching is evident through the success of her students, which include two Trudeau Fellows, three Joseph A. Bombardier CGC Doctoral Fellows, and multiple SSHRC Doctoral Fellows, with former PhD students now in academic positions across North America, with more to follow. As nominator Patricia Mockler noted, “I was and continue to be inspired by her approach to teaching; I hope to emulate this in my own classroom in the future.”

See Dr. Goodyear-Grant’s University Research profile.