Professor William Cross

William Cross, a professor in the Department of Political Science, received the 2020 FPA Research Excellence Award for his research in Canadian politics and political parties. The award recognizes excellence and leadership in research.

“The first Research Excellence Award was presented in 2010,” says Dean Brenda O’Neill. “The award provides recognition for past research, but it also provides a faculty member or research team with the resources to make a significant future contribution through a research proposal. The recipient receives a $12,500 research grant or a combination of $5,000 and a one-half credit course release. Professor Cross has demonstrated excellence and productivity in the study of Canadian politics and is a top international scholar in political parties. He has also shown excellent leadership in research.”

“The award has given me extra time to further my research, due to the course release. I was able to hire a research assistant with the award’s funding as well,” Cross says. “The graduate student is assisting with data collection and analysis relating to both the personnel and responsibilities of the different sections within political parties.”

At the FPA Excellence Awards ceremony in June 2020, Cross said, “I am very honoured to receive this recognition. Often we’ve viewed scholarly research and writing as solitary activities. However, it’s important to recognize that the research enterprise exists in a context and on a foundation that is supported by many.”

Who is the Political Party?

Cross will deliver a public, online lecture on March 23 as part of the FPA Research Excellence Award criteria. The FPA Research Series event, Who is the Political Party? will be moderated by Dean O’Neill, a scholar in political behaviour and gender and politics. The discussant for the lecture is Jonathan Malloy, the Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy and professor in the Department of Political Science.

In the lecture, Cross will discuss the complexity of political parties and the role of various levels within each party. Each level has different responsibilities and decision-making authority and is represented by various socio-demographic groups. Party members, volunteers at the grass-roots level, donors, activists, campaign professionals (pollsters, public relations) and MPs — all have diverse roles to play within the parties.

“Political parties are key actors in modern democracies,” he says. “They play a significant role in controlling access to public office, dominate election campaigns, organize our legislatures and governments, and influence the contours of policy debates.”

Broader Implications of Party Diversity

Cross’s research looks beyond party structures to investigate the broader implications of the inclusivity, participation and responsiveness of individuals within parties.

Cross looks at internal party dynamics as a key to understanding patterns of democracy and possible remedies to under-representation. For example, it is commonly known that women make up less than one-third of MPs, but the data suggest this is reflected in all levels of the parties’ representatives, from the grass-roots through to the highest levels.

“I am interested in questions of political recruitment and the representation of traditionally under-represented groups including women, visible minorities and young Canadians,” says Cross. “For example, the data have allowed me to examine the relationships between the presence of women on a local party executive committee, the likelihood of a local candidate search committee being established and whether a woman contests for the nomination.”

Please register for the FPA Research Excellence Award Public Lecture, Who is the Political Party? The online event will be held March 23 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Presenter: William Cross, Department of Political Science
Moderator: Dean Brenda O’Neill, Faculty of Public Affairs
Disscussant: Jonathan Malloy, Department of Political Science

2021 FPA Excellence Awards

We are now accepting nominations for the 2021 FPA Excellence Awards in the following categories:

Research Excellence Award (Faculty)
Teaching Excellence Award (Faculty)
Teaching Excellence Award (Contract Instructor)
Teaching Fellowship Award (Faculty)
Public Commentary Excellence Award (Faculty)
Staff Excellence Award (Staff)

Previous Recipients of the Research Excellence Award

2019
Dale Spencer
Department of Law and Legal Studies

2018
Laura Macdonald
Department of Political Science

2017
Kamari Clarke
Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs

2016
Ummni Khan
Department of Law and Legal Studies

2015
Cristina Rojas
Department of Political Science

2014
Piotr Dutkiewicz
Department of Political Science

2013
Zhihao Yu
Department of Economics

2012
Fiona Robinson
Department of Political Science

2011
Laura Macdonald
Department of Political Science

2010
Sheryl Hamilton
Department of Law and Legal Studies and School of Journalism and Communication

Friday, February 19, 2021 in , ,
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