Dr. Michael MacLeod

Associate Professor, Political Science

Phone: (403) 254-3769
Email: Michael.MacLeod@stmu.ca
Office: A311
PhD Political Science, George Washington University, Washington DC
MA Political Studies, Queen’s University
BA Political Studies & Geography, Queen’s University

Specialization/research interests:International politics; environmental politics & policies; climate change & the Alberta oil sands; corporate social responsibility & socially responsible investment

Michael MacLeod has BA & MA degrees from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) and a PhD from George Washington University (Washington, DC). He is currently the Chair of Social Sciences, an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Liberal Studies Coordinator at St Mary’s. Previously, he taught at George Fox University in Oregon, USA, where he was also Director of International Studies. Dr MacLeod has researched and written on a variety of topics, including emerging global capitalism and the power of multinational corporations, corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investment, religion and politics, and the Alberta Oil Sands. One of his passions lies in explaining and critiquing globalization and the changing global economy to students, and to helping them develop a sense of social justice for whatever path they choose in life. In addition, Michael also loves music and is proud to have seen the great Canadian musicians Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn and Ron Sexsmith, among others, in concert several times over the years. His interest in the relationship of popular culture and politics is manifest in his most recent work – currently writing chapters for books on Rock Music and Romanticism, and on U2 and Religion.

“That man is bereft of passion … and imagination! That is not who I am!”
Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation

This quote is from a great episode of the seminal television series in which the Captain of the Enterprise is given a chance to live his younger life over again and undo some of the brash, impetuous actions of his youth. But after doing so, Picard discovers that sacrificing what drove his youth has costs that are life-altering, changing his path and diminishing who he truly is and who he became (until he is given a chance to return to the original timeline, which he does, and everything returns to “normal” with Picard duly chastened not to regret the past and his youth).

This lesson has never failed to remind me of the need to be true to ourselves and what drives us, especially when we are young and forming our opinions and values of the world and our place in it. As a university professor, my foremost teaching goal is to create a learning environment in which students thrive and become better equipped intellectually to engage the world in whatever manner they choose. To do so, I offer students not only my academic training and capabilities but also, critically, my passion and imagination. And since my teaching area involves the wide realm of politics – the uses and abuses of power in society – I am particularly passionate about stirring young people into new areas of learning concerning the world around them, local and global.

My teaching philosophy is centered on three general learning objectives (in addition to specific learning outcomes for each course): to get students to CARE [about the specific subject of the course], to make it relevant to their lives, so that they will be more motivated on issues that matter to each of them, their community and the country; to help students KNOW as much as possible [about the subject at hand], so that students will have the intellectual tools necessary to distinguish facts from opinion, and be better informed; and, to inspire students to HOPE for the world around them, so that they develop their own personal political vision of what matters, and discover ways to change the world around them.

In the end, teaching politics is not about indoctrinating students into the world view of the professor or of anyone else. It’s about helping students create their own perspectives on the political world around them, to encourage them to think about their own power and the power of societal institutions. And, most critically, to prepare them for engaging society in order to make it better for everyone.