Co-Director, Leadership and Democracy Lab
Ph.D., University of British Columbia
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 82236
Office: Social Sciences Centre 4138
Professor Ferguson specializes in comparative politics, international relations and public policy. His main research emphasis is on democratic transitions and democratic stability in the developing world. He also conducts work on political leadership, public opinion polling during elections, image building and tourism policy, and political risk assessment. Professor Ferguson also conducts pedagogical research on Information Literacy Instruction.
Current Research Projects
1. The Failure of Democratic Regimes
Professor Ferguson’s book, Undertow in the Third Wave: Examining Democratic Reversal, 1972-2014, has been accepted for publication at the University of British Columbia Press and is forthcoming 2017. The book examines the stability of democratic regimes and asks the question of why such regimes sometimes fail. A mixed-methods approach is employed to support the conclusion that structural stimuli are not sufficient to explain democratic reversion and only become relevant in an actor model that allows for the evaluation of the costs and benefits of democratic uncertainty. This work establishes an important theoretical bridge between the literature’s major division and the empirical findings directly challenge the dominant paradigm in the research on democratization.
2. Information Literacy Instruction
Professor Ferguson is engaged in a research project with Bruce Fyfe (DB Weldon Library) exploring and testing innovative approaches to the delivery of Information Literacy Instruction (ILI). ILI addresses the research process writ large, everything students do from the time they receive a research assignment until they hand in their paper. The project was initially funded through their 2010 Fellowship in Teaching Innovation award and resulted in a number of conference papers currently under revision for publication. Professor Ferguson recently (2014) received one of the first three Teaching Fellowship Program awards, the richest awards ever granted at Western for research on teaching. This award will be used (with Bruce Fyfe) to design a series of online instructional modules that are scalable and adaptable across disciplines, and offer a plug and play solution for instruction and testing of information literacy skills. The technical implementation will be provided through a partnership with the Instructional Technology Resource Centre at Western.
Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- 2016: Cristine de Clercy and Peter Ferguson. “Leadership in Precarious Contexts: Studying Political Leaders after the Global Financial Crisis.” Politics and Governance, volume 4 no. 2 (2016): 104-114.
- 2016: Peter A. Ferguson and Ali Hassan. “Conceptual Stretching and the Foreign Imposition of Democracy: Lessons from Venezuela.” Accepted for publication, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, forthcoming Fall 2016.
- 2012: Cristine de Clercy and Peter A. Ferguson. “Leadership and Image-Building Policy in Four Saskatchewan Municipalities.” In Jean Harvey and Robert A. Young (eds.) Fields of Governance – Municipal Image-Building in Canada. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- 2012: Peter A. Ferguson. “Regime Change in an Era of Globalization.” In Rand Dyck (ed), Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science, 390-413. Toronto: Nelson.
- 2007: Peter A. Ferguson. “Improving Citizens’ Access to Opinion Poll Information? Evaluating Canada’s New Election Act Amendments in the 2000 Campaign.” In Hans Michelmann, Don Story and Jeffery Steeves (eds), Elections, Representation and Leadership: Essays in Honour of John C. Courtney. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- 2005: Peter A. Ferguson and Cristine de Clercy. “Regulatory Compliance in Opinion Poll Reporting During the 2004 Canadian Election.” Canadian Public Policy, 31:3 (September), 243-257.
Recent Conference Presentations
- 2016: Peter A. Ferguson and Bruce Fyfe, "Innovative Information Literacy Instruction: Possible in one large class but not one university?" Paper presented at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2016 Conference. London, ON, June 21-24.
- 2014: Peter A. Ferguson, “The Marking Key to Success: Using Rubrics in the University Context.” Talk presented to Spring Perspectives on Teaching, Western University, London, ON. May 14.
- 2014: Peter A. Ferguson, “Information Literacy Instruction in a Large Institution Setting” Talk presented to the Teaching with Technology Conference, London, ON. May 21.
- 2014: Peter A. Ferguson, “Democratic Uncertainty and Stability in Young Democracies.” Paper presented at the International Political Science Association’s 23rd World Conference of Political Science. Montreal, QC, July 19-24.
- 2013: Peter A. Ferguson and Rishita Apsani, “Can the Arab Spring Empower Women? A View From Inside Women’s Organizations in Jordan.” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference. Victoria, BC, June 4-6.
- 2013: Peter A. Ferguson and Ali El Hajj-Hassan, “They Mean What They Say, But Do They Say What They Mean? The Differential Usage of ‘Democracy’ in Foreign Policy.” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference. Victoria, BC, June 4-6.
- 2013: Peter A. Ferguson and Bruce Fyfe, “Evaluating Different Approaches to Grey Literature Information Literacy Instruction in International Studies.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association Annual Conference. San Francisco, California, April 3-6.
- 2012: Peter A. Ferguson, “Can We Learn Something About Democratization from an Examination of the Cases of Failure?” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference. Edmonton, AB, June 13-15.
- 2012: Bruce Fyfe and Peter A. Ferguson, “If Students Can't Really Conduct Research, Should We Ignore the Problem or Try and Fix It?” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference. Edmonton, AB, June 13-15.
- 2012: Peter A. Ferguson, “Failure is an Option: The Political and Economic Influences on Thirty Cases of Democratic Reversion.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association Annual Conference. San Diego, California, April 1-4.
- 2012: Peter A. Ferguson and Bruce Fyfe, “'Critical Success': Developing a Collaborative, Fully Integrated Information Literacy Instruction into a Political Science Curriculum.” Paper presented to the International Studies Association Annual Conference. San Diego, California, April 1-4.
- 2010: Peter A. Ferguson and Cristine de Clercy. "Can Parliament Control Independent Agencies?" Paper presented to the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Washington D.C. September 2-5.
- 2010: Peter A. Ferguson. “The Roles of Uncertainty and Risk in Decision-making on Support for Fledgling Democratic Regimes.” Paper presented to the European Public Choice Society Annual Conference. Ismir, Turkey. April 8-11.
- 2010: Peter A. Ferguson. “Disaggregating the Democratization Demonstration Effect.” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec. June 1-3.
- 2010: Cristine de Clercy and Peter Ferguson. ““Leadership and Image-building Policy in Four Saskatchewan Municipalities.” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Montreal, Quebec, May 30-June 1.
- 2009: Peter A. Ferguson and Cristine de Clercy. “Federal Poll Reporting Regulations and Their Lack of Enforcement or A Treatise on the Ability of Election Officials to Ignore the Law” Paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Ottawa, Ontario, May 27-29.
Awards and Distinctions
- 2014: Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University Student’s Council and Alumni Western, University of Western Ontario. (This is the highest teaching honor annually awarded at Western. Professor Ferguson was announced as the first two time recipient in history of the award).
- 2014: Teaching Fellowship Program award, The University of Western Ontario. (This new, three year fellowship constitutes the largest grant ever awarded at Western for teaching innovation and research ($100,000)).
- 2010: Fellowship in Teaching Innovation, The University of Western Ontario. (This is a single, campus-wide, award ($10,000) provided on an annual basis with the purpose of facilitating the pursuit of a teaching innovation at Western).
- 2009: Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, The University of Western Ontario, University Student’s Council. (This is the highest teaching honor annually awarded at Western).
- 2009: Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Teaching, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. (This is an annual, province-wide award that recognizes educators who excel at unlocking the potential of Ontario’s university students).
- 2009: Award for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science, American Political Science Association / Pi Sigma Alpha.