As Graduate Program Chair for the past three years, I can say that Dr. Hopkins is the most impressive PhD student to graduate from our program in recent history. I give him my highest recommendation, without any reservations,

Mark Pickup

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Dr. Vince Hopkins receives Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Vince Hopkins is recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Hopkins on his outstanding achievements.

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July 19, 2021

Dr. Vince Hopkins’s doctoral thesis, Lobbying for democracy: Interest groups in Canada's parliamentary system, examined the political behaviour of interest groups in Canada, combining theories from behavioural science with data science techniques to improve our understanding of how interest groups influence Canadian public policy. 

Utilizing more than 40,000 lobbying records and nearly 5,000 hours of committee transcripts over two decades, Dr. Hopkins's research sheds new light on the "hidden hallways" of power in Canada, contributing to the ongoing debate about democratic reform. The dissertation is a forerunner of data-driven public policy research.  

External examiner, Dr. Shaun Bowler of University of California Riverside was so impressed with Hopkins’ thesis, saying, “I will state at the outset that this is one of the best dissertations I have read for some time.”

Dr. Hopkins's contribution also extends beyond his written dissertation. The Canadian Study of Parliament Group recognizes the impact of Dr. Hopkins’s work along with the data he’s collected, cleaned and uses for his analysis. These resources will foster understanding of parliamentary deliberation - how elected officials and organized interests exchange information, and how parliamentary institutions structure this exchange. He also has publications in Policy Studies Journal, Governance, and Political Research Quarterly.

“As Graduate Program Chair for the past three years, I can say that Dr. Hopkins is the most impressive PhD student to graduate from our program in recent history. I give him my highest recommendation, without any reservations,” says Hopkins’ supervisor, Graduate Chair Mark Pickup.

Says Hopkins, “I joined SFU for its vibrant community and to work with my supervisor (Dr. Mark Pickup). It was one of the best decisions I've made. SFU really is an engaged university. During my PhD, I had the chance to build connections with government, learn hands-on data science skills, and travel around the world–all while studying important issues in public policy. I'm honoured to receive the Dean's Convocation Medal.” 

In 2019, Dr. Hopkins joined the Government of British Columbia as a Senior Behavioural Scientist. He will be joining the University of Saskatchewan as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy starting in summer 2021.