Clare McGovern

Senior Lecturer
Political Science

Areas of interest

Research and Supervision Fields:


-Human Rights
-Canadian Legal System
-Youth Engagement in the Political System
-Teaching Practice and Community Engagement

Teaching Streams:

-Justice and Law
-Diversity and Migration
-Research Methods and Analysis
-Public Policy and Democratic Governance


  • BA (honours), University of Oxford
  • MA, University of British Columbia
  • PhD, University of British Columbia


My research explores why separatist parties engage in the political systems they want to leave. I examine this question using the Scottish National Party in the British Parliament, the Bloc Québécois in the Canadian Parliament and Catalan nationalist parties in the Spanish Parliament. I am also interested in the boundary between legal and political systems: when are some policy debates decided by the courts, rather than politicians? This question is inspired by my background in the criminal justice system. After my law degree, I worked for the UK National Audit Office. In that job, I reported to Parliament on English prisons and peacekeeping missions in the Balkans. After moving to Canada, I completed my doctorate at UBC. My post-doctoral fellowship at Quest University focused on teaching methods.

I've used these experiences to design courses on human rights, separatist movements, political participation, Canada’s constitution and qualitative methods. As a teaching faculty member, I run the Department training program for teaching assistants (with Dr. Sanjay Jeram) and also have several ongoing projects exploring innovation in teaching. These include a Teaching and Learning Grant* on community partnerships for my first-year classes and the development of workshops to help graduate students work effectively with their research supervisors (with Professor Mark Pickup).