Jeffrey Ayres Chair and Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Director of the Center for Global Engagement

Jeffrey Ayres


B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

Globalization and Resistance
Global Governance
Global Problems
International Relations
Politics of the World Economy
Social Movements and Contentious Politics
U.S. Foreign Policy


Recent Publications:


Globalization and Food Sovereignty: Global and Local Change in the New Politics of
Food, with Peter Andrée, Michael Bosia and Marie-Josée Massicotte, co-editors, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014) (Series Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy).

North America in Question: Regional Integration in an Era of Political Economic
Turbulence, with Laura Macdonald, co-editor, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012) (Series in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy).

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Transnational Protest and the New Global Protest Cycle,” with Laura Macdonald, in
Moisés Arch and Roberta Rice, eds., Protest and Democracy, (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2018).

“A Community of Fate? Nonpolarity and North American Security Interdependence,”
with Laura Macdonald, pp. 114-141 in Christopher Kirkey and Michael Hawes, eds., Canadian Foreign Policy in a Unipolar World, (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2016).

“Civil Society and Canadian and Global Political Economy,” with Laura Macdonald, pp.
329-342 in Chris Kukucha and Greg Anderson, eds., Global Political Economy, (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2016).

“Sustainable Education from Vermont to Wales: Developing a Sense of Place and
Resiliency through Innovative Interdisciplinary Curriculum,” with Jonathan Silverman, Journal of Sustainability Education 11: (February 2016).

“Envisioning a Green Energy Future in Canada and the U.S.: Constructing a Sustainable
Future in the Context of New Regionalisms?” with Laura Stroup and Richard Kujawa, American Review of Canadian Studies 45(3) (2015): 299-314.

“Is North America Unravelling? Transformations of Regionalism in North America,”
with Laura Macdonald, pp. 179-199 in Soren Dosenrode ed., Limits to Regional Integration, (Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2015).

Awards & Recognition


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, Collaborator,
“Transnational Civil Society Linkages in North America,” with Laura Macdonald, Christina Gabriel, Hepzibah Muñoz Martínez and Kathleen Staudt, 2018-2023.

Honors and Awards:

Green Impact Award, United Kingdom National Union of Students, 2014-15
Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award, Saint Michael’s College, 2010-11


Life Off Campus

My hobbies include winter hiking, snowshoeing and downhill skiing; surf-fishing and sea kayaking; traveling across the U.S., Canada and Europe, and attending a few Phish concerts annually.  I live in Winooski, Vermont, the so-called “Brooklyn of Burlington” and enjoy the many foodie restaurants, farmer’s markets and coffee houses in the greater Burlington area, as well as the phenomenal four-season recreational opportunities available from Lake Champlain to the Green Mountains.

Listen to recent interviews with Professor Ayres:

Recent News

Jeffrey Ayres of the political science/international relations faculty, director of the Center for Global Engagement hosted a fall visit to our campus by a delegation of Hungarian lawmakers – the group’s only visit to an educational institution during their stay in Vermont, which was hosted by the Vermont Council on World Affairs (VCWA) as part of the Open World Program. Jeff also accompanied a nine-student delegation the weekend of January 26-29, 2023 to the McGill Model United Nations Conference in Montreal.
(posted February 2023)

Jeffrey Ayres, a Saint Michael’s political science/international studies faculty expert on U.S.-Canada relations, is an influential voice in ongoing conversations among American and Canadian scholars, business leaders and government officials concerning key lessons from the extended closure of the U.S. Canada border last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The border has reopened to “non-essential traffic” on both sides in recent months, said, who also is  director of the Saint Michael’s Center for Global Engagement. He contributed to a January 28 webinar titled “Reunited States: Onward and Upward.” This virtual event, sponsored by the New England Canada Business Council as well as the Consulate General of Canada in Boston and the Government of Quebec, was a follow-up to the Border Barometer project to which Ayres was a major contributor last year, writing a section on the border shared by Quebec, Vermont and northeastern New York. Jeff also hosted and joined a Saint Michael’s community Zoom conversation about the crisis in Ukraine in February sponsored by the College’s new Center for Global Engagement, illustrating the important practical utility of such a Center to help people understand and process world issues affecting their lives.
(posted July 2022)

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science/international relations and Director of the Center for Global Engagement, collaborated with three Czech professors and a Canadian colleague to co-teach a short but intense virtual course called “Comprehending Canada.” He said the experience was at least one positive outcome from the pandemic since such a collaboration would likely not have happened otherwise. He sees it as an example of “micro-internationalization.” In addition, he was part of a research team including Saint Michael’s College Professor and Canadian politics expert Jeffrey Ayres that in late summer made public “The 2021 Border Barometer.” This collaborative report from a team of American and Canadian scholars, publicly available online since early August, responded to a request from Canada’s government months ago for an assessment of the impact of the border closure due to COVID on businesses and communities from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Eight researchers including Jeff took part – six based at U.S. institutions and two at Canadian institutions. Jeff was tasked with reporting on border regions covering eastern New York, Vermont and the Montreal, Quebec region. His expertise on Canada led him to being invited by Burlington area media in late summer/early fall to talk about recent border and election issues, including with VPR and WDEV radio reports and on some local television newscasts, as well as Courthouse News Service, a nationwide news service for lawyers and the news media. Earlier in the fall, Jeff was the winner of the Norbert A. Kuntz Service Award during the annual Academic Convocation. In early January 2022, he announced a Memorandum of Understanding between Saint Michael’s and the University of Wales Trinity-Saint-David for expanded cooperation and exchanges after several years of exchanges between the institutions that Jeff helped lead.

Ayres analyzes Canadian election on the radio

It seems that whenever Vermont’s neighbor to the north, Canada, is in the news, area journalists seek out Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science faculty (and the former dean) to help them analyze and explain what is going on. It happened again this week, as this introduction to Wednesday’s “Vermont Viewpoint” radio show with Ric Cengeri at station WDEV in Waterbury explains: “Canada went back to the polls Monday night to form a new government. We’ll learn how much or how little has changed as we analyze the results with St. Michael’s College political science professor Jeff Ayres. Next, we prepare for Indigenous People’s Day and learn about a big celebration taking place in Stowe. After that, we’ll hear about the new museum dedicated to Vermont’s music history created by Big Heavy World. And we finish by discussing Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice’s work supporting COVID response in the community.”
(posted February 2022)

Hear Jeff Ayres explaining recent Canadian elections on the radio>>

Local media still tapping expertise of Ayres concerning Canada and other global issues

Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science and international studies faculty (and also the former dean) continued to make local media rounds this week based on his knowledge of Canadian politics and, more broadly, his informed perspectives as the inaugural director of the College’s new Center for Global Engagement.  It was about the latter role that anchor Cat Viglienzoni at WCAX TV, the CBS affiliate in Burlington, interviewed Jeff at some length recently, and the conversation was broadcast this week. Jeff also was featured in a September 10 article posted on the Vermont news website VTDIgger by reporter Shaun Robinson titled “How has border security changed in Vermont since 9/11?” From the piece: “I always used to say, ‘It’s the longest undefended border in the world,’” said Jeffrey Ayres, who teaches international relations at St. Michael’s College. “And it’s not anymore. It’s quite defended.” The attacks spurred collaboration between the two countries, but also have driven them apart over the past two decades, Ayres said. For instance, he noted, passenger land traffic across the border has never returned to its pre-9/11 levels. And this division has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, he said.  “We have seen a double whammy in 20 years,” Ayres said. “The sense of closeness between the two countries has been hurt further by Covid.’”

Ayres explains border issues in WCAX interview

Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science/international relations faculty and the former dean, was a guest again in local media to talk about his recent role in a major Canada border study and its implications for the local region. Here’s the introduction from WCAX TV Channel 3 of his interview with anchor Cat Viglienzoni: “A new study takes a closer look at the impact of the northern border closure. While vaccinated United States citizens can cross over to visit Canada, the U.S. border still remains closed to Canadians who want to come here for nonessential visits. The 2021 Border Barometer study found that for our region, nonessential travel was cut by 97% over the 17-month closure. Commercial travel only declined about 7%. St. Michael’s College Professor Jeffrey Ayres, who conducted the study in our region, says the biggest impacts were to relationships, families and border communities.

Ayres talks about Canada border, election issues during radio interivews with both VPR, WDEV

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science and international relations at Saint Michael’s (and the former dean), is an expert on U.S.- Canada relations, and so has been invited by area media recently to talk about recent border and election issues. Here’s the introduction to Jeff’s August 23 guest spot on Vermont Public Radio from the VPR website: “One of the enduring impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has been the border closure between the U.S. and Canada; non-essential traffic between the countries was banned in March of last year. Even as border restrictions ease, the economic damage to border communities has been done. A new report examines how severe and long-lasting that damage could be. VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Professor Jeff Ayres, the chair of political science and international relations at Saint Michael’s College and a member of the research team behind the 2021 Border Barometer report. ” Jeff also was to go on WDEV radio’s Vermont Viewpoint morning talk show with host Ric Cengeri Friday morning to talk about some of the same issues after some TV interviews last week and possibly upcoming. The interview lasted a full half-hour.

Ayres: Online class collaboration with Czechs, others, example of ‘micro-internationalization’

“Imagine the value of having Saint Michael’s students in a class with all these students from around the world,” said Professor Jeffrey Ayres (photo at right) after his rewarding experience this summer collaborating with three Czech professors and a Canadian colleague to co-teach a short but intense virtual course called “Comprehending Canada.” He said the experience illustrates one unexpected and potentially positive outcome from the COVID pandemic: “Until the pandemic made us think more about online teaching alternatives, it would never have occurred to me to collaborate on a course like this,” said Ayres, longtime political science and international studies faculty leader and the former Saint Michael’s dean. However, he first taught online and internationally in the fall semester during the height of the pandemic with a colleague at the University of Alberta; Saint Michael’s students in his Canadian politics course interacted with students from the University of Alberta, discussing shared concerns over the border, COVID, climate change and frayed relations between the two countries. This opportunity was a chance for the Saint Michael’s students to develop deeper insights into Canada, since they could not cross the border for the customary in-person trip Ayres typically leads to Ottawa, Canada in during the fall semesters. This collaboration led to subsequent Zoom meetings about further online possibilities that included both Canadian and international colleagues in his field. One result emerging from those conversations was the idea for a summer collaboration that soon took shape as the intense five-session virtual “COIL Comprehending Canada” course, with the acronym standing for “Collaborative Online International Learning.” The screen-grab above shows one online Zoom class from that course this summer.

Jeffrey Ayres of the political science faculty (and the former dean) in recent years has supervised several cohorts of Saint Michael’s College students who traveled to Asia for life-changing internships in Hong Kong funded by the Freeman Foundation, with original plans calling for a group to go to Singapore this summer. When the COVID-19 pandemic this year precluded actually traveling to Asia for internships, it motivated Jeff to explore non-Freeman alternatives and he hit on a viable solution: virtual internships in Vietnam. These virtual placements allow participants to build a knowledge base about Asia, deepen global competency and inter-cultural skills, and attain practical workplace. Making it possible is The Education Abroad Network, otherwise known as TEAN, which dedicates itself to helping college students enter the world of international professional internships.
(posted July 2021)

Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science faculty was recently featured in a story on helping students navigate internships in Hong Kong during COVID-19. Ayres helped students pivot to virtual programs that allowed them to gain important experience through remote work. Learn more: 

Jeffrey Ayres, political science professor and the former dean, participated on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s National Screening Canada Committee, Institute for International Education, November 2020; he also has some recent publications to share: “What if we don’t want the old America back?” with Laura Macdonald, in Open Canada, December 16, 2020; and, “The Safe Third Country Agreement must end,” with Laura Macdonald, in The Monitor, October 15, 2020. Jeff also was was a guest on Vermont Public Radio with interviewer Henry Epp on October 26. In November, Jeff was notified this of his honorary appointment of Adjunct Research Professor in the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton, effective January 10. In September, students from Jeff’s political science classes spoke by Zoom with a counterpart group from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada – Americans and Canadians trying to figure out through respectful dialogue what’s behind such dramatically different COVID responses and results in their respective countries.
(posted February 2021)

Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science faculty (also the former dean and a specialist on Canada and international politics) was a guest on Vermont Public Radio with interviewer Henry Epp on October 26, 2020. Here’s the introduction to the segment from the VPR website: “Last week, the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to nonessential travel was extended once again. The border will remain shut until at least Nov. 21. It’s been closed since late March as a measure to guard against the spread of the coronavirus. But the closure has taken a toll on families, border towns and economies that rely on cross-border traffic. So when might the border reopen? And when it does, will the long closure have any lasting impact on relations between these two countries? For more on this, VPR’s Henry Epp spoke with Jeffrey Ayres, a political science professor who focuses on North American and Canadian politics at St. Michael’s College in Colchester.

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science and former dean, was recently featured in the Saint Michael’s College news feed for his work connecting Canadian college students with his St. Mike’s class via Zoom. Read More

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science and former dean, was a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s show Vermont Edition this fall to discuss Canadian elections. Jeff is an expert on Canadian politics and is sought frequently for his insights on news from Canada. While still on a sabbatical from Saint Michael’s this fall semester as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, he was able to do Skype or phone interviews about the elections with various outlets, including reports on local Channel 22/44 the Burlington-area ABC/FOX affiliate; with Vermont Public Radio, on WAMC (Northeast Pubic Radio) in Albany, NY; on local Channel 5 (the Burlington-area NBC affiliate), on CBC Vancouver’s “On the Coast” radio program, and on Vermont radio news station WDEV in Waterbury for The Dave Gram Show. Also, a news release from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada on its website in recent months made mention of work by Jeff.
(posted February 2020)

Jeffrey Ayres recently discussed the Canadian elections on VPR:

As he has done several times in the past, Saint Michael’s College political science professor Jeffrey Ayres was a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s show Vermont Edition this week to discuss Canadian elections. Here’s the introduction posted on the VPR website: “Seven weeks. That’s the sum total of a Canadian federal election. And with just about a month to go until Canadians cast their votes, we’ll get an idea of the top issues in this election and how multiple scandals involving Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might affect the vote. Joining us to explain the Canadian election system and the concerns of voters there is Jeff Ayres, political science professor at St. Michael’s College and an expert on Canadian politics. We’ll also speak with Jonathan Montpetit, Quebec political correspondent for CBC Montreal, about what voters in the province are thinking as election day nears.”

Listen to Jeff Ayres on VPR about Canadian elections:

Jeffrey Ayres has been key in developing Saint Michael’s participation in the Freeman Foundation. Just 26 select colleges and universities around the U.S. including Saint Michael’s College had students funded by the prestigious Freeman Foundation supporting internships in Asia this summer.  Of particular note, the support from the Freeman Foundation helped 11 Saint Michael’s students participate in internships in Hong Kong this June and July as world attention became more focused on potentially historic political currents there.

“This is becoming a very vibrant and successful program, providing students with the opportunity to engage in experiential learning and to develop skills that students really need in the 21st century beyond just classroom work,” said Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science/international relations. “Our 11 Freeman students this year were living with students from other mostly much larger universities, and not just from the U.S.; a huge piece of this is the global experience, deepening their soft global citizenship skills, global engagement and also networking skills with people.”

For a full release on the Freeman Foundation internships for summer 2019, see our news page. 

Jeffrey Ayres recently led a group of students on a study trip to Wales. A press release on the website of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David gave a rich accounting of a recent study trip by a group of Saint Michael’s students to that institution. Here are excerpts: “A conference organised at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), has provided insights into how the Swansea College of Art is embedding the seven goals of the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generation Act (2015) into its teaching, research and innovation. The conference is part of a Sustainability Summer School for undergraduate students from St. Michael’s College Vermont organised by UWTSD’s Carmarthen Business School which specialises in sustainability practice within rural contexts. The relationship with St Michael’s College, Vermont was initiated by Dr Jane Davidson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for sustainability and external engagement and former Welsh Government Environment Minister. This month, 15 students and two staff members from St. Michael’s College visited UWTSD as part of their studies into an aspect of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015) for their project work, which they began studying before travelling to Wales … Saint Michael’s staff members Jeffrey Ayres and Laura Stroup said: ‘This is the third visit in four years and our goal is to deepen the exchange between St Michael’s and UWTSD around the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act as there are many synergies between Wales and Vermont …’” Ayres, who with Stroup led this recent Wales trip, reports that that faculty members from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will be visiting him and Laura in Vermont this June 25-28 “to plan what we hope is their first visit with students to Saint Michael’s next summer.”

Read full release of Wales Academic Study trip: 

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political science and the former dean, this past spring spent a week in Toronto during Spring semester 2019 for the International Studies Association annual meeting where he presented a paper entitled “Theorizing Civil Society Cooperation in the Era of ‘New Regionalisms’ in North America.”
(posted June 2019)

Jeffrey Ayres joined Vermont Public Radio‘s Vermont Edition to talk about the results of the recent provincial election in Quebec and what they mean for Canada. Ayres is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Michael’s College and an expert on Canadian politics. The introduction to that show explains: “On October 1, the province of Quebec held the general election for its legislative body – the National Assembly of Quebec. The results were historic – a seven-year-old center-right party that campaigned on limits to immigration won the most seats. That makes it the first time since the 1960s that power hasn’t been held by either the Liberals or the Parti Quebecois. There are big implications for the larger Canadian political landscape as well. Broadcast on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m. (Posted October 2018)

Jeffrey Ayres, professor of political Science and international relations, and former Dean of the College, has been informed that he will be part of a team of researchers from Canada and the U.S. provided C$290K in funding over the next five years (2018-2023) by an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).  The research project—“Transnational Civil Society Linkages in North America”—will study the evolution and character of civil society domestic and transnational linkages between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico since the early 1990s, focusing on three themes: human rights, migration and labor.  SSHRC, one of the three major federal funding agencies in Canada, supports post-secondary training and research in the humanities and social sciences.  According to the SSHRC website, the Insight program supports and fosters “excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges.” “Within the context of the recent politicization of the North American region by the Trump Administration, which has threatened alternatively to tear up NAFTA, labeled Canada a national security threat, and promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, this grant will support critically an informed analysis of the character of relationships that have developed across the North American region over the past 25 years,” said Jeffrey Ayres.  “My colleagues and I hope to develop a better understanding of the nature of cross-border cooperation and conflict in the areas of human rights, migration flows and labor rights, and ideally contribute to thoughtful public debate on the future of the region.”  (Posted August 2018)

The Associated Press story on the meeting of the New England and Easter Canadian Premiers by reporter Wilson Ring quoted Jeffrey Ayres of the Saint Michael’s political science/international relations faculty. From the start of that story, picked up by papers and broadcast agencies across the U.S.: “Some of the political leaders from the New England states and the premiers of the five eastern Canadian provinces will meet at a Vermont ski resort to talk about issues facing the region and the two countries while a bitter trade dispute simmers between Washington and Ottawa …. Participants of the 42nd Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers will discuss regional issues affecting the adjoining regions in the two countries such as energy, the environment and trade. This year’s meeting comes as the U.S., Canada and Mexico are renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trump administration officials have made snarky comments about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ‘This is a fairly unprecedented time,” said Jeffrey Ayres, a political science professor at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He specializes in U.S.-Canadian relations.” Jeff also was quoted in an August 12 report about the meeting by Vermont Public Radio reporter John Dillon. Read VPR story here: (Posted August 2018)

Jeffrey Ayres of the Political Science faculty and the former academic Dean, shared this week that he has accepted a request to serve for a three-year term on the Fulbright U.S. Student Screening Committee. The Institute of International Education (IIE) annually conducts scholarship competitions for U.S. graduate students wishing to pursue study, research or professional training abroad under the Fulbright-Hays Program sponsored by the United States Department of State and for other awards offered by foreign governments, universities and private donors. To assist in the selection of candidates, the Institute convenes this National Screening Committee (NSC) that Jeff will serve, comprising area specialists and authorities in various fields to review applications and nominate candidates to the award sponsors. Jeff’s concentration will be surrounding proposed graduate studies connected to Canada, since that nation is the main focus of his scholarship. (Posted July 2018)

Five Saint Michael’s College students learned in December that they have been awarded scholarships from the Freeman Foundation to participate in two-month professional internships in their specific fields of study in Hong Kong from June 17 to August 11, 2018. Jeffrey Ayres, former Dean and Professor of Political Science, is the faculty point person overseeing these internships and will be traveling to Hong Kong during the internship period to meet with students and help them network with alumni in the area. “We anticipate applying for another Freeman Foundation international internship grant to support ideally an expanded number of Saint Michael’s students participating in international internships in summer 2019,” Ayres said. “It is a real honor for Saint Michael’s to have been chosen as one of a small number of colleges and universities across the country to receive funding from the Freeman Foundation to support international internships for students in Asia.” The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) program provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. The goal of the program is to increase the number of U.S. citizens with professional experience in and an understanding of Asia, its people, and its cultures. Recipients of the award are required to share their experiences with their home campuses or communities upon returning in the fall in order to fulfill the program’s goal of encouraging other students to study abroad in Asian countries and increase our overall understanding of Asian cultures.  For more on Ayres visit with Saint Michael’s students in Hong Kong, see our news page. (Posted April 2018)

For the second consecutive year, Jeffrey Ayres continues to direct the Saint Michael’s Global Citizenship International Internship Program. Ayres, a Political Science Professor and former Dean of the College, is overseeing the summer 2019 program, in which eleven Saint Michael’s students are participating in professional internships in business, educational, medical and other non-profit settings in Hong Kong, China. Lasting a total of eight weeks, the internship program is generously funded by a grant from the Freeman Foundation, which supports intercultural understanding between the United States and Asia. The 11 students will serve in internships throughout the work week, participate in local cultural, historical and recreational activities sponsored by the Academic Internship Council Hong Kong representatives, and complete weekly assignments as part of an online course taught by Professor Ayres, which complements the internship experience, and for which they will be receiving Saint Michael’s academic credit.”