Professor of English. Professor McDougall taught at Carleton University from 1957 to 1983.
Born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Economics and Political Science from the University of British Columbia. In 1940, he received his Academic Certificate from the Department of Education at the University of British Columbia. From 1941 to 1945, McDougall served overseas with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and saw action in Sicily and Holland. Upon returning to Canada in 1946, he taught Veterans classes at the University of British Columbia. In 1946, McDougall enrolled in the Masters program at the University of Toronto and graduated with an M.A. in Canadian Literature in 1948. Dr. McDougall obtained his Ph.D. in Canadian Literature from the University of Toronto. After graduation, Dr. McDougall joined the teaching staff at University College, University of Toronto.
In 1957, he joined the English Department at Carleton University. Dr. McDougall established the Institute of Canadian Studies and served as Director until 1967. During this time, he served as the General Editor of the Carleton Library Series, working in conjunction with J.G. McClelland of McClelland and Stewart Publishing Company, reprinting Canadian works.
Dr. McDougall participated in the many dimensions of University life. He served on numerous committees including the Ph.D. Committee for the English Department. He also served as an External Examiner for Ph.D. theses and oral examinations at other universities. He was also on several other committees such as the Governor General's Award Committee. Dr. McDougall also served as a member of Carleton University's Senate. A founding member of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, Dr. McDougall held the post of International Chairman of the Association from 1968 to 1971. He also served as an editorial advisor for the periodical, Australian Literary Studies from 1966 to 1984. Throughout his career, Dr. McDougall lectured on Canadian writing in Australia, India, Great Britain and the United States. Dr. McDougall has contributed short articles and book reviews to various periodicals such as the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, the Ottawa Citizen and Queen's Quarterly. In 1964, he co-authored a book with Robin Harris called The Undergraduate Essay. He also wrote several other books, including The Poet and the Critic, correspondence between E.K. Brown and Duncan Campbell Scott (1985), Totems: essays on the cultural history of Canada (1990) and A Narrative of War (1996).
In 1983, colleagues and family endowed the R.L. McDougall Award in recognition of his 25 years of service in the Department of English. He retired from Carleton University in 1983. Dr. McDougall received an honorary Degree (Doctor of Literature honoris causa) from Carleton University in 1988. Dr. McDougall passed away in 2000 at the age of 82. In 2002 the Robert McDougall Scholarship was established, given to a graduating student that, "is willing to break new ground in order to contribute to the intellectual and cultural history of Canada".