University of Lethbridge Appoints Leading Demographics Expert to Prentice Institute

Monday, April 20, 2009

The University of Lethbridge, with the support of the Board of Directors of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy, has appointed internationally-recognized sociology researcher and demographics expert Dr. Susan McDaniel as its Director.

The Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy is a unique research institute housed at the University of Lethbridge and founded to promote the research of big-picture issues relating to global population change and demographics, among other topics.

“The Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy was established in late 2006 when John Prentice, a Calmar, AB, based agri-business entrepreneur, with his wife, Connie, donated $8.25 million to the U of L. This is the largest private philanthropic gift the U of L has received in its more than 40-year history,” said Dr. Andy Hakin, the U of L’s Vice-President Academic and Provost.

“Dr. McDaniel is our first Endowed Chair from the Prentice Institute’s investment and is the realization of the Prentice family’s desire to develop the Institute as a world leader in global population research,” Hakin said.

“Her appointment shows that the U of L is maturing as a leading comprehensive research university. Dr. McDaniel will be attracting people and resources to the Institute that will have direct benefits for our undergraduate and graduate teaching programs, research and community outreach.”

McDaniel is a former Alberta resident who was most recently a senior scholar at the Institute of Public and International Affairs and Professor of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah.

She joins the University of Lethbridge formally on July 1, 2009 as a Professor in the Department of Sociology in addition to her five-year appointment as Prentice Institute Director.

In addition to being heavily involved in research, graduate education and research leadership as Director of the Prentice Institute, Dr. McDaniel will also contribute to the undergraduate teaching program at the University

“The pull for me to consider this position as the Director of the Prentice Institute is that our research focus will be global,” Dr. Susan McDaniel said. “I welcome the opportunity to conduct collaborative research with colleagues on campus and also plan to attract masters, doctoral and post-doctoral level researchers to Lethbridge to explore the key themes of the Prentice Institute.”

McDaniel added that she plans to engage the local and regional community in projects which help explain the Institutes purpose and the relevance of the research that the Institute will be conducting.

McDaniel’s extensive research, publishing and teaching record reflects her varied interests and research on demographic aging, generational relations, family change and the social impacts of technology.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the recipient of many research and teaching awards, including the University Cup by the University of Alberta for an outstanding record of excellence in both research and teaching.

“Dr. McDaniel’s appointment is one which we are very excited about since it is consistent with the overall scope of increasing our social sciences and humanities research on what we expect to become a global scale,” said Dr. Christopher Nicol, and economics researchers and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“The Prentice Institute enhances the University’s position as a comprehensive research University and allows us to further broaden our research effort. Dr. McDaniel is an internationally-respected sociologist. We look forward to having her as a colleague to a number of academic departments and faculties on campus, as she settles into her new role.”

In addition to the University of Alberta, Dr. McDaniel’s previous academic appointments have included the Universities of Waterloo and Windsor, ON, where she served as the Vice-President, Research.

McDaniel is a respected demographer whose research has involved the aging workforce and social policy surrounding pensions and gender issues.

Intent on seeing how individual actions connect to create social structure, McDaniel, while at the University of Alberta, developed groundbreaking analytical frameworks that quantify society's hidden dimensions: everything from illegal abortions to the contributions of women inventors.

She has published a four-book collection “Ageing” (SAGE Publishing) that examines ageing through the lenses of anthropology, sociology, feminism and cultural studies, amongst others.

Active in public service and policy-advising with the federal and provincial governments, McDaniel was appointed by the Chief Statistician of Canada to the 2001 Census Communications Committee. As part of that role she researched the collection of data pertinent to science and technology within a social context – a system now used by many other countries world-wide.

She is a member of the National Statistics Council of Canada and an expert advisor to the federal, provincial and territorial governments' task force on Implications of an Aging Society, and is a sought-after expert by governments world-wide, including the Russian and United States governments, which have been introduced to her framework to measure, among other things, levels of productivity and innovation.

McDaniel has also served as President of both the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (now the Canadian Sociology Association) and the Canadian Population Society, as well as Vice–President Publications of the International Sociological Association.

She serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Canadian Council of Academies. She has been Editor of both The Canadian Journal of Sociology, and Current Sociology, and serves on the editorial boards of eight journals. She also is Co–Editor, with Lorne Tepperman, of the Oxford University Press Sociology book series.

Her current research is on life course as a policy tool, on the relationship of growing inequalities to health risks and quality of later life, and on social aspects of innovation in university contexts.

About the Prentice Institute

In late 2006, John Prentice, a Calmar, AB, based agri-business entrepreneur, and his wife, Connie, donated $8.25 million to the U of L. This is the largest private philanthropic gift the U of L has received in its 40-year history. Their generous gift established the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy.

The multi-disciplinary, cross-faculty institute will research big-picture issues relating to global population change, demographics, and economic factors as they relate to global population change, including the long-term challenges of the cluster of demographic, economic and social issues related to changes in world population patterns.

By recruiting world-class social scientists such as Dr. Susan McDaniel to work on these issues, the institute will contribute to the development of policy options to guide Canadians and their governments. It will cooperate with other researchers in Canada and elsewhere to address some of the most difficult challenges of the next generation.

Our understanding of the dynamics of the economy is slowly improving. Standards of living have risen in the developed world because of technological innovation. The fluctuations that cause “boom and bust” cycles have been managed better in recent decades. Nevertheless, we probably do not know how to manage the consequences of the coming demographic changes. To provide individuals, businesses and governments with useful advice and options will require much greater understanding than we now have.

Additional information about the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy is available at this website.

The Prentice Institute website (some elements are still under construction)

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