Brock labour expert receives national honour

Canada’s top academic body has elected Brock University labour expert Kendra Coulter into its College for emerging intellectual leaders across the country.

Coulter is one of 70 scholars chosen by their peers to be a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

“It’s an honour to have my scholarship recognized by Canada’s premier academic society, particularly since the inductees are selected from across disciplines,” Coulter said after the news was announced by the RSC Tuesday, Sept. 12. “I hope a distinction like this will inspire students and other scholars to be bold and generative in their own work, particularly young women.”

University President Gervan Fearon said Brock is elated by the news, and extended warm congratulations to Coulter.

“Brock is extremely proud of Dr. Coulter’s accomplishments,” Fearon said. “Kendra has established a reputation across Canada and around the world for insightful and groundbreaking work. It is a well-deserved honour for her to be in this prestigious body of some of Canada’s very best scholars. It speaks well about the calibre of outstanding scholars at Brock.”

Coulter, an associate professor in the Department of Labour Studies, has carved out a global reputation for her analyses of animals and labour, and is at the forefront of reshaping how we think about other species, as well as human-animal relations.

Her research on gender and labour, particularly in the retail sector, has also garnered national and international attention.

Of particular note are her first-of-its-kind study of animal cruelty investigators and their work in Ontario, and her gender wage gap report focused on retail workers in Ontario.

Some of Coulter’s work can be found on her website, Revolutionizing Retail, which is also the title of her book that captured the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies 2015 Book Prize.

Her latest project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is developing the revolutionary concept of humane jobs — jobs that are beneficial to both people and animals.

Coulter supports student learning and experiences in this area through the Promise Prize for Top Achievement in the Study of Animals at Work and the Humane Jobs MA Fellowships.

“The College (of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists) is a unique institution that is able to respond to the challenges of today through broad creativity and innovation, cutting across the traditional divisions of sciences, social sciences, arts and the humanities as well as across the diverse linguistic and cultural map of Canadian institutions of higher learning and beyond,” said College President Cynthia Milton. “The incoming cohort reflects this vision of engaged knowledge for the social good.”

Coulter said her election into the College has reaffirmed her “commitment to innovative and ambitious intellectual contributions.

“My scholarship helps us better understand the realities of work, but is also about possibilities and about how work-lives and our multi-species societies could become more just and ethical. I am relishing this recognition, while also thinking ahead.”

The RSC will honour Coulter and the other inductees at a ceremony in Winnipeg in November.   

The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists has three goals:

  • to provide a forum for highly talented individuals to collaborate across disciplines and thereby to create new synergies in Canadian intellectual life
  • to capture and celebrate the rapidly evolving intellectual landscape of Canada, which now embraces a diversity of disciplines, languages, cultures and ethnicities unimagined when the Royal Society of Canada was founded
  • and to recognize and promote emerging Canadian scholars, artists and scientists at national and international levels

The Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada was established in 1882 as the senior Canadian collegium of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. The primary objective of the society is to promote learning and research in the arts, the humanities and the natural and social sciences.

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