James Struthers

Canadian Studies/ History

Teaching Awards:

  • Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation (2009-10)

Prof. Struthers has been a part of Trent’s faculty since 1977. He started teaching in the Department of Canadian Studies as a Lecturer in July 1977 and was hired as an Assistant Professor in July 1978. He has held the position of Full Professor since 1990. Prof. Struthers is also cross-appointed to the Department of History and affiliated with the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies.

At present, Prof. Struthers teaches “Empire Ontario: 1867-1945” (a second-year course), “Ontario since 1945: from the ‘Common Good’ to ‘Common Sense’ (a second-year course), “Studies in Canadian Social Policy” (a fourth-year course), and “Policy, Economy and Society: Themes in the State and Political Economy of Canada” (a graduate seminar). 

The Award for Educational Leadership and Innovation recognizes the sustained contributions of Prof. Struthers in "helping to establish Trent’s reputation for interdisciplinary teaching." The nominators describe his “models of imaginative and creative pedagogy,” and how “his courses were (and remain) templates for success,” as they “reveal an understanding of how we can reach beyond the conventions and restrictions of the disciplines while still accepting their value.” 

In response to hearing the news of the award recognizing her colleague, Prof. Sally Chivers, the Chair of the Canadian Studies Program, commented: "Students describe Jim Struthers as an “unsung hero” and as “Trent’s best kept pedagogical secret.” Jim’s colleagues will be delighted that the secret is out because we’ve all benefited from his generosity, wisdom, and calm guidance. He has been a stalwart resource for the junior members of the Canadian Studies department who continually learn from his example and his sought after advice. He has an uncanny ability to know when to lead and when to step aside, both in the classroom and in developing opportunities for new faculty members. His students rave about his courses, always eager to impress him."

Prof. Struthers is also described as a “citizen of the university” – one who is “fully engaged in the organic processes that drive our institution”. He has held many administrative posts, including Director to the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies & Indigenous Studies (2006-2009), Chair of the Canadian Studies Program (1999-2005), and President of the Trent University Faculty Association (1987-1988). Through these administrative posts, and through his daily interaction with faculty colleagues, staff and graduate students, Prof. Struthers is also recognized for his "quiet commitment to facilitating the achievement of his peers." 

Another area of recognition comes from his efforts to help “introduce the marriage of student learning with the needs of the community" through his involvement with the Trent Centre for Community Based Education both as one of the founding members, and as a member of its management committee (1996-2002). 

In response to receiving this award recognition, Prof. Struthers commented: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this award. I am also immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to be inspired by so many outstanding teachers during my 33 years at Trent University, and to have encountered so many remarkable students. Trent has been an ideal setting to communicate and integrate the joys of teaching and research.”

An active researcher in the history of Canadian social policy, Prof. Struthers has written books on Canada’s response to unemployment between the two world wars, and on the history of welfare in Ontario between1920-1970. His most recent research is on Canada’s response to again, from World War 2 to the present. He has also held the posts of Co-editor for The Canadian Historical Review (1998-2001) and Associate editor for the Journal of Canadian Studies (1984-1987). In 2008, he received the Trent University Distinguished Research Award.

Prof. Struthers received his M.A. from Carleton University and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.