Susan Prentice

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Susan Prentice Ph.D. Professor 
Twitter: @susanprentice

Ph.D. (York University), MES (York University) BA (University of Toronto)

My research program begins with my concerns about social inequality and social change, and my interests in public policy and systemic discrimination. I work in two broad areas of scholarship, each of which I undertake with a critical focus on gender relations. I am trained as an historical sociologist, and so bring an historical as well as a sociological imagination to my work.

My primary specialization is contemporary and historical childcare policy and advocacy. Childcare policy and practice reveals how gender, family, work, care, and social policy are organized, as well as how market forces operate and how social movements seek to make change. My secondary arena of specialization is higher education, where I am keen to understand how formally neutral institutions co-exist with inequality and marginalization.
My research program has recently turned to European policy debates and social movement struggles to promote and defend work-family reconciliation in hard economic times. In 2018,  I was a Fellow at the University of Uppsala’s Forum for Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice, in Sweden and Professeure invitée at the CNRS Laboratoire d’économie et de sociologie du travail (LEST) at the Université Aix-Marseille in France. I am working hard to improve my French, and currently hold the DALF C1.

Public Sociology
I practice public sociology and work closely with social movements. I believe community-university collaboration is a site of exciting scholarship and knowledge generation. I actively work on knowledge mobilization oriented to popular audiences, social movements, elected officials, decision makers and the media.

I am a member of:

• Research affiliate at Mamawipawin and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

• Child Care Coalition of Manitoba.

• Table de recherche, Coalition francophone de la petite enfance du Manitoba

• Advisory Board, International Centre for the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC), University of East London

I also work closely with national childcare advocacy groups and campaigns, and regularly collaborate with trade unions. In 2015, I was one of the founders of Moving Childcare Forward: Research, Policy, Action ( ).


My recent undergraduate teaching includes Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1200), Family (SOC 2460), “Historical and Qualitative Research Methods” (SOC 3820), and the Honours Seminar (SOC 4450). My graduate teaching has recently focused on public sociology. 

I enjoy working with Honours and Graduate students inside and outside Sociology. I have worked with MA and PhD students in Anthropology, Applied Health Sciences, City Planning, Community Health Sciences, Computer Science, Economics, Education, English, Family Social Studies, History, Individualized Inter-disciplinary Studies, Marketing (Asper School), Political Studies, Rural Studies, and Social Work, as well as Sociology.

Recent Funded Research Projects

“Caring about Care: An Examination of Care in Canadian Childcare.” 2016 – 2019. SSHRC Insight Grant. Amount $127,521. This project is led by Rachel Langford (Ryerson University) and includes Patrizia Albanese (Ryerson University) and Kate Bezanson (Brock University), building on our previously SSHRC-funded work on childcare and social movement organizing.

"Systemic Discrimination and Sex-Based Salary Gaps at Canadian Universities." 2017-2018. UMSSHRC Research Grants Program, in collaboration with Elizabeth Troutt (Economics, U of Mb) and Laura Brown (Economics, U of Mb). $6,944.

 “Early Childhood Education and Care In Canada: Knowledge Transfer and Mobilization. SSHRC Connections Grant. This one-year project was a collaboration with Donna Lero (University of Guelph) and Martha Friendly (Childcare Resource and Research Unit). You can read about this project at

 “Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender And Generational Justice: Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender And Generational Justice Across Canadian and European Social Movements and Policy.” This project, on which I was principal investigator ended in 2015 and was funded by SSHRC.

“Investigating Professionalism as a Canadian Child Care Movement Strategy in an Era of Neoliberalism.” A 2011 – 2015 project, funded by SSHRC, with Rachel Langford (PI, Ryerson) and Patrizia Albanese (Ryerson.)

“FemNorthNet: Learning From Women's Experiences Of Community Transformations as a Result of Economic Restructuring.” A five-year (2010 - 2015) SSHRC Northern Communities CURA project. Jane Stinson, of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, led the large research team of community and university-based researchers. I worked with the Thompson community team as the academic coordinator and I co-led the social infrastructure research theme with Teresa Healy.

Selected Recent Publications

Prentice, Susan (2019). Childcare: Working in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In Leslie Nichols (Ed.) Working Women in Canada: An Intersectional Approach. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Susan Prentice and Linda White. (2018). Childcare Deserts and Distributional Disadvantages: The Legacies of Split Childcare Policies and Programs in Canada. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. Vol 35, no. 1. Pp. 59 - 74.

Langford, Rachel, Susan Prentice and Patrizia Albanese, Eds. (2017). Caring for Children: Social Movements and Public Policy in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

White, Linda A. and Susan Prentice (2016). “Early Childhood Education and Child Care Reform in Canadian Provinces: Understanding the Role of Experts and Evidence in Policy Change.” Canadian Public Administration. 59(1): 26 - 44.

Langford, Rachel, Susan Prentice, Brooke Richardson, and Patrizia Albanese. (2016). Conflictual and Cooperative Childcare Politics in Canada. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy. 10(1). January: 1-20. DOI: 10.1186/s40723-016-0017-3

Prentice, Susan. (2016). “Childcare and the Manitoba Election.” In Karine Levasseur, Andrea Rounce, Barry Ferguson and Royce Koop, (Eds). Understanding the Manitoba Election: Campaigns, Participation, Issues, Place. (pp. 34 – 37). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Prentice, S., L. White and M. Friendly. (2016). Beyond Baby Steps: Planning for a National Childcare System. Policy Options. Ottawa (July 19). Available at

Prentice, Susan (2016, July). Leading Childcare Policy Change: Childcare Commission Lessons from Canada. Journal of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders. Vol. 38 (2), pp. 10 - 13.

Prentice, Susan & Evelyn Ferguson. (2015). Early Childhood Care and Education in Manitoba: A Population Health Initiative?  In L. Fernandez, S. MacKinnon, & J. Silver (Eds.), The Social Determinants of Health in Manitoba, (2nd ed.), pp. 127 - 146 Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

White, L., S. Prentice and M. Perlman. (2015). The Evidence Base for Early Childhood Education and Care Program Investment: What We Know, What We Don’t Know. Evidence and Policy. 11(4) November: 529 – 546

Pasolli, Lisa and Susan Prentice, (2015). “Reflect, Regroup, Renew: The Evolution of the Childcare Debate(s) in Canada, Our Schools/Our Selves, 24(4), 25 – 33.

Prentice, S. (2014). Reflections on The Theory and Practice of Teaching Public Sociology. In Schneider, C. and A. Hanemaayer (Eds), Public Sociology and Ethics: Knowledge, Pedagogy, and Society. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Langford, R., P. Albanese, S. Prentice. (2013). Early Childhood Education Professionalization as an Advocacy Strategy: A Content Analysis of Canadian Child Care Social Movement Organizations’ 2008 Discursive Resources. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development. 33(3), 302 – 317.

Kruk, R., S. Prentice, & K. Moen. (2013). Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and Reading Acquisition in At-Risk Readers: Does Quantity Matter? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. 45(1), 49 - 63.

White, L., & Prentice, S. (2013). When the Evidence Doesn’t Matter: Evidence–Based Policy–Making and Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In S. Young (Ed.), Evidence–Based Policy–Making in Canada: A Multidisciplinary Look at How Evidence and Knowledge Shape Canadian Public Policy. (pp. 91 – 177): University of Toronto Press.

Warner, M., & S. Prentice. (2012). Regional Economic Development and Child Care Toward Social Rights. Journal of Urban Affairs. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9906.2012.00622.x

Friendly, M., & S. Prentice. (2012). Provision, Policy and Politics in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In N. Howe & L. Prochner (Eds.), Recent Perspectives in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada (pp. 50 - 79). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Recent Public Sociology, Social Media and Knowledge Dissemination – Selected

Prentice, Susan (2019, February 13), “Daycare Should Be Affordable to All,” Winnipeg Free Press,

Prentice, Susan (2018, March 31). “Ontario has reshaped the national child care debate.” Globe and Mail. (National edition.)

Friendly, Martha, Susan Prentice, and Morna Ballantyne (2018, March 8). No Equality Without Universal Childcare. Policy Options. IRPP.

Prentice, Susan (2016, December 22). Fast Facts: How to Really Help Manitoba Families: Build a Universal Childcare System. CCPA Fast Facts.
 Reprinted on CCPA Blog:

Prentice, Susan (2016, December 22). Comprehensive Daycare Strategy Crucial. Winnipeg Free Press, A 10.

Prentice, S., L. White and M. Friendly. (2016). Beyond Baby Steps: Planning for a National Childcare System. Policy Options. Ottawa (July 19). Available at

Prentice, Susan (2016, April 18). Tories’ Disappointing Plan for Child Care. Winnipeg Free Press, A 10.

White, Linda and Susan Prentice (2016, April 14). “Early Childhood Education and Care Reform in Canadian Provinces: Understanding the Role of Experts and Evidence in Policy Change.” Edmonton Regional Group of the Institute of Public Administration Canada (IPAC) – IPAC Impact blog. Available at

Recent Invited and Keynote Addresses

Prentice, S. 2018 (November 19), “Les nouvelles formes de ‘partenariat public-privé’ dans l'accueil des jeunes enfants: Des liaisons dangereuses.” Quelles transformations dans les établissements d’accueil des jeunes enfants, 15 ans après l’ouverture au secteur marchand? Journée d’étude. Marseilles, France.

Prentice, S. (May, 2017). “Advocacy Adventures,” Presented to the Alberta Early Childhood Education Association Leaders’ Day, Calgary, AB.

Prentice, S. (July, 2016) “Leading Childcare Policy Change: Lessons from Canada.” Early Childhood Conference: Leading in the Early Years in a New Era, organized by the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. Brisbane, Australia.

Prentice, S. (April, 2016). “Les service de gardes et l’éducation post-secondaire.” Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) – Manitoba. Keynote address to Journée du savoir, l’Université de Saint-Boniface, MB.

Last updated May 2019.