J.J. McMurtry, interim dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, has received the Merit Award of the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC). The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated significant contributions to teaching and research on co-operatives, both in Canada and internationally.
McMurtry was presented with the award by longtime colleague and collaborator at York, Professor Darryl Reed, at the Joint International Conference of CASC, the Association of Co-operative Educators (ACE) and the Committee on Co-operative Research of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICACCR) in Montreal on May 29.
CASC, the professional association for co-operative researchers and educators in Canada, typically holds its annual conference in conjunction with the annual Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences. CASC has close ties with the co-operative sector and incorporates into its membership practitioners from the sector and staff from apex bodies such as Co-operatives & Mutuals Canada and the provincial co-operative associations.
These sector partners collaborate closely with co-operative research institutes and educational programs at a variety of higher education institutions, including York University.
In his acceptance speech, McMurtry asserted the importance of collaboration between co-operative practitioners, educators and researchers. He also argued for the the potential fruitfulness of collaboration between the co-operative sector and higher education by emphasizing the fact that co-operatives, like universities, are democratically controlled, work for a public good and have education as a core component of their mission.
McMurtry is an associate professor of business and society in the Department of Social Science, where he has taught and done research on co-operatives and the broader social economy since his appointment in 2004. He has developed a number of courses in the Business & Society program related to the social economy (including a practicum course).
He also worked closely with the Ontario Co-operative Association and the Schulich School of Business to develop a certificate program in Co-operative Education for co-operative managers.
McMurtry has received numerous grants to fund his research and has published widely on co-operatives and the social economy. His particular areas of research interest include: renewable energy co-operatives; sustainable food co-operatives; the social economy and Indigenous communities; and the historical and theoretical foundations of co-operation and the social economy. McMurtry has served on the board of CASC and is active in a variety of international social economy organizations. He has also served on the board of several of co-operative enterprises.