Communications professor Adel Iskandar embraces storytelling and active dialogue

March 05, 2020

Adel Iskandar is a passionate educator who aspires to create an engaging environment in his classroom. His dedication to teaching and supporting students have earned him a 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award.

An assistant professor in the School of Communication, Iskandar was formerly the director of the Global Communication Double Degree MA (GCMA) program where he taught for several years courses that tackle global communication’s relationship to justice and equality.

“Teaching is organic, it is connected to the elements of the lives we lead,” says Iskandar. “I’ve taught for 20 years now, and it has made me more interested in rendering class material where students can see themselves in it.”

Director of SFU’s School of Communication Jan Marontate says, “Adel’s kind engagement with students enhances their experience of teaching and research and is a fine example of the way professors can encourage learning.”

Iskandar also considers every student capable of excelling. “Teaching is about mentorship and as long as you inspire students and support students through the journey, they can excel,” says Iskandar.

In addition to his excellent teaching evaluations, students who contributed to Iskandar’s nomination singled out his unique lecture style and willingness to mentor and support students.

“Adel’s lectures are notable for their casual, relaxed atmospheres with active dialogue between students and himself,” says one student. “He encourages students to speak up and share their experiences which adds richness to the discussion.”

Creating a space for discussion and storytelling is one of the strategies Iskandar brings to the classroom.

“Typically, I don’t bring a lot of slides to class. I bring stories about the material, students will never forget the stories– stories are where all knowledge is embedded,” says Iskandar.

Iskandar was humbled and thankful to receive the Excellence in Teaching award and says it is the greatest compliment.

“Being acknowledged by students and my peers is the highest possible accolade,” says Iskandar. The award tells me my peers value this kind of contribution to learning, knowledge that is grassroots based. It inspires me to continue what I’m doing and explore new ways to make education more decolonial, participatory, and empowering for all.”