Q&A Series with Lecturer Danielle Murdoch

October 08, 2020

By Adhil Naidu

Dr. Danielle Murdoch is a Lecturer in the School of Criminology. She teaches a variety of undergraduate classes: introduction to the criminal justice system, women and justice, introduction to corrections, correctional practice, and decision-making in criminal justice. Danielle was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Lesley B. Cormack Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I knew from the age of 10 that I wanted to study criminology at SFU, but I planned to pursue a law degree rather than graduate degrees after completing my BA. My career path changed when I took Dr. Curt Griffiths’ Introduction to Corrections class. He arranged tours of prisons in Washington State and we had the opportunity to speak with individuals in custody who were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for offences they committed as juveniles. After these tours, Dr. Griffiths and I talked about my aspirations to become a lawyer and he put the seed in my head that I might want to consider graduate school instead of law school. Fast forward two graduate degrees, an internship with the United Nations, an academic job in a different country, some wrinkles and gray hair later, and I am back at home as teaching faculty in the School of Criminology.

What current research are you working on?

I’m collecting data for my Disrupting Colonialism through Teaching project. This research examines how students apply Indigenous literature and scholarship to their assignments and the extent to which students believe the course resources were effective for enhancing their understanding of how colonialism contributes to the involvement of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian criminal justice system. The project also explores how students anticipate their examination of colonialism, unconscious/implicit biases, and overt and systemic racism in the course will affect how they behave in their future careers.

What classes are you teaching in Fall?

CRIM 241: Introduction to Corrections
CRIM 343: Correctional Practice
CRIM 410: Decision-making in Criminal Justice

What do you most enjoy about working at the School of Criminology?

The adventures I’ve experienced and the accomplishments I’ve achieved to date have been shaped largely by the mentors I had as I pursued my undergraduate and doctoral degrees at SFU. Giving back to the School by connecting with my students and contributing to the wider university community is by far the best part of my job (although my colleagues make my job pretty amazing, too!).  

What do you enjoy most about your students/teaching?

I enjoy engaging in challenging conversations with my students, seeing their growth from week one through week 13, and receiving feedback from my students that my courses have shaped their own career and/or educational pursuits.

What advice do you have for students to be successful in your class?

First, ask questions! Take advantage of my ‘virtual open door policy’ – email me or drop by my Zoom student hours.

Second, engage with, and support, your peers! Many of your lifelong friends will be the ones you connect with at university.

Get in touch with Danielle Murdoch:

Phone: 778-782-4205
Email: dmurdoch@sfu.ca

Burnaby Office: Saywell Hall 10221