Simon Woodock and Zhifeng Sun receive SFU Economics teaching awards

May 30, 2023

Every year, the Department of Economics recognizes some of its most outstanding instructors and teaching assistants for the hard work they put forward for their students. This year's Lawrence Boland Outstanding Instructor Award goes to professor Simon Woodcock while the Terry Heap's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award goes to doctoral student Finn (Zhifeng) Sun. Congratulations! 

Lawrence Boland Outstanding Instructor Award

Named in honour of award-winning instructor and retired economics professor Lawrence Boland, FRSC, the Lawrence Boland Outstanding Instructor Award recognizes the teaching achievements of continuing economics faculty.

Simon Woodcock

Following the completion of his degrees at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and UBC, Simon Woodcock went on to pursue his MA and PhD in Economics at Cornell University where he received the Prof. H.J. Davenport Excellence in Teaching Award. He joined the SFU Department of Economics in 2003. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in econometrics and labour economics, with a focus on causal inference and tools for data-intensive research.

His main teaching goal is to provide students with skills that will be useful in their future coursework and careers. He keeps class time interesting with interactive real-world examples and opportunities for students to collaborate in the lab.

Terry Heaps Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

The Terry Heaps Outstanding Teaching Assistant (TA) Award recognizes those who go above and beyond when it comes to supporting students and faculty. 

Zhifeng (Finn) Sun

Finn Sun joined the SFU Department of Economics as a PhD student in 2018. His fields of interest are development and cultural economics. He taught ECON 325: Industrial Organization as an instructor and has worked as a TA in a variety of courses. He has been learning and striving to create a sense of community in the classroom and an environment where students feel comfortable, engaged, and supported.

Finn believes that this sense of connection and belonging is just as essential to the learning experience as the course material itself. When students feel connected, they feel more enthusiastic about sharing their unique thoughts, perspectives and experiences which creates a diverse and inclusive environment for everyone to learn from. This approach to teaching has earned him great reviews from his students.