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Tiffany Muller Myrdahl wins SFU Excellence in Teaching Award
Tiffany Muller Myrdahl, a senior lecturer in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS) and the Urban Studies Program, has received an SFU Excellence in Teaching Award for 2021. In both programs, Muller Myrdahl has been described as the heart and soul of the teaching team.
Having a foot in two different, interdisciplinary programs with two demographics of students requires a flexible approach to teaching. While GSWS tends to serve a traditional complement of undergraduate and graduate students, Urban Studies tends to attract people to graduate studies who already have their career underway.
Muller Myrdahl joined the SFU faculty as a permanent instructor in 2018. In a short time she has designed and taught a diverse slate of courses ranging from graduate research methods to “Sex and the City”, a lower division course which offers many students their first exposure to issues on gender and sexuality.
“One dimension to Tiffany’s approach in the classroom that recommends her for this award: she is authentically chill, and students thrive in part just from being in her orbit,” says Meg Holden, Director of the Urban Studies Program. “This trait in particular has shone through in Tiffany’s response to teaching during the pandemic. Across the wide diversity of courses and settings in her teaching portfolio, online as well as in person, Tiffany’s insistence upon passion, empowerment and social justice is a constant.”
Muller Myrdahl’s pedagogy is informed by interdisciplinary research, community outreach and professional engagement. As an educator whose interests extend beyond the classroom, she adeptly finds ways for students to incorporate complex information into meaningful research with the community that gives them opportunities to gain experience and expertise.
When Muller Myrdahl began her term as a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Teaching Fellow in January 2020, she wanted to find ways to improve students’ resilience in dealing with the stresses of university life. This role has taken on even more significance since COVID-19 caused a year of Zoom and gloom. Alongside the other FASS teaching fellows and staff at FASS Arts Central, Muller Myrdahl is focused on how students are coping with online learning during the pandemic and feeding their messages back to her colleagues.
Muller Myrdahl was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award by her Urban Studies and GSWS graduate students who wrote:
“It is important to us that SFU recognize instructors whose impact is so far reaching that, when we say to our classmates, our students, our colleagues, ‘There’s this incredible instructor …’ they respond warmly, ‘Oh, Tiffany! She’s amazing.’ We think so, too.”