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Jeremy Brown

SFU Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

This post is reprinted from the SFU News blog, which has been archived.

February 27, 2018

By Joanna Robinson and Tammy Theis

History professor Jeremy Brown's exceptional teaching methods, which not only impart knowledge but also strive to promote equity, diversity and inclusion, have earned him a 2017 SFU Excellence in Teaching Award.

Brown describes his teaching philosophy as “openly striving for, learning about, and debating diversity and inclusion through experiential learning.”

As an historian of modern China, his courses frequently attract international students from China. To help foster their class involvement he designs assignments, such as family history essays, that encourage all of his students to recognize economic, ethnic and linguistic diversity inside and outside of China. This assignment also encourages international students to connect with domestic students by facilitating discussions comparing how parents and grandparents experienced historical changes, whether inside or outside of China.

Another popular assignment involves writing about a Chinese topic for Wikipedia. This exercise teaches students how to write about recent history while also engaging a massive online audience.

He encourages students to use sources written in their native language, in addition to using English language sources. As well, he frequently invites leading Chinese scholars to share their knowledge and experiences with his students.

“I learn as much from my graduate students as they learn from me,” says Brown. “Rather than insisting that they choose topics related to my own ongoing research, I give them room to develop their own interests in modern Chinese history, and I learn alongside them.”

In 2013, Brown's teaching prowess was recognized with the Cormack Award for Teaching Excellence, bestowed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The award recognizes excellent and innovative teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.