March 09, 2023

2022 Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Passionate, thoughtful and inclusive are the top words used to describe this year's 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award winners.

Physics professor Nancy Forde, computing science lecturer Brian Fraser and criminology lecturer Danielle Murdoch are being recognized with the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Awards, SFU’s highest recognition for teaching. 

We are also pleased to share the winners of new awards recognizing teachers at different career stages and for specific kinds of teaching—introduced as part of SFU's new policy for teaching awards. 

Psychology professor Yuthika Girme, geography lecturer Leanne Roderick and physics lecturer Joanna Woo are being recognized with the newly launched Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching.

As well, sociology and anthropology lecturer Amanda Watson is being recognized with the 2022 Excellence in the Online or Blended Environment Award and biomedical, physiology and kinesiology/Centre for Dialogue professor Diane Finegood with the 2022 Community Engaged or Experiential Education Award.

Nancy Forde, Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science2022 Excellence in Teaching Award

Nancy Forde is well-known across SFU and in the broader physics community as a student-centred, dedicated teacher who has received many teaching recognitions, including the 2021 Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching award. Outside the classroom, she leads the development of the biological physics program and biophysics research at the Forde Lab.

Forde takes pride in her students’ successes and generously shares her knowledge with colleagues. She values just-in-time teaching, thoughtful assessment and constant improvement of her courses. To make physics topics more accessible and engaging, Forde strives to adapt her teaching style to meet the needs of each student. She looks forward to inspiring and supporting many generations of students to achieve their dreams.

Read more about Forde here.

Brian Fraser, Senior Lecturer, School of Computing Science, Faculty of Applied Science2022 Excellence in Teaching Award

For Brian Fraser, teaching computing science means taking a collaborative and inclusive approach. His dedication to stimulating students to think critically and succeed beyond the classroom has earned him this prestigious award.

Fraser knows that spending extra time making a great lesson plan benefits his students. He finds it rewarding to see students apply new ideas in their work and translate their work into new skills.

He currently leads four community-focused projects that have been running for several semesters. The projects are for non-profit organizations in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Haiti and the UK. Students in the software systems program contribute to these projects.

To learn more, read the full story on the School of Computing Science's website.

Danielle Murdoch, Senior Lecturer, School of Criminology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences2022 Excellence in Teaching Award

Danielle Murdoch is known for her passion and commitment to excellence in teaching, and the care and kindness she brings to her classrooms. 

She has taught a variety of online and in-person undergraduate courses and supervised graduate student directed readings courses since joining the School of Criminology as a lecturer in 2016. Students appreciate Murdoch’s compassion, focus on well-being and ability to foster an inclusive learning environment where they are encouraged to think critically and explore connections between course content and the real-world.

Murdoch has dedicated the most recent years of her career to unlearning and learning by way of participation in various decolonizing teaching and anti-racism series and workshops–leading to changes in her class content and design. She is committed to ongoing education and growth.

To learn more, read the full story on the School of Criminology's website.

Yuthika Girme, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences | 2022 Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching

Yuthika Girme leads the SECURE Lab, where her research team examines how to foster security and wellbeing among single and coupled people.

Girme is a dedicated and passionate teacher who has previously won teaching awards at the departmental and faculty levels, including the Barry Beyerstein Teaching Award (2018) and the Cormack Teaching Award (2021). She uses diverse and inclusive teaching methods to help make her classes engaging for students, such as utilizing mastery learning, class-based studies, student-led assignments and an educational podcast (“Merlot with my Beau”).

Girme is motivated to help her students develop their critical thinking and application skills, feel passionate about their education, and empowered about their own abilities.

To learn more, read the full story on the Department of Psychology's website.

Leanne Roderick, Lecturer, Department of Geography, Faculty of Environment — 2022 Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching

Students and colleagues recognize geography lecturer Leanne Roderick as a thoughtful, collaborative, and engaged teacher who isn't afraid to implement new approaches to learning. Roderick’s commitment to personal growth and her responsiveness to the needs of students are key to her success. From piloting a labour-based grading system that values the effort put into a course rather than the quality of the outcome, to decolonizing curriculum, Roderick is innovating the ways students learn.

Roderick's work centers on the urban scale as a site of economic and social power and change. Her wide range of teaching and research interests include surveillance and the city, urban technological innovation and inequality, feminist political economy, and more. Her courses encourage critical thinking and advance understandings of urban spaces and policy that are political, historical, and cognizant of power relations.

To learn more, read the full story on the Department of Geography's website.

Joanna Woo, Lecturer, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science — 2022 Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching

Joanna Woo is an outstanding lecturer and outreach enthusiast known for Starry Nights, SFU’s weekly star parties. She constantly challenges herself and experiments with new ideas to deliver the best learning experience for her students.

In her newly created course, PHYS 391 Observational Astrophysics, Woo incorporates the use of the SFU Trottier Observatory, which she also manages.   

In addition to improving her teaching and sharing her knowledge and expertise, Woo optimizes the use of technology to innovate the teaching and learning of astrophysics. For example, she is experimenting with different teaching approaches to address student skill differences. Woo also emphasizes promoting inclusion and diversity in her typically male-dominated field.

To learn more, read the full story on the Department of Physics’ website.

Amanda Watson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences2022 Excellence in the Online or Blended Environment Award

Amanda Watson is recognized for thoughtfully and thoroughly adapting her teaching approach to the blended learning modality and for her leadership in sharing her experiences with the SFU teaching community.

Watson is deeply committed to leveraging blended learning to increase accessibility and enhance inclusion, particularly for neurologically diverse students.

Her research interests include care, labour, social reproduction, disability, climate crisis, media representation of maternal labour and identity, and feminist pedagogy. Her book, The Juggling Mother: Coming Undone in the Age of Anxiety, was published by UBC Press in 2020.

Watson’s work also appears in International Journal of Feminist Politics, Studies for Social Justice, NYU Press, Oxford, and Demeter. She regularly contributes to national media on topics related to her research.

To learn more, read the full story on the Department of Sociology & Anthropology's website.

Diane Finegood, Professor, Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology/Centre for Dialogue, Faculty of Science2022 Community Engaged or Experiential Education Award

Diane Finegood has been a faculty member at SFU since 1996, and has been seconded to SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue since 2017. She occupies a dual role as an instructor in the immersive, cohort-based Semester in Dialogue and as a Fellow at the Centre for Dialogue. In all her teaching, research and service, she centres the practice of dialogue and frameworks for systems thinking in addressing complex challenges.

Finegood has been recognized many times over her career for her outstanding work and research in the health sciences, but now she is being recognized for her exceptional work in teaching–notably, for her inclusive and thoughtful approach to instruction and her innovative contributions to pedagogical programming in the Centre for Dialogue.       

To learn more, read the full story on the Centre for Dialogue's website.