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UWAA Outstanding Professor Recipient Tyler Fall

April 17, 2020
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Tyler Fall

Tyler Fall is an associate lecturer in the University of Wyoming’s Religious Studies program and Honors College, and his time is devoted to teaching. His ability to engage and interest students early in their college careers and the appealing way he presents material earned him this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

WyoGold, the Alumni Association’s student organization, recognizes one faculty member every year for his or her positive impact on students. WyoGold selects its outstanding faculty member from nominations by its own members and typically honors faculty who have unique or effective ways of teaching.

Fall credits the people he works with for allowing him to flourish as an instructor.

“I’ve been really lucky because ever since I arrived here I’ve had supportive colleagues, and that’s important to do a good job teaching,” he says.

Fall has a unique teaching assignment, with his time shared between the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Honors College (formerly the Honors Program). In the Honors College, Fall teaches a first-year colloquium and an occasional upper-level seminar on religious thought and human conduct.

For the Religious Studies program, he teaches the history of Christianity and a course he helped develop on non-belief and secularism.

But it’s perhaps Fall’s large introductory survey class in religious studies that earned him the outstanding faculty award. The course gets students acquainted with world religions, giving an overview of everything from the philosophical traditions of East Asia to the monotheistic religions that dominate the West.

“One of the things I hope to do in the class is get students interested in a topic they don’t know much about,” Fall says. “A lot of students end up taking other classes in the department.”

WyoGold President Hannah Miller says Fall was chosen for the Outstanding Faculty Award because of his exceptional work with underclassmen.

“Sometimes these faculty and their impact are overlooked for faculty who have developed relationships with upperclassman through three or four years of coursework,” Miller says. “Often, we forget about the foundations that are built in the first year of a college career and how uniquely difficult it is for a student to adjust to higher education.”

Fall came to UW in 2007 to study creative writing. With a background in history and a specific interest in religious history, Fall began teaching as an adjunct instructor before taking on more classes and eventually transitioning to the position he has now.

“Emphatically, I take no particular approach to teaching because I think that teaching is an exploration,” he says. “I think you can use systems to an extent, but if you try to overdo it, you end up wrecking it. I try to use what works, and what doesn’t work, I discard.”

Fall says he tries to be friendly and approachable.

“I try to show my students that I’m actually enjoying what I’m doing because I think that more than any particular method will get them excited about the material and get them excited about learning,” he says.

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