Jennifer Murdock

Jennifer Murdock

Department of Economics

Faculty of Arts & Science

Jennifer Murdock joined U of T’s Economics Department in the Faculty of Arts & Science as a teaching-stream faculty member in 2004. She earned a PhD in Economics in 2002 from Yale University and then spent two years as an economist in the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, assessing the competitive impact of horizontal mergers. Earlier, after her master’s, she worked in economic consulting for two years valuing damages to outdoor recreation opportunities from oil spills, PCB releases, and other contamination. Her public and private sector work experience and research experience influence and inform her undergraduate teaching, for which she received the Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014.

Professor Murdock helps students meet the writing expectations in economics: clear, concise, and coherent writing using compelling evidence and sound economic reasoning. Fourth-year students write original research papers assessing a current horizontal merger while second-year students engage in frequent invigilated and discretized writing at the level of a sentence up to a paragraph.

Professor Murdock has been a leader on multiple fronts: recruiting the best teaching-stream faculty to U of T, spearheading important curriculum redesign and enhancement efforts for our undergraduate Economics and Commerce programs, and advancing the effective use of technologies in teaching economics. Professor Murdock led the reimagining and restructuring of teaching-stream recruiting in Economics, building the collegial and rigorous search framework now relied upon. Further, she has worked on recruiting teaching-stream faculty with other units ranging from cognate disciplines (e.g., Political Science) to Dentistry.

She has transformed the quantitative methods curriculum to emphasize current research questions, data, and the interpretation of empirical results in economics and to de-emphasize by-hand computational, procedural, textbook-style questions. In collaboration with faculty and staff colleagues, she helped conceptualize and launch key new courses, the Economics Study Centre, and the Economics Department’s own Teaching and Learning Community of Practice. She has also developed the Department’s infrastructure supporting key educational technologies. Professor Murdock regularly engages in professional development and disseminates her teaching expertise via presentations, workshops, reports, and one-on-one mentoring.

Professor Murdock seeks out feedback and continually updates course applications. She uses her students’ performance on graded work as a metric for her own teaching effectiveness. She also designs and implements targeted student surveys that ask pointed questions about specific initiatives and course design choices. Further, she keeps a running list of authentic and directly relevant applications for future tests/exams, assignments, and lectures from sources that range from academic publications to articles appearing in the popular press to new databases to government publications.