Tiffany MacQuerrie helps a student at the podium in her classroom.

Tiffany MacQuarrie: Making English fun

English instructor challenges her students to wrap their minds around the text "almost as if it were a hug"

Even after more than 20 years in higher education, Tiffany MacQuarrie, instructor in English, is still as energetic and motivated as ever.

Getting students engaged and excited about English isn’t always the easiest task, but have no fear - MacQuarrie is here.

Putting herself in her students’ shoes, she recognizes that few students actually want to take English. That’s why MacQuarrie wants to “focus in on learning experiences.”

She emphasized that she is always looking for fun ways to engage the students in writing, such as proposals, videos, and infomercials.

In addition to her well-known projects, this semester MacQuarrie’s classes will be teaming up to participate in the Lion’s Den, Penn State Beaver’s idea competition where students pitch their ideas on how to improve campus life. The winning idea will be implemented in the spring.

“I try to make it fun,” she said. “My job is the best in the world because I get to do standup three days a week.”

Humor and stories are great teaching tools for MacQuarrie, but she still likes to challenge her students. One of her greatest accomplishments is “engaging students with material that they’ve traditionally hated.”

She’s less concerned with what her students read, as long as it promotes critical thinking and challenging discussions. MacQuarrie wants her students to wrap their minds around the text, almost as if it were a hug, embrace it, and then dig even deeper.

She said most students discover that they actually like to read and spend more time being involved in the class discussion instead of grumbling about having to read a boring book.

In addition to her love for teaching, MacQuarrie published her first book, “Discovering the Personality of Punctuation” in 2016. The book uses humor to discover the personality of punctuation, as well as reviewing grammar and common punctuation errors.

“It’s not a huge work but it’s more important that it’s usable rather than ‘hey I wrote a book,’” MacQuarrie said.

In addition to teaching, MacQuarrie is also co-advisor of CRU as well as the Faculty Congress Chair.


Master of Science in Communication and Information Systems, Robert Morris University (PA)

Master of Arts in Student Personnel, Slippery Rock University

Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Political Science, Penn State University