New Faculty Profile: Lindsay Cuff
Lindsay Cuff is enjoying her return to Vancouver.
“It’s like a homecoming for me. I love the smell of the forest after it rains and the salty air fills me with joy.”
She joins UBC as an Assistant Professor of Teaching with a joint appointment in LFS and Forestry.
She lived in Vancouver from 2007-2009 while completing a UBC Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Since graduating from UBC, she’s had the chance to travel and work around the world. While her global experiences have been diverse, a common theme for Cuff is engaging with organizations that work towards social change and education.
One of these organizations is the New York City-based Karuna-Shechen, a non-profit that provides services to vulnerable populations in the Himalayan Region. These services include accessing health care, education and vocational training – programs to improve quality of life or livelihoods.
She worked as Karuna-Shechen’s Communications Director for two years and had the chance to travel abroad from her New York base to engage with program stakeholders.
“One program we ran actually trained grandmothers to be solar engineers!” says Cuff.
Karuna-Shechen worked with the community to select female volunteers who could be trained to become solar technicians at India’s Barefoot College or at their facilities in Kathmandu. The women would return to install and manage solar lighting systems in their villages. Access to light allowed children to study once the sun set, encouraged more social activities, and transformed life in villages.
Cuff lived in New York for six years, moving there with her husband, Yana Kehrlein, a documentary filmmaker who was attending graduate school at Columbia University. While in New York, Cuff also worked as a freelance writer and was a writer-inresidence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
After living in the U.S., Cuff returned to B.C. and lived in Kimberley. She worked as Communications and Philanthropy Manager for six years at Wildsight, a charity that provides environmental education and initiates sustainable community initiatives through lobbying and mobilizing people to take action.
She worked on the Jumbo Wild campaign, which aimed to protect grizzly bear habitat in B.C.’s Purcell Mountain Range (Jumbo Valley) from being developed into a ski resort. After more than 20 years of lobbying, the Ktunaxa Nation, with support from the provincial and federal governments, declared the Qat’muk Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in early 2020, protecting the 700-square kilometre area in Jumbo Valley from development.
Cuff comes to UBC from College of the Rockies where she taught Scholarly Writing, and Advanced Professional Communications, at its main Cranbrook campus.
“LFS is all about transforming learning into meaningful change in the world. This is fundamental for me – our classrooms are a microcosm of the world and have the power to affect change beyond what we can imagine.”
For fun, Cuff plays a 100-year-old banjo and loves being outdoors. In Kimberley, she skied and tried to visit every swimming hole she could find, and now that she’s back in Vancouver, Cuff is taking advantage of swimming in the ocean at Locarno and Jericho beaches.