Meet this year’s 3M Teaching Fellows

Check out the 10 teachers who were named to the top of their class

David Creelman, one of this year's 3M Teaching Fellows. (Photograph by Sean McGrath)

David Creelman, one of this year’s 3M Teaching Fellows. (Photograph by Sean McGrath)

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship, founded in 1986 by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with 3M Canada, recognizes exceptional teachers and leaders at universities.

The award doesn’t come with cash, but fellows become lifetime members of the society and get an all-expenses-paid trip to Banff, Alta., for a retreat, where they brainstorm ways to make higher education even better.

“Getting this award transforms your life. You’re instantly regarded as a leader, and called on by your institution to step up and be a leader,” says society president Robert Lapp, a 2008 3M fellow and professor of English at Mount Allison University. “In the university system, you’re often told that your first priority should be research. There’s a risk in devoting a lot of time to teaching, because it takes time to reflect and find ways to do it better. This is a way of rewarding that effort.”

Related: How Sara Harris is shaking up science education


  • Riddell is a party planner who talks about revels and quests, a teacher who encourages critical thinking by holding a mock trial for Shakespeare. She believes “an ideal teacher must generate delight to stir the heart and shape the mind.”
  • Creelman specializes in Maritime literature, but his true passion is guiding students through first year. His persistence program includes an “early warning system” to identify when they lag, and a mentoring program to help those who struggle.
  • Kinoomaage, an Ojibwa word that voices the importance of compassion, community, critical thinking and humour, is at the heart of Toulouse’s philosophy. An expert in Aboriginal student success, she seeks to reverse education’s “legacy of harm.”
  • Harris’s interactive approach to teaching has inspired colleagues to ditch traditional lectures for something more engaging.“She is among the best I have seen, and I have seen some of the best everywhere,” says Nobel prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman.
  • Bigelow is the godmother of service learning, where students apply classroom theory to community practice. She inspired universities across the country to add their own programs, transforming even more students into engaged citizens.
  • When dealing with a pet and its owner, Côté advises veterinary cardiology students to remember they are dealing with two hearts, not one. He supports students even after they’ve graduated, which includes Skyping in to assist with a surgery in Alaska.
  • “Dr. Pete” encourages students to design solutions to tricky problems, including land-mine detection and therapeutic exercises for those with neurological disorders. His teaching approach inspires a deep sense of social responsibility.
  • Joordens relied on technological innovations to help 1,700 first-year psychology students feel like part of a community of learners. That attracted funding to turn it into a MOOC; now, his class brings the world’s students together.
  • Jungic is on a mission to make math fun and accessible through a superhero-themed series of videos called Math Girl, teaching in SFU’s Aboriginal University Preparation Program, and as coordinator of the Math Catcher outreach program.
  • Jin-Sun pushes students to think about child development from non-Western perspectives, and her passion for embracing social diversity gives them the tools they need to deal with challenging situations as they move into practice.

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