Education

Introducing the 2022 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award Winners

Celebrating some of the country’s best university and college teachers

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship was created in 1986 by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) to recognize exceptional teachers in post-secondary education. Every year, the fellowship celebrates 10 university and college educators who show leadership in enhancing post-secondary education and a sustained dedication to undergraduate education. Winners become lifetime members of the society, a national organization working to advance teaching and learning in higher education.

As the program’s media sponsor since 2006, Maclean’s is pleased to announce the 2022 Fellows. Below, STLHE’s selection committee explains why these 10 professors are being recognized this year.

Dr. Vince Bruni-Bossio

Associate professor, management and marketing, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan

As a teacher, Dr. Vince Bruni-Bossio is devoted to the practice and scholarship of experiential learning, dedicating exceptional amounts of time, energy and enthusiasm to ensure his students obtain real world knowledge and skills. He has received multiple teaching awards. His teaching philosophy is based on his martial arts background, with three tenets: teaching the principles behind the lesson; creating real life-learning contexts; and walking with his students through their learning process. The impact he has as a teacher was captured by one of his students in an evaluation: “Bravo Vince! Thank you for everything that you taught us this year, and more importantly thank you for teaching us how to learn.” 

Dr. Bruni-Bossio is also a leading innovator, using experimentation and play as mechanisms for developing his curriculum and pedagogy. As an educational leader, his focus has been on improving student learning across the University of Saskatchewan by walking with colleagues through change and transition projects, fostering psychological safety and listening to all voices. At the core of all his endeavors is the idea that relationships with students and colleagues must be developed and preserved authentically, with care and attention. Put simply, people matter most to Dr. Bruni-Bossio.

Dr. Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham

Professor, microbiology, department of biological science, Thompson Rivers University 

Dr. Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham has been fascinated with biology ever since she went out catching butterflies with her father while growing up in Thailand. Her interest in microbiology developed while studying at Chiang Mai University in Thailand and at Hokkaido University in Japan. Her scholarship focuses on cave microbiomes and new drug discovery, specifically white-nose syndrome in bats and alternative treatment tools to combat multidrug-resistant infections. Her work has been featured in mainstream media including the New York TimesBloomberg TV’s Spark series, Al Jazeera TV, CBC’s The Nature of Things, Global TV, the Knowledge Network, CBC radio, and in a number of national and international magazines. 

Dr. Cheeptham sees each student’s unique potential and celebrates diversity. She teaches with curiosity and with an eye to real-world relevancy. She collaborated in the design of a case study exercise based on actual court-cases entitled “Murder by HIV.” She used her love of microbially fermented foods to launch an unconventional student-oriented and community-engaged assignment for a fundraising dinner called “TRU Ferments” in an upper level microbiology course. In one of the supporting letters in her dossier, a community member wrote: “Ann found a way to stimulate learning through her ability to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to a wider audience of community members of all ages.” Through her leadership, teaching and innovation, Dr. Cheeptham has made a distinctive and important impact on the community and her students.

Vijay Daniels

Professor, department of medicine, division of general internal medicine, University of Alberta

“If you treat them like learners, they eventually become doctors. But if you treat them like doctors, they become great doctors.” This Dr. Vijay Daniels’s mantra. He applied it when he went about revolutionizing the medical school physical exam course with some of the most transparent assessment methods in the country. Dr. Daniels has introduced changes that reduce feedback time from several weeks to mere hours after students finish a practical exam. His systems helped reduce disruption during COVID-19 and enabled medical school interviews to move forward with ease.

As a teacher, Dr. Daniels is dedicated to providing the best possible learning experience to each student. One of his students said: “I have honestly never had a preceptor be so attentive to my needs as a learner. … He took 30 minutes out of his day to do a mock oral exam with me so that he could assess me more accurately and give me feedback.”

At a national level, Dr. Daniels is involved in advancing medical education and has twice been recognized for his teaching, leadership and innovation by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine. Dr. Daniels is an exceptionally caring teacher, a strong collaborative leader and a visionary innovator.

Sean Maurice

Basic science instructor, Northern medical program, division of medical sciences, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Sean Maurice sees teaching and learning as an adventure, where curiosity and authenticity should be encouraged and risks mitigated to ensure learner safety. He encourages preparedness and a willingness to embrace uncertainty and works to create a space where students are appropriately challenged while also feeling empowered.

Dr. Maurice employs a narrative approach in his teaching. He has developed review, practice exam and study skills sessions to help support his learners in navigating the complexities of medical school. Across the institution, he is a champion of the value of teaching and has built a team of Instructional Skills Workshop facilitators. He collaborates widely to support the Northern Medical Program, and is actively involved in engaging and supporting affiliate faculty as they teach. He does all this on top of full-time clinical practice.

Dr. Maurice is passionate about outreach to Indigenous youth, and has collaborated with Carrier Sekani Family Services on several initiatives with a goal of encouraing Indigenous youth to consider health care careers. He founded and leads the highly successful Healthcare Travelling Roadshow that has grown into a significant provincial university-high school outreach project which has visited over 10,000 youth in rural settings across the province. Through this project, Dr. Maurice mentors interprofessional health care students as they speak to the public about their professions.

Scott McIndoe

Professor of chemistry, University of Victoria

Scott McIndoe experiments with new ideas for education as much as with the elements on the periodic table. He is enthusiastic about innovation and committed to sharing his work freely, whether it’s his lecture books, problem-solving methodology, take-home laser-cut molecular models or live, online Q&A sessions during classes. Since Dr. McIndoe began innovating in the classroom and lab, more students than ever have signed up for—and succeeded—in higher level chemistry courses.

Canada Research Chair Fraser Hof writes: “I’m struck by how Dr. McIndoe has constantly changed his delivery and methods over the years, while always maintaining a high level of structure and organization in order to ensure that students can benefit from all of the various elements. There are no gimmicks here—Scott is an educator who is incredibly skilled and profoundly committed to his students.”

Dr. McIndoe maintains that only by understanding molecules better can we solve today’s urgent problems: the need for clean energy, cures for cancer, feeding the world, sustainable manufacturing and molecular computing. Dr. McIndoe creates and evolves diverse teaching methods to show students from first year through Ph.D. that what they learn is relevant to these challenges. “Someone I teach just might help solve these problems, and that makes my career as a researcher and educator both hugely rewarding and a lot of fun.”

David Newhouse (Onondaga)

Professor and director, Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, Trent University 

Long before many Canadians were having conversations about reconciliation, Dr. David Newhouse was cultivating the ground in which these changes could take root.

As a talented and inspiring educator in Indigenous Studies, Professor Newhouse has supported many landmark achievements at Trent University, including by creating a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program, founding the First Peoples House of Learning and helping to craft the university mandate that ensures every undergraduate completes at least one course with an Indigenous focus. “I hold fast to the belief that it is not enough to teach about Indigenous peoples, but that Indigenous knowledge can inform pedagogy and academe in all its facets, extending its rafters to include it,” Professor Newhouse says.

Nationally, Professor Newhouse has provided leadership through organizations such as Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. As the long-serving department chair and now director of Trent’s Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, he leads by example and has encouraged and empowered generations of Indigenous students in their academic and cultural pursuits.

He also inspires students to use their education to create lasting change by always asking, “Now that you know this, what will you do with the knowledge you’ve gained?”

Dr. Eve Pouliot

Professor, department of social sciences, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC)

Dr. Eve Pouliot is well aware of the challenge of student retention and the needs of learners with varied profiles for whom so-called traditional teaching methods do not produce the desired effects. And so, she has developed a particular pedagogical approach. She uses storytelling and metaphors in her teaching and transforms the group space into a dynamic and interactive learning environment using a flipped classroom model. It’s no wonder that her students express a strong appreciation for her courses, saying that they are “The best of the semester!” Dr. Pouliot’s unwavering commitment to her profession and to the students she mentors goes beyond the scope of the classroom. A positive, attentive and humble leader, Dr. Pouliot actively contributes to making UQAC a place where knowledge and inclusive teaching practices take centre stage. She is a key player in the creation of the Carrefour de soutien à l’enseignement et à l’apprentissage, and she has distinguished herself through her determination and deep conviction of the importance of higher education. Her professional career exemplifies a strong commitment to improving the quality of education, which is reflected in a unique combination of her passion for teaching, her deeply humane attitude, her exceptional teaching skills and her desire to push the boundaries of her professional development.

Dr. Fiona Rawle

Professor, teaching stream, department of biology and associate dean, undergraduate, University of Toronto Mississauga

Through path-breaking pedagogy and transformative educational leadership, Dr. Fiona Rawle is a champion of higher education in Canada. 

Dr. Rawle is a principal investigator on several major pedagogical research programs. Her work is guided by a commitment to the power of equity, diversity, and inclusion in teaching. In her research and public engagement, she combats science misinformation through cognitive scaffold projects designed to support critical thinking in public life. Dr. Rawle leads the “Failure: Learning in Progress” project, which has transformed how students embrace and learn from failure. She is an advocate for creating robust, socially just and joyful classrooms defined by collaboration, creativity and risk-taking. Student Rachel Stubits says: “When Dr. Rawle asked 500 students attending her lecture (myself included) to form a human representation of a double-stranded DNA molecule, with our elbows serving as nitrogenous bases and our hands mimicking phosphate moieties, I knew that I would never forget the structure of DNA.” 

Rawle’s work on the pedagogy of kindness and connection is recognized internationally. Her colleagues, students and collaborators all attest to her transformative impact on their lives, their teaching and their learning. One of her colleagues writes: “Fiona realizes the ideal to which we and our university aspire: to share a transformative education for flourishing people and a flourishing world.”

Dr. Awneet Sivia

Associate professor, teacher education, University of the Fraser Valley

Awneet Sivia is an education specialist whose teaching, educational leadership and innovation are guided by himmat, a Punjabi word encompassing attributes such as courage, heart, daring, fearlessness, commitment, strength and resolve.

Dr. Sivia uses “embedded pedagogy,” modelling good teaching practice as part of the hidden curriculum to provide academic, social and cultural experiences outside of the formal dimensions of learning. Through “first touch” experiential learning and problem-based, project-based and inquiry learning, her students come to their own assumptions and understandings of the curriculum. Having them explore their ideas and understanding of a topic, Dr. Sivia encourages students to broaden their thinking. “Dr. Sivia is an incredible role model for her students,” Dr. James Mandigo, provost and vice-president, academic, says. “She transforms the lives of her students and then shares her enthusiasm and expertise across campus and into the community.” Ian Levings and Nerlap Sidhu, principal and teacher at Eugene Reimer Middle School, add: “She is impacting every teacher candidate she connects with and instilling the belief that diversity and equity are what makes our community stronger.” An educator with more than 30 years’ experience, Professor Sivia is changing science learning, not only at UFV, but across the lower mainland of British Columbia. 

Dr. Pamini Thangarajah

Professor, department of mathematics and computing, Mount Royal University

Dr. Pamini Thangarajah is known for her strong leadership in the creation of a minor in mathematics in the faculty of science and technology at Mount Royal University, as well as a minor in mathematics for elementary education. A research mentor who is often asked to appear at conferences, Thangarajah has authored five widely viewed creative-common licensed next-generation digital resources currently being used in more than 20 countries. She was co-organizer of the Alberta Mathematics Dialogue in 2004, 2011 and 2016, and is one of the organizers of Explore STEM, a one-day conference for Grade 9 girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering,and mathematics. In 2018, Explore STEM drew around 1,000 students to hands-on events at MRU, SAIT and the University of Calgary. “In 1999, when we started this event, post-secondary institutions had way less female students. Now, there are often more female than male students. But fewer females pursue STEM careers,” Dr. Thangarajah says. “We need to increase their awareness, excitement and confidence that they can do this.” 

Dr. Thangarajah has been recognized with the Provost’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grant (2017, 2018, 2019) and in 2018, she received both the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award and Open Education Champion Award from the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.