Annual Report 2015

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2015 Report of the Council of 3M National Teaching Fellows

As the past year unfolded, the 3M Council focused increasing attention on the milestone that lies ahead: the 30th anniversary of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship. As we prepared to pass over this threshold, we reflected on the meaning of the Fellowship, took stock of the important work that has been accomplished, and began to envisage changing circumstances and important new directions for the future. The importance of highlighting educational leadership as a distinctive feature of the 3M Fellowship moved into the foreground of our attention, as well as the merits of changing the composition of the Council to be more inclusive of the full spectrum of institutions of higher education.

Events to Engage the 3M Council Membership


[/media-credit] Outdoors at the Museum of Anthropology

At the 2015 conference in Vancouver, the 3M Council organized a visit to the Museum of Anthropology for its members. This event was well attended and the Reunion Dinner, held at the Pacific Culinary Institute, was sold out. As in the past years, the new cohort of 3M Student Fellows attended the reunion dinner. The conference also featured activities to for both the new teaching and student fellows. The 3M National Student Fellows had a pre-conference retreat, the new 2015 cohorts of 3M National Teaching Fellows met for the first time in the annual “Beginning the Journey” session which is designed to prepare the way for the November retreat.


[/media-credit] The 2014 cohort of 3M Fellows presents at the STLHE 2015 Conference

The Welcome to My Classroom session at the 2015 conference was a special contribution on the part of the 2014 cohort of 3M National Teaching Fellows. Following up on their November 2014 retreat, this group formed a community of practice that culminated in them hosting a joint session entitled “Tuning in to the Fun in Teaching – How to Stop Worrying and Embrace Creativity.” It was an interactive session held in a large hall where the ten Fellows shared their experiences of having embraced creativity in their teaching across a variety of disciplines in higher education. Through interactive exercises and discussion, the large group of participants could generate a repertoire of ways to combine unexpected elements of creativity and play in their teaching. This collaborative initiative illustrates how collegiality and cohesiveness can grow out of the 3M retreat for new Fellows, and that they are rising to the challenge of modelling educational leadership.


[/media-credit] Esther does the call out for each year of Fellows.

The closing plenary for the Vancouver conference was provided by the new cohort of 3M National Student Fellows, and featured the title “#YouDoYou: Student Reflections on Higher Education.” Using collaborative and consultative processes, the students involved participants in experiences involving imagination, analysis, embodied playfulness and serious consideration of issues that concern students, teachers and learners of any age, stage or institutional location who care about the future of post-secondary education.

On another level, a request from 3M Canada caused the 3M Council Executive to undertake a new project that advances our goal of outreach to external stakeholders. Specifically, 3M Canada expressed an interest to STLHE in obtaining a list of 3M Fellows who would be willing to give presentations at 3M Canada events. In response to the inquiry, the 3M Council developed a Speakers List that was shared with 3M Canada, and that is also accessible from the 3M Council website. As a result of this project, there is now a searchable database that enables interested groups to identify 3M Fellows who are willing to be invited to share their expertise. In addition to the speakers now listed on the website, all 3M Fellows are included in the history of the Fellowship. This is organized by year, and in alphabetical order.

Links to the student body and inclusion of a student voice in the 3M Council had been a topic of discussion for some time. In 2015, the Executive took steps address this matter. Council passed a motion to modify its bylaws to include, as an ex officio member, the STLHE Board Chair for Student Advocacy. The 3M Council Executive subsequently welcomed Roselynn Verwoord into the new role of student representative, and thanks her for representing student interests during 2015.

Consultation and Support to Coordinators of the 3M Fellowship


[/media-credit] Each year we welcome the new Fellows to the Council at our reunion dinner, this year at the Pacific Culinary Institute.

In its advisory role to the coordinators of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship and 3M National Student Fellowship, the Executive engaged extensively in management of the two awards programs in 2015. There was close collaboration with the STLHE Executive regarding 3M Canada’s renewal of the 3MNTF, and the proposal to have college-sector faculty become eligible for this award. The STLHE was successful in securing a three-year renewal of the program, and in gaining the support of 3M Canada to include the college sector. This change in the terms of reference for the awards program will take effect in 2016, but in the context of the STLHE’s change in the 3M National Teaching Fellowship program that will make teachers from the college sector eligible for the award, the 3M Council Executive has been considering the implications for the Council. It has been consulting closely with the awards coordinator to explore options. There is a need to revise the nomination package, for example, such that it incorporates the college sector.

The question of how to include the college sector as well as revision to the call for nominations will be addressed early in 2016. The Executive has recognized that the scope of 3M-sponsored education awards is broadening, and that the current model for representing 3M National Teaching Fellows therefore needs to be reconsidered. It designed a strategy for consulting the membership on the idea of creating a new Council of 3M Fellows that would include all 3M National Teaching Fellows, 3M National Student Fellows, and the 2012-2016 College Sector Award recipients, and planned to implement the process early in 2016. The idea of coming together as one unified, new constituency is being explored.


[/media-credit] Three generations of 3M Awards Co-ordinators: Arshad Ahmad, Shannon Murray, and Ron Marken.

The Executive also worked closely with the 3MNTF Coordinator to strengthen the criterion of “Educational Leadership” in the awards program. At the close of the adjudication process for selecting the 2015 cohort of 3M National Teaching Fellows, the committee members reviewed the structure of the call for nominations and recommended that, for the 2016 call, the application materials be revised to enhance the Educational Leadership component of the fellowship program. At the same time that revisions relating to the upcoming inclusion of the college sector were made, changes were also made to clarify that applicants are expected to provide equivalent measures of evidence regarding both their Educational Leadership and their Teaching Excellence.

Shannon Murray, the Coordinator for the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, organized the November retreat in Banff for the 2015 cohort of 3M National Teaching Fellows. This iconic event was praised by all participants as very successful in that it was inspiring and transformative for their lives as university teachers. The 2015 retreat was unique in that it included an eleventh participant who was quite under-age – Jessica Riddell’s infant son, Henry. He was welcomed by the entire group, and served as a lively reminder that ultimately teaching is about students. Thanks and appreciation are extended to Shannon Murray for masterfully organizing this memorable 2015 retreat, and to the facilitators, Maureen Connolly and Russell Day. Inspired by the renewed emphasis on educational leadership, the new Fellows produced an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him and his cabinet to bring the topic of higher education into federal discussions. The group also produced a video to depict its work, which was shared with the 3M Canada Corporation, as a token of appreciation for its support. Both of these documents can be seen on 3M Council website.

Gratitude and praise also go to Maureen Connolly, the Coordinator for the 3M National Student Fellowship, for her skilful management of the 2015 process. She served as a highly valued mentor to the students and also made modifications to the coordination process that promise to improve how things operate in the years to come. Highlights from the 3M National Student Fellowship are the creation of a mentoring program for the coordinating team for the award for the coordination time with overlapping term with the participants. A similar approach will be used with the facilitators. The student fellows have embraced a number of projects, which include a preconference session that may be a regular part of the Annual Conference, and also work involving the STLHE website.

Looking Ahead to 2016


[/media-credit] 3M Fellows new and old – student and teacher.

The 3M Council Executive sees 2016 as a turning point in the history of the Fellowship, and plans to pursue projects that promote both reflection on its significance over these three decades, and also build enthusiasm for what lies ahead. Initiatives that are in the early stages of planning and/or implementation fall into two broad categories: a) engagement of 3M Fellows in deepening our understanding of educational leadership as one of the pillars of the fellowship, and b) compositional change of the 3M Council. They include the following:

    • Special session on Educational Leadership at the 2016 conference in London
    • The “Making Teaching Stick” project – publication on our website of the educational leadership profiles of 3M Fellows who are influencing higher education in significant ways
    • Renewed grant program for Scholarship of Leadership in Education (SoLE)
    • Embedding the “Welcome to My Classroom” sessions as a regular element of the annual conference program

Respectfully submitted,
Esther E. Enns, Chair of the 3M Council Executive and on behalf of
Maureen Connolly, Lisa Dickson, Jon Houseman, Ron Marken,
Shannon Murray, Jessica Riddell, Elizabeth Wells<\
February, 2016