Update on a proposal for a more inclusive Council of 3M Fellows

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Let me take this opportunity to thank the Fellows who provided their thoughts either online or in individual emails to the Council Executive in response to our message of January 8 (use this link for a copy of this email on the Council’s Web site). The number of responses exceeds the number of participants necessary at an AGM to establish quorum.

More than six weeks have passed since our January letter, so I would like to follow up with the Fellows by summarizing some of the issues that arose, and sharing the Council Executive’s responses.

Within the first few days that the forum was open it became clear that the removal of the word teaching from the name of the Council was an issue. On January 9 we informed the discussion forum that Teaching would NOT be removed from the Council’s name. We tried to refocus the discussion to inclusion of the Student Fellows and past College Sector award winners on the new Council. In spite of our attempts, this vocal and recurring theme also included some who have asked that Learning be included in the Council’s title. In response to this feedback, the Council Executive has proposed the following as the name for new Council.

3M National Fellows for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

It was evident from the discussion that there was confusion between the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (3MNTF) award and the 3M Council. Please let me provide clarification on that point.

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship is an STLHE award, and the Board of the STLHE is responsible for negotiating with 3M Canada its sponsorship as well as the criteria that are included in the sponsorship agreement. The 3MNTF Coordinator and 3M Council Executive have the responsibility for the operations of the award on behalf of STLHE. The STLHE Executive engaged in discussions with 3M Canada on the inclusion of the College Sector in the award and Robert Lapp, President of STLHE, announced the results on February 10th. Other than providing our support to the STLHE Executive, the 3M Council Executive was not directly involved in the inclusion of the College Sector. That being said, it should be made clear that there have been no changes in the criteria of the 3MNTF Award and there is no change to its name — it remains the 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award and recipients are 3M National Teaching Fellows.

In the discussion forum, a question was raised about inclusion of the past College Sector award winners in a new Council because their award was based on criteria that differed from those of the 3MNTF. Tim Loblaw, Chair of the Standing Committee for College Advocacy and College Sector Educator award coordinator clarified this misconception. CSEA recipients are selected according to two equally weighted criteria, i.e. Peer Leadership and Excellence in Teaching. When the CSEA award was first conceived, it was based on the criteria and selection process of the 3MNTF, and a similar adjudication process was adopted. It was because of these similarities that Council Executive considered the idea of inviting the 25 CSEA award winners to join the new Council. Tim Loblaw was one of the adjudicators of this year’s 3MNTF nomination files and confirmed the alignment of the criteria of the adjudication process. It should be clear that past recipients of the CSEA will not receive a retroactive 3M award, and they will not be 3M National Teaching Fellows. That designation applies only to the recipients of the 3MNTF. Past CSEA award winners can submit nomination files for the 3MNTF if they wish to become 3M National Teaching Fellows. However, they would be invited to be members of the new Council.

The goal of the new Council is to be more inclusive of other voices that can enrich our work through representation from the 3M National Student Fellows, and College award winners. With the support from this initial consultation, we will ask the STLHE Board for their comments on a change to the constituency. If the Board supports the proposal, we would have to adjust by-laws for approval by the existing Council. Should all of this come to fruition, we are planning special events at the London STLHE Conference that would bring members of the new Council together to celebrate the 30th year of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship and welcome the 31st cohort of Fellows. There will be more information on this as events are finalized.

Sincerely,
Esther E. Enns
Chair, Council of 3M National Teaching Fellows