Cape Breton University Professor Wins Canada’s Top Teaching Honour

Dr. Patrick Maher, associate professor of Community Studies, Cape Breton University (CBU) has been awarded a 2014 3M National Teaching Fellowship. This award is considered Canada’s top teaching honour.

Pat MaherThe Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and 3M Canada partner to recognize exceptional contributions to teaching and learning at Canadian universities. The community of 3M National Teaching Fellows embodies the highest ideals of teaching excellence and scholarship with a commitment to encourage and support the educational experience of every learner.

“It’s recognition of my passion for teaching; my passion for connecting students to their subject matter in a meaningful way,” says Dr. Maher. “Because this Award covers both teaching excellence and educational leadership it recognizes my passion to teach well in front of my students, but also assist my peers to do so.”

Canada now has 278 3M National Teaching Fellows, representing a broad range of academic disciplines from over 80 small and large Canadian universities. They work to support teaching and learning at their own institutions and through larger, collaborative initiatives, supported by the Council of 3M Fellows and the STLHE. Up to ten Fellowships are selected annually. This is the first 3M award for CBU.

“This recognition speaks volumes about Dr. Maher and his capacity to bring innovative and engaging practices to the classroom at Cape Breton University. He represents a generation of university educators at CBU who are delivering an outstanding education to our students,” says Dr. David Wheeler, president and vice-chancellor. “Not only do we offer world-class degrees, but we are home to professors driven by passion with a genuine interest in student success. On behalf of the CBU campus community we congratulate Dr. Maher and look forward to the continued energy and excellence he shares with his students and colleagues daily.”

Previously a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Dr. Maher is thrilled to be back on the East Coast and a part of the BACS faculty. He hopes to continue the tradition of teaching problem based and experiential learning. Dr. Maher adds, “Much of my nomination document focused on my use of experiential learning, and it’s great to see that style of teaching and learning recognized.  I’ve been a long-time advocate of this philosophy/method and that passion brought me 7000 kilometers across the country from UNBC to join Community Studies at CBU.”

As a 3M Fellow, he becomes a life members of STLHE, and will participate in its annual meeting in June, as well as attend a prestigious teaching retreat in Banff, Alta., where Fellows will work collaboratively to create new ways to foster academic excellence. Dr. Maher is the only 2014 award recipient from Nova Scotia.