3M National Teaching Fellows

In 1986, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and 3M Canada partnered 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.

Up to ten Fellowships are selected annually.

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.


Patrick Maher 2014

Department of Community Studies          

**Nominated while faculty at the University of Northern British Columbia

“The Fraser River is an amazing connector…from small streams in the Robson Valley to the delta with the Salish Sea.” Literally and metaphorically, rivers have shaped the teaching landscape for Dr. Patrick Maher. This “teacher-scholar-learner” wants his graduating students to

continue to quench their own thirst for knowledge and nourish the social and ecological communities around them.

Patrick has designed and developed field schools—vibrant learning communities in which students connect with

each other as they push boundaries and confront challenge. Yet, whether in the Arctic, Haida Gwaii, or closer to home, Patrick strives to create authentic learning experiences where students make real connections and so develop a sense of “trust and wonder” to touch their hearts and open their minds, aided by the reflective learning journals that are hallmarks of his approach.

Just as water is the essence of life, Patrick Maher’s teaching philosophy channels reverence for the environment, respect for the miracle of continuous curiosity, and unrestrained affection for his students. His dossier overflows with their gratitude: “My perspective shifted. My education was no longer external to me; it was personal, internal, and finally real.”