2013 3M National Teaching Fellows


Joan Conrod
Faculty of Management
Dalhousie University 

Joan Conrod’s students know they are required to stay focused until the very end of class, and even mice on the Dalhousie campus understand what this means. One of her students describes “the day a mouse popped up in class…Conrod calmly continued to teach. As she kept explaining depreciation models, she found a box and carefully trapped the mouse in the box. She never skipped a beat.”

As enthusiastic as she is demanding of her students and herself, Joan emphasizes how being a great accountant requires a careful blend of deep technical knowledge, mastery of a complex international language, and most important of all, strong ethical judgment. Someone can be advantaged, and someone can be hurt by every decision an accountant makes, so Joan insists her students understand the implications of their decisions, and her results are impressive.  Joan Conrod’s students achieve excellent results in professional examinations in Canada, and top accounting firms seek out Joan’s students because they can ‘hit the ground running.”  Her pride shines brightest at convocation, where every Accounting student, by name, receives cheers, smiles, and hugs from “the most generous, motivating, inspirational and knowledgeable teacher” they have known.


Shelagh Crooks
Philosophy and Education
Saint Mary’s University 

Shelagh Crooks joins the 3M National Fellowship as an outstanding teacher, a model of collegiality, a mentor to faculty and students, and an exceptional educational leader who advocates for the teaching mission of universities. At the heart of Dr. Crook’s teaching is the value of critical reflection so students become “effective and autonomous thinkers.”  As one student noted, “Shelagh teaches the skill of independent thought and then actually inspires one to think.”

Shelagh describes her “guide by the side” teaching as “listening to the day-to-day rhythm of the class, to students’ questions, to their silence, and observing the nods, shrugs, and absences.”  Spontaneous, courageous, and with a generous spirit, Shelagh helps students and colleagues connect to one another, ideas and issues, and to herself. An effusive and remarkable educational leader, Shelagh generously shares her expertise within her discipline and the wider academy inspiring and transforming teaching and scholarly efforts. Shelagh’s capacity and willingness to envision how change leads to a captivating and impactful teaching and learning environment has a profound impact as one colleague noted “leading all of us to follow her model of continually striving to find new ways to improve the teaching and learning environment for our students and colleagues.”


Darren Dahl
Sauder School of Business
University of British Columbia

Dr. Darren Dahl awakens students’ imagination through innovative, engaging, and often unconventional teaching strategies allowing his students to explore a different approach and way of thinking regarding their education and chosen field of Business.  According to one student, “His way of teaching offered tangibility to subjects that seemed so irrelevant and foreign to me at the time.  Gifted with the ability to connect meaningfully with his students, Darren’s teaching philosophy is student-centered and “achieved through passion, innovation, dialogue, and the ability to effectively challenge the student.”

Innovation, opportunity, creativity, and the possibility of Dragon’s Den© are at the core of the New Venture Design course Darren co-created combining students in business and engineering and where students must now apply to gain entry. Darren’s inspirational style and ability to lead by example are noted as “particularly forceful”. Darren continually reflects upon and seeks ways to further improve his own teaching practice. He inspires, leads by example, mentors, supports, and is generous as he validates others’ efforts to become better teachers.

Generous with his resources and time, Darren willingly takes risk to advocate for and to evoke change to foster transformative learning for his students and others. 

Simon Ellis
Wood Science
Faculty of Forestry
University of British Columbia 

“Where would our undergraduate programs be without Dr. Ellis?  He is one of the chosen ones.”  As a ‘youngster he wanted to be a Coke truck driver or a meteorologist with a PhD, but as a second-year GTA, in an “aha!” moment, he found he wanted to teach. Now, Simon says, “My career path chose me.” 

His colleagues call him a “key faculty member.”  Why?  Simon teaches in a department almost exclusively research-driven, where he is the inspiring advocate, mentor, and innovator for teaching.  What, you may wonder, is Simon’s specialty and passion?  Wood.  He is the Professor of Wood.  What do his students think of him?  “Give this man a raise because he is a rare gift to teaching.  Make clones of this man to teach the world”—not a bad idea. 

Simon chairs active committees on recruiting, teaching, and curriculum.  He works closely with the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, earning many grants for pedagogical research and several awards for his pedagogical practice.  “Helping a group of students understand wood—about which I am passionate—sparks something in me.” 

Kim Misfeldt
Augustana Campus
University of Alberta

“GIVE VOICE” shouts Kim Misfeldt’s own Voice, echoing from the walls of Augustana campus all the way to distant Germany (where, every spring, she gives life to placbased experiential pedagogy by bringing and guiding an ever-growing number of students from all over Canada). And the German language turns into the German Voice, offering students “new perspective and insights into …politics, relationships, religion, health…”, as one of them forcefully and gratefully acknowledges. 

“GIVE VOICE” shouts Kim Misfeldt’s own voice, echoing from the walls of the Augustana Drama theater stage (where, as assistant director, she takes part in a production of the Vagina Monologues) all the way to the distant heart and soul of the stubborn Silence surrounding the Violence against Women, and the Silence breaks, a “life-changing, life-altering experience” students, actors and audience testify! Kim’s Voice, whether it focuses on one language or another, on one literature or another, at the junior level or at the senior level, in class or at the biweekly film nights, or the annual German Christmas party she organizes, “inspires, enlightens, empowers,” “brings out the very best in her students.”

“GIVE VOICE” shouts the 3M National Teaching Fellowship as it calls Kim to join it! 

Mark Goldszmidt
Medicine & Dentistry
Western University

Mark Goldszmidt approaches teaching by carving out space for learning in his sometimes chaotic and stressful clinical settings.  Medical students on clinical rotation with Dr. Goldszmidt quickly learn bedside medicine is about taking time for communication as much as it is about diagnosis, about listening as much as speaking. 

During rounds, students at his side, Mark models how to teach patients and families by asking the right questions and listening very carefully to their conversation. His students learn clinical work is not just about diagnosis and prescription, but about taking time and creating space to perceive what patients are feeling, even when they do not explicitly express their emotions. He models how to ask carefully crafted questions, and later discusses his reasons for asking specific questions the way he does. His students see how he intentionally attends to “clinical skills that cannot be taught in the lecture hall.” Mark suggests  “the most effective learning takes place when the question being answered arises from learners themselves”, and those learners might be medical students, patients, or families.

Mark Goldszmidt is an outstanding clinical educator who is creating generations of physicians we hope to find at our own bedsides some day. 

June Ann Larkin
Women and Gender Studies Institute
University of Toronto

“This course is life changing.”  “All of my previous values and morals are being questioned and I love it.”  These student exemplars highlight the stellar teaching and deep learning fostered through social engagement and “questioning of taken-for-granted assumptions that inform our worldview” of June Larkin’s classes. 

Connecting students to real-life experiences through meaningful social interaction in the local communities of Toronto and internationally in Namibia and Belize, June empowers her students to apply, assess, and revise their knowledge about social justice. Taking her cue from Nelson Mandela, June shares her teaching philosophy, “I want students to see the transformative power of their academic knowledge. In providing a learning environment that encourages community connections and global awareness I hope to equip them with the toolkit and passion to affect social change through the process of meaningful civic engagement.”  

A pioneer for Service Learning in New College, June creates a learning environment extending beyond the university walls. An exceptional educational leader, June collaboratively transformed the undergraduate curriculum by creating courses, programs, and community-university partnerships unique in Canada in Women’s and Gender Studies and Equity Studies. Credited with “extraordinary in mentoring and collaboration”, June is deeply devoted to the development of her students and colleagues.


Colin Laroque
Geography and Environment
Mount Allison University 

Maria Campbell, the great Metis teacher and writer, once said, “When people asked me about our culture, I didn’t know what to say, because we didn’t have Culture.  Years later, I realized everything we do is our culture!”  Everything Colin Laroque does as a teacher flows from his Saskatchewan Metis and academic culture.   For thousands of years, Canada’s First Nations taught their children to live in harmony with Nature.  They taught through stories and lived experience. 

Colin Laroque’s teaching and leadership are both traditional and radically new.  He absorbed wisdom from his parents and Elders, men and women for whom “experiential learning” would have been a fancy way of saying, “being alive,” and “problem-based learning” would have meant “staying alive.” Through his stories, hands-on observation, site visits, circles of questions, and radical contemplation, Colin’s students feel a powerful sense of community and exploration—wide and deep.  “This was the best course I have ever taken.”  

A curious student himself, Colin continually seeks out pedagogical research to improve his teaching.  His excitement is contagious.  His humility is potent, inspiring colleagues and students alike.  Colin Laroque’s work as an educator is perfectly encapsulated by the 3M Ethos.

Jordan LeBel
Department of Marketing
John Molson School of Business
Concordia University

“Call me Dr. Chocolate,” insists Jordan LeBel, as he breaks through his classroom’s, his department’s, and his university’s walls, answering the call of the media to share his thought-provoking ideas on marketing, a call rapidly expanding to the point of turning him into one of the most powerful ambassadors of expertise in the Academy as a source of tools “to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.” 

But as his childhood passion for chocolate expands into a passion for contributing to solving global issues, ranging from fair trade to malnutrition, ‘out-reach’ flips into ‘in-reach,’ the world-wide scene, in turn, brings him to break inwards through his university’s, his Department’s, and his classrooms’ walls—class becoming world.  “Students often make distinctions between the classroom and ‘the real world.’ I don’t!” he writes. “It is his ability to make connections, breaking free of siloed thinking, and seeing as possible what others describe as unachievable …” that most essentially characterizes him, one colleague writes.

“This class is amazing … The teacher is incredible … With Prof. LeBel you don’t just get an education in marketing, you get an education, period,” the students write. We write, “Welcome to the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, Jordan!”

Heather Zwicker
English and Film Studies
University of Alberta

The next time you are in Edmonton, you will see a vibrant city, a university, government buildings, and restaurants. Heather Zwicker sees literature, culture, and an opportunity. She sees a course for students to learn how to “read” Edmonton through theoretical texts, local literature, cartography, personal experience, and history. 

But her vision is larger than this wonderful city, or any single city, course, subject, or body of work.  Heather believes in educating for active citizenship. She cares about the world of ideas, but she cares even more abut how ideas affect the lives of people, and specifically, how her students develop a new kind of literacy. “I want my students to know how to read social texts like cities, politics, histories and futures, and they develop this ability by learning how to read literature and theory.”  She believes learning at its best is a dangerous and unsettling venture, and she wants her students to feel the tension. Their contributions are valued, but learning is an adventure in which they are fundamentally changed.

In short, Heather Zwicker is out to make the world a better place, one course at a time—exactly what this amazing teacher is doing.