Preparing a Nomination

Every reviewer in the Selection Committee appreciates the time and energy you devote to completing a nomination dossier. Please accept what follows as guidance to improve the energy and conviction of your nomination.


The 3M National Teaching Fellowship is a growing body of university teachers with demonstrated commitments to university teaching excellence and educational leadership. The Fellowship is not a trophy, a prize, a medal, a research opportunity, or a sum of money. Successful 3M Fellows do not win any thing. They will be invited to join the Fellowship of teachers and to become lifetime members of The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Becoming a member of these groups is the gift.

The criteria do not employ metaphors of “winning,” “losing,” or “awarding.” Instead, they accentuate “joining,” “receiving,” “inviting,” “being welcomed,” and “belonging.” As you prepare the nomination dossier, please keep this crucial distinction in mind.

  • The Committee bases its decisions equally on teaching excellence and educational leadership.
  • The 3M Fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award. Please do not nominate retired professors or those near retirement. Outstanding retired teachers and leaders deserve to be honoured, but the 3M Fellowship is not intended to be such an award.
  • Likewise, please do not nominate full-time administrators or educational developers whose teaching opportunities have been significantly reduced for the past five or more years.
  • Well-organized dossiers help the reviewer to find key pieces of evidence quickly. Therefore, please follow the recommended format and structure outlined in this Call for Nominations.
  • A dossier prepared for some other purpose (e.g. tenure, promotion, another teaching award) should be significantly revised to fit the structure, criteria, and documentation required for the 3M National Teaching Fellowship.
  • Supporting letters should be recent. In the letters, please address specifically the criteria for this Fellowship. Address letters to Dr. Shannon Murray.
  • If you are a student preparing a nomination for a former professor, thank you! We encourage you to get help from the nominee, from his or her colleagues, friends, and former students, and from places like the teaching and learning centre and the grants and awards office. We do not encourage students to nominate professors by whom they are still being taught.
  • Keep the dossier succinct. Evidence for a great nominee will quickly push the 50-page limit. You need not take up valuable space with pages of raw data, for example, or long lists of talks, journal articles, presentations, and workshops. Important evidence, a summary of student rating data, for instance, may be overlooked if surrounded by confusing charts and graphs. You must explain clearly what all the numbers mean. Workshops, addresses, and articles can be persuasive if supported by supporting commentary on their impact.
  • Please provide context and background. The Selection Committee may not be familiar with the disciplinary or institutional norms of teaching evaluation in your institution.
  • We strive to make the adjudication process as objective as possible. Selection Committee members are excluded from reviewing and commenting on nominees from their own institutions or with whom they have had close professional or personal relationships.
  • Please remember, only material contained in the printed dossier is considered in the committee’s assessment.
  • As nominator and as nominee, be optimistic as you prepare your dossier, but remember, several recipients each year will have been nominated at least once before. Unlike other teaching awards, each unsuccessful nomination for a 3M Fellowship will receive extensive feedback, both general and specific, that may enrich the reflective process of resubmission and the resulting dossier.
  • Please ensure that material — course materials, student comments, letters of support — is clearly dated.
  • The Fellowship has no governing quotas based on gender, discipline, region, language, or number of submissions per institution.

Because the pool of nominees changes every year, as does the membership of the Selection Committee, there will be a measure of subjectivity in the final selection. Please understand, the selection process is not surgical nor rigidly quantitative. Most of the dozens of nominees will be outstanding. Most will fulfill the published criteria. That being said, meeting the criteria may not be enough.