Thompson Rivers University

TRU microbiologist joins prestigious national fellowship

  Posted on: May 3, 2022

KAMLOOPS– A Thompson Rivers University (TRU) microbiologist has won a major Canadian teaching award — her second in two years.

Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham is one of 10 recipients — and the first TRU faculty member — to receive this year’s 3M National Teaching Fellowship.

The fellowship is a prestigious honour sponsored by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Founded in 1986, the fellowship honours exceptional contributions to teaching and learning at the post-secondary level.

STLHE administers five awards. Cheeptham’s 3M award marks the third of those five awards that TRU faculty have received.

Cheeptham and TRU botanist Lyn Baldwin won the STLHE Desire 2 Learn (D2L) award in 2020 and 2018, respectively. And in 2019, more than 40 university faculty, staff, deans and students were named as recipients of the Alan Blizzard Award for excellence in collective teaching. 

3M award recipients are invited to a group retreat in fall where they can share knowledge and create connections that will continue to promote leadership and excellence in teaching and learning.

“This award means a lot to me as a visible minority female immigrant scientist, an educator and a mother. The honour of being awarded with a national recognition of excellence in educational leadership, teaching and innovation at the post-secondary level in Canada is humbling,” Cheeptham said.

“I am excited for what is to come. In addition to receiving this lifelong honor of being named a 3M National Teaching Fellow, I will join the leading community of more than 350 teaching fellows across Canada to engage in improving teaching and learning in higher education.”

TRU Dean of Science Greg Anderson said the award is well deserved and reflects Cheeptham’s dedication to her teaching excellence and educational leadership and innovation.

“Ann has been instrumental in creating student learning activities that go well beyond the bounds of the classroom, including organizing a field school, undergraduate and graduate research activities, and outreach education to recent immigrants. She demonstrates a commitment to creating learning experiences for a wide range of learners,” he said.

“These awards are prestigious and provide the winners with a period of engagement in projects supporting their development, as well as a project related to 3M’s objectives. This also provides exposure at events and conferences for those selected, along with $25,000 for project support.”

TRU President Brett Fairbairn said Cheeptham’s outstanding teaching reflects the best of TRU’s values and commitment to students, teaching and learning.

“Winning one of the top educational awards in Canada shows just how strong TRU’s researchers are as leaders and educators. We are proud to have faculty members such as Dr. Cheeptham at TRU, achieving such recognition,” he said.

“The post-secondary landscape is shifting, and we continue to need exceptional educators and leaders such as these individuals chosen as 2022 3M National Teaching Fellows to facilitate and lead that shift,” said Denise Stockley, STLHE board chair. “These 10 fellows will join a community of peers who seek not only teaching excellence, but equity in higher education.”

“The 3M National Teaching Fellowship honours and celebrates outstanding contributions to teaching and learning in Canadian post-secondary education. This year’s Teaching Fellows embody the highest ideals of teaching excellence and scholarship and represent a broad range of academic disciplines,” said Penny Wise, president of 3M Canada. “Congratulations to this year’s Teaching Fellows. You have gone above and beyond to encourage, support and inspire the next generation of Canada’s leaders to excel.”

Cheeptham said as a leader, she guides students and colleagues to appreciate diversity and respect individual differences.

“The world needs more leaders with integrity who are driven by curiosity and passion. I endeavor to lead, create and develop – to guide our next generation of leaders who will be able to contribute beyond their chosen professions. I am leading my students to become global citizens, empathetic people and lifelong learners.”

Michele Young, TRU manager, communications content
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