Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
June 13, 2003
Summerlee receives prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship
University of Guelph incoming president Alastair Summerlee has been awarded a prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship for outstanding leadership in teaching, education and academic program development, it was announced today.
Summerlee, currently provost and vice-president (academic), is the only U of G professor to earn the honour while serving as an administrator and is the first president-elect in Canada to be named a 3M Fellow. He will succeed Mordechai Rozanski as U of G’s seventh president July 15. “It’s an incredible honour to even be nominated,” said Summerlee, referring to the extensive nomination process. “It’s overwhelming to think that in addition to my teaching, there are things in my portfolio that make people think I’m worth recommending for a 3M teaching fellowship.”
Eight Canadian professors were awarded fellowships this year, sponsored by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Summerlee is the 12th U of G faculty member to receive the award. He was nominated by the Ontario Veterinary College, which he joined in 1988 as a member of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. He was recognized for being a pioneer in curriculum development and a worldwide recognized facilitator of problem-based learning, as well as for his distinguished and extensive undergraduate and graduate teaching.
“This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for Alastair,” said president Mordechai Rozanski. “He has aspired to the highest quality of teaching and scholarship during his exemplary career and is an inspiration both inside and outside of the classroom. Alastair inspires students to want to learn, and as an administrator, he motivates his colleagues to create learning environments that inspire people to learn. He is personally dedicated to ensuring that our students leave this university not just with knowledge, but with the desire to know even more. This award is an acknowledgment of that commitment, and I am delighted that he has received this honour.”
Summerlee is renowned for his strong commitment to teaching and to his students. In 1991, he was recognized with a Distinguished Professorial Teaching Award from the U of G Faculty Association. He has continued teaching while holding administrative positions both at the University of Bristol and at Guelph, where he was appointed OVC’s associate dean in 1992, dean of graduate studies in 1995, associate vice-president (academic) in 1999 and provost in 2000. “I will continue to teach next year when I am president as well,” Summerlee said. “I value every moment with students as precious and as an opportunity to challenge them. We each have to have a reason to want to learn, and the teacher has to provide the circumstances or the situations to motivate that learning.”
Also known as an innovator in curriculum development, Summerlee launched the extensive revision of the veterinary program at OVC and helped create the University of Guelph-Humber, a new venture between the University and Humber College that allows students to earn an honours degree and a college diploma in only four years. He has also been recognized internationally for his scholarship and publications in the biomedical sciences. He holds a B.Sc., B.V.Sc. and PhD from the University of Bristol.
In total, 178 educators from 39 universities have been recognized by the 3M award since its inception in 1986. The fellowships include a citation and an invitation to participate in a three-day retreat, where winners share teaching experiences and discuss new ideas.
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