Fiona Rawle

UTM biology professor wins 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 3:49pm
Shauna Rempel

University of Toronto Mississauga biology professor Fiona Rawle has received a 2022 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award. 

“Professor Rawle’s dedication to a teaching philosophy emphasizing kindness, empathy and flexibility has made her an invaluable member of UTM,” says UTM’s Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean Rhonda McEwen. “This recognition is richly deserved.” 

The annual fellowship is Canada’s most prestigious recognition of excellence in educational leadership and teaching at the post-secondary level. 

“The 3M National Teaching Fellowship is so meaningful to me,” says Rawle, who is also UTM's associate dean, undergraduate, and the director of the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC). 

“I’m really looking forward to meeting and collaborating with the other award winners. It’s a reminder to me about what is so important in scholarly work and teaching practice – relationships with colleagues, collaborators and students.” 

Ten fellowships were awarded this year across the country, including educators from institutions such as Trent University and the University of Saskatchewan. 

In announcing the award, judges noted that “she is an advocate for creating robust, socially just, and indeed joyful classrooms defined by collaboration, creativity, and risk-taking.”  

Rawle joins an illustrious group of 340 individuals to have ever won the national prize, which was founded in 1986 to honour exceptional contributions to post-secondary teaching and learning.  

Since 1992, 20 University of Toronto professors have received the fellowship.   

“Professor Rawle is an educational leader whose approach inspires colleagues across the university, and whose impact reaches audiences of teachers and administrators internationally,” says associate professor of history Mairi Cowan, who nominated Rawle for the award.

Like Rawle, Cowan is cross-appointed to the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy.  “Professor Rawle has a critically reflective teaching practice that is inclusive, honest, passionate, and evidence-based.” 

The fellowship is sponsored by both 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Rawle and the other fellows in her cohort will be expected to develop a funded project that will continue to elevate teaching and learning at their own institutions, and to participate in larger, collaborative initiatives such as the STLHE conference.  

Rawle has previously won several awards focused on teaching, including the University of Toronto President’s Teaching Award and OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Teaching Award in 2018. She’s also a past recipient of the E.A. Robinson Teaching Excellence Award and the University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award.  

During the pandemic, Rawle, in partnership with Ann Gagné, educational developer with RGASC, and Simone Laughton, head of library and instructional materials, began providing support for faculty to foster a pedagogy of kindness at UTM.  

Further reading:  

  1. Maclean's introduces the 2022 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award winners
  2. Showing Kindness: Biology professor strengthens human connections during uncertain times
  3. Fiona Rawle shares kindness-based teaching philosophy in 12 steps
  4. Early Career Teaching Award spotlight: Q & A with biologist Fiona Rawle