A University of Guelph professor known for her groundbreaking nutrition courses and creative teaching approach has been awarded a 2016 3M National Teaching Fellowship, considered Canada’s top teaching honour.

Andrea Buchholz, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, is U of G’s 15th 3M Fellow.


“I am pleased and proud that Professor Buchholz has received this honour,” said Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic).

“It recognizes her skills and commitment to teaching and learning-centred education, and speaks to the high calibre of faculty at U of G.”

Sponsored by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the awards recognize exceptional contributions to teaching and learning.

Letters supporting Buchholz’s 3M nomination call her “inspiring” and a “passionate champion of teaching and learning,” and praise her skills as a teacher, mentor and leader.

Buchholz is among 10 new 3M fellows announced today. Nearly 300 Canadian professors have received the awards since 1986. Winners receive a citation and participate in a three-day educational retreat.

Buchholz said she is “delighted” and “humbled” by the award.

“I’m so lucky to work at an institution that values teaching so highly. University of Guelph is like my giant teaching ‘sandbox,’” she said.

Buchholz has created innovative classes, including “Globesity,” a first-year seminar on obesity worldwide.

She says her teaching is inspired by her hobby of comedic improvisational theatre, in which the audience becomes part of the action.

“I try to break down the ‘fourth wall’ separating me from my student. We learn actively together: real-time, in-the-moment engagement with content.”

Buchholz also led the reform of Guelph’s applied human nutrition program, which has become a model across the country for its emphasis on learning outcomes. She designed Canada’s first applied clinical skills course in nutrition.

She helped create enLITE, U of G’s Educational Leadership in Teaching Excellence program, which promotes educational leadership through faculty engagement.

Buchholz joined U of G in 2004. She received the 2010 Teaching Award from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, and the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award from the University of Guelph Faculty Association.

Buchholz said learning from her students has been fundamental in her development as a teacher. Referring to her “step-up” club for students needing extra help with coursework, she says, “I get to the nitty-gritty of students’ struggles. Actually, I encourage them to go there — learning can be a messy, winding road. I learn how they learn, and we celebrate when they get it.”