U of G Prof Receives National Teaching Award

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Dr. John Dawson

University of Guelph biochemistry professor Dr. John Dawson is one of 10 educators across Canada to receive this year’s 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award.

The award, sponsored by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), celebrates extraordinary educational leadership and contributions to post-secondary teaching and learning.

“The University of Guelph is proud of our reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching and learning, and our history of having faculty members awarded 3M Fellowships,” said Dr. Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president (academic). “I am delighted to see recognition of Dr. Dawson’s leadership in this area. He is not only a stellar teacher but also a mentor and role model for his colleagues, extending the benefit of his expertise to students throughout biological sciences.”

Dawson, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is a leader in education research and is the inaugural faculty director of the College of Biological Science (CBS) Office of Educational Scholarship and Practice (COESP) – the only office in Canada focused on facilitating best teaching practices in biology.

He has focused on developing, implementing and assessing learning outcomes in the molecular life sciences, including mentoring educators to explore new approaches to education.

The greatest impact of this work has been building community within the college, said Dawson.

“Community is so important but something that’s been particularly hard to achieve during this last year,” he said. “It’s challenging with remote learning to easily connect with students and colleagues, but helping to guide our instructors with best practices for making connections during this form of learning has been very gratifying.”

Dawson said he is “thrilled” to receive this national award.

“This is an endorsement of an educator’s entire career, so for me to be counted among the country’s finest educators is just an honour of a lifetime.”

For Dawson, teaching is about helping people connect with new ideas.

“There is nothing more motivating than to see that moment when someone – whether it’s a student or a colleague — gets something you’re teaching them.”

CBS dean Dr. Mazyar Fallah said the award is “well-deserved recognition of Dr. Dawson’s outstanding contributions to education at U of G and beyond.

“Dr. Dawson is a great asset and leader within the College of Biological Science. His research and teaching are exemplary, and as the founding director of COESP, he has shown dedication, innovation and drive in supporting the evolution of biology teaching methods and practice.”

3M National Teaching Fellows become lifetime members of STLHE and the Council of 3M National Fellows for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Earlier this year, Dawson received the John Bell Award for outstanding educational leadership at U of G.