Memorial University of Newfoundland is home to one of this country’s top teachers.
Dr. TA Loeffler, a well-known professor from the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, is one of just 10 Canadians to receive 3M National Teaching Fellowships for 2008.
The recipients of this year’s awards were released on Feb. 7.
The fellowships celebrate and reward excellence in teaching and educational leadership at the post-secondary level. They are a partnership between 3M and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
The annual award, the only one of its kind in Canada, is given to individuals who demonstrate an exceptionally high degree of leadership and commitment to the improvement of university teaching across the country. Dr. Loeffler said she was humbled to be selected as a fellow.
“It means I must be doing something right,” she said on Friday, Feb. 8. “Seriously though, it cements my commitment to experiential teaching and learning. It gives me excitement and inspiration to continue to use my creativity to develop learning experiences that move students to new heights (literally and figuratively). It makes me want to delve deeper into learning theory and research to continue to help others teach better as well.”
She credits Memorial’s Instructional Development Office who helped co-ordinate the dossier for the selection committee to consider her nomination.
Dr. Loeffler, who began teaching at Memorial in 1995, is already a recognized educator, researcher and teacher. In 2005, she received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching here at Memorial; in 2006 she was honoured with the Atlantic Association of Universities Distinguished Teaching Award; while in 2007, she was chosen as one of this country's most influential women in sports by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.
In addition to her classroom pursuits, Dr. Loeffler is also Memorial’s resident mountaineer, tackling some of the world’s highest peaks. She attempted Mount Everest last year.
“It's very special to be singled out on the national stage,” she said. “To be selected from a pool of 52 excellent educators from across the country is like reaching the summit of a mountain – it requires 10,000 hours of hard work and a few moments of luck. I am so honoured.”
Dr. Loeffler will formally accept her award at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education conference in June in Windsor, Ont., and she’ll also attend a retreat in Quebec this November.
“I will be traveling to Windsor directly from Africa where I am leading a climb to Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak with a group of six Newfoundland women,” she added proudly.
This is the eighth time that faculty of Memorial have been honoured with this award. The other recipients were: Dr. Geoffrey Rayner-Canham in 2007, Dr. Georg Gunther in 2005, Dr. Andrea Rose in 2004, Dr. Alex Faseruk in 2003, Professor Shane O’Dea in 2002, Dr. Michael Collins in 1998 and Dr. Penny Hansen in 1990.
Dr. Loeffler said it bodes well for Memorial to have such accomplished educators and faculty members.
“This tells me that Memorial is fostering an environment that recognizes and supports excellence in teaching and education leadership,” she noted.
“It also tells me that the Instructional Development office at MUN is working hard to improve the quality of teaching at MUN and devotes significant resources to the development of award nominations. Maureen Dunne and her staff are excellent at their ever increasing mission here on campus.”
Currently, 228 3M National Teaching Fellows represent a broad range of academic disciplines from 43 Canadian universities.