Awards Banquet at STLHE

I saw the most remarkable thing last night. I was attending a banquet honouring the newest recipients of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship at the STLHE Conference in Edmonton. First of all, just consider this: a national award that gets a ton of exposure through MacLeans and elsewhere in Canada — people recognized for their dedication to teaching in higher education, despite working in environments that do not always support academics who emphasize teaching in their careers.

But that isn’t what I found to be remarkable, even though it was kind of nice. What was stunning was the reaction of the crowd when the recipients were introduced. The audience went nuts… standing ovations, hoots, shouts from all over the place…and it all went on for a long time. This is the first academic award ceremony I’ve ever attended where there was such warmth, such enthusiasm, such genuine happiness for the people being recognized. These people aren’t rock stars, but something tells me this is as close as they’ll get to feeling like one in their lives. Good on ’em, and well done STLHE, Armad Ashad, Sylvia Riselay, 3M and MacLeans for making it such a great celebration.

By the way, our very own Ernie Walker (Anthropology, University of Saskatchewan) was one of the recipients. If you know anything about Ernie, you know why.

And to top off the evening, I ran into Peter Arthur, a friend and alumnus of our program. Great to catch up with Peter, who is at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna and working furiously to finish his PhD dissertation.


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