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Two Trent University Professors Receive Prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowships


Dr. Deborah Berrill and Dr. Susan Wurtele Honoured by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Thursday, June 15, 2006, Peterborough

Dr. Deborah Berrill, director of Trent's School of Education and Professional Learning, and Dr. Susan Wurtele, a Trent geography professor, have both been awarded prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowships, in recognition of their excellence in teaching and educational leadership at the national level.

The award, co-sponsored by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and 3M Canada Company, is given annually to professors who excel in the teaching of their own courses and demonstrate an exceptionally high degree of leadership and commitment to the improvement of university teaching across disciplines.

"On behalf of the entire Trent community and particularly our students, I congratulate Professor Berrill and Professor Wurtele for this national award recognizing their exceptional commitment to teaching and leadership in the classroom," said Trent President Bonnie Patterson. "Their honour adds to a prestigious list of previous 3M Teaching Fellowships Award winners at Trent – and further reinforces Trent's reputation for excellence in teaching. Trent's renown for quality of education is clearly an outcome of our professors' extraordinary commitment to the centrality of the individual student."

The 3M Teaching Fellowship recognizes Professor Deborah Berrill's work with the School of Education and Professional Learning, as well as her significant contributions to the Trent University Interactive Learning Center. A noted expert in her field, Dr. Berrill has given more than 50 presentations and workshops on many topics related to teaching and learning.

"It is very humbling to be a recipient when I know of so many others -- at Trent and at other higher education institutions -- who are doing very innovative things, engaging students and supporting colleagues," said Dr. Berrill. "I am deeply thrilled to be receiving this award and grateful to all of those who made this happen."

One of Professor Berrill's many nominators referred to her as being "superhuman." Another nominator stated, "Deborah's influence on me has demonstrated that the sky is the limit, and that, truly, one teacher can make a difference."

Associate Professor Susan Wurtele is being recognized by 3M for her passion, and an amazing talent for being able to connect with all students. A professor in the Geography department since 1994, Dr. Wurtele received her undergraduate degree from Trent. In terms of teaching, she is known for her good humour and for placing value not only on academic rigour, but on challenging her students to grow as thinkers, citizens and mature human beings.

"I am thrilled and speechless all at the same time. It doesn't get better than this," said Professor Wurtele. "This award gives national recognition to something I am really passionate about. It is really for all of my students – it reaffirms how important the student really is."

Dr. Wurtele's nominators had nothing but praise for their favourite teacher, calling her an "extraordinary teacher" and stating, "She transformed the way I thought." Another nominator referred to Professor Wurtele's courses as "life changing."

Professors Berrill and Wurtele, along with the eight other 2006 Fellows, will be celebrated on Thursday, June 15 at the STLHE Conference being held at the University of Toronto. One of the other winners, Dr. Susan Drain, from the department of English at Mount Saint Vincent University, completed her undergraduate work at Trent. In November, they will all participate in an exclusive three day retreat at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Quebec to celebrate their outstanding achievements and to share their experiences and vision.

Since 1986 when the award was introduced, 208 Canadian university professors, representing 41 different universities, have been recognized as 3M Teaching Fellowship Award recipients. With this year's recognition of Dr. Berrill and Dr. Wurtele, Trent University is now home to five 3M Teaching Fellows, including: Dr. Alan Slavin (1993), Dr. Stephen Brown (1997), and Dr. David Poole (2003).


For more information, please contact:

Professor Deborah Berrill, (705) 748-1011 x7516 or (705) 740-3300 (cell)

Professor Susan Wurtele, (705) 876-8433 (home) or (705) 931-1705 (cell) 

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Last Updated June 15, 2006