Jay Wilson

Wilson wins coveted national teaching award

When he found out that he had won the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, University of Saskatchewan associate professor Jay Wilson was secretly thrilled that he could take a break from writing about teaching.

By HenryTye Glazebrook

Now he’s looking forward to working with others who are similarly interested in bringing weighty recognition to their campus. “Knowing that I never have to write another application based on my teaching philosophy again—and I’ve written lots of those—is great,” Wilson said with a smile. “They’re good to do, but you can only reflect so much. I think it’s time for me to mentor other people and help them to accomplish their goals.”

Wilson was selected by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for his teaching, mentorship and research in the U of S College of Education, where he both instructs classes and is the department head of curriculum studies.

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship is the highest teaching honour in Canada, awarded to only 10 recipients each year from coast- to-coast. It is also one of a plethora of prestigious prizes Wilson has received over the course of his career, including the Master Teacher Award in 2015—the highest teaching honour at the U of S—and the Provost’s Outstanding New Teacher Award in 2010.

“This is the pinnacle of recognition for teaching and learning in Canada. It doesn't get any better than this, so I’m very humbled and very honoured,” he said, adding that he’s adamant that no award is won individually.

“I try to keep things in perspective. Teaching is teamwork. There’s lots of people who have mentored me and lifted my ship, so to speak— and I’m really thankful for that support—so I don’t think about it solely as an individual honour, even though my name is on it.”

Wilson said he is hopeful his recognition will help keep the spotlight on the U of S as a whole, and credits the campus for being a pillar in his life as he has grown as a teacher over the years.

“This campus is already recognized across Canada as being very supportive of teaching and learning,” he said. “I think the award reinforces the fact that we have an environment that fosters positive growth in our teaching and learning leadership.”

What Wilson said he’s most excited about at this point is focusing on his classes, inspiring the next generation of young teachers to strive for the same level of success as he has achieved.

For the time being, he’s putting awards aside.

“The Nobel Prize is the only thing that’s bigger than the 3M,” he said, laughing. “And there’s not much chance that’s going to happen.”