Source: Athabasca University
When colleagues and students describe Athabasca University (AU) chemistry professor Dr. Dietmar Kennepohl, they use words like “fantastic,” “creative,” and “outstanding.”
After a quick review of his accomplishments as a STEM educator it’s easy to see why he has won the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, Canada’s most prestigious recognition of excellence in educational leader and teaching at the post-secondary level. Only 10 fellows are named each year, and he is the first AU professor to win this award since it was created in 1986.
“It’s an incredible honour to be invited into the prestigious community of 3M National Teaching Fellows,” he said. “I thank my students for their inspiration and my colleagues for their support. It’s a privilege to be a scholar at an open and online university that encourages and embodies teaching excellence, educational innovation, and access to learning for all.”
Kennepohl’s innovative approach to education, his willingness to continually assess and reassess his own performance, and his passion for undergraduate teaching and lifelong learning help him to bring out the best in all his students.
The four principles of his educational philosophy—openness, persistence, seeking evidence, and celebrating differences—resonate with his students. As one of them observed, “He is aware that all students learn differently, and he definitely makes sure everyone benefits from knowledge transfer that needs to occur in order to be successful.”
As an educator at an online university, an innovative approach is essential—and in this area he shines. For example, the rigour of the home-based laboratory kits he designed is widely recognized. More recently, he won multiple awards for his Wiki textbook, which not only saves his students money but also empowers them to use their own knowledge to help improve the learning experience of others.
Kennepohl’s drive to provide every student with the very best educational experience is widely recognized by his colleagues, both within AU and among his peers around the world.