Updated: May 16
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2023: The Maple League
of Universities is proud to announce that three students – SunMin Park from Mount Allison University, Liam O’Toole from Bishop’s University, and Oliver Storseth, from St. Francis Xavier University – are recipients of the prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship (2023), the highest national recognition of student educational leadership in Canada.
Only ten fellowships are awarded each year from over 1.1 million eligible students attending Canadian post-secondary institutions.
The track record for these four small, liberal education universities is extraordinary: in both 2020 and 2022, four students from Maple League Universities were awarded 3M Fellowships, while three students in 2021 and three students in 2023 received this recognition.
Fourteen 3M National Student Fellows in four years, drawn from small, primarily undergraduate institutions, is evidence that these four universities are increasingly differentiated in a sector that has seen growing class sizes, faced increased financial pressure, and witnessed the massification of universities. In contrast, the four universities in the Maple League have remained small by design, doubling down on mentorship, inclusive high-impact practices, smaller class sizes, and access to research and leadership opportunities that are much harder to access at larger universities. In other words, 35% of nationally recognized student change-makers across Canada come from universities with fewer than 4000 students per campus.
This track record of national recognition is aligned with the foundational values of the Maple League, an academic consortium of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier – whose mandate is to lead conversations on quality undergraduate education in Canada.
Stewarding and celebrating the success of undergraduate students through the Maple League’s 3M Mentorship Program is an example of the student-centred approach to higher education in this model of 21st-century liberal education.
Dr. Jessica Riddell, Executive Director of the Maple League, and herself a 3M National Teaching Fellow, notes, “This national award recognizes the incredible and heroic work student leaders do—often in grassroots ways, in the margins, or on the edges of institutions. The 3M Fellowship values student-citizens who build things for others on their campuses and in their communities in generous and generative ways. The submission process requires student leaders to critically reflect on their journeys as learners; this is not an intuitive or easy-to-navigate process, so we created pathways to make the process more accessible and foster a sense of belonging.”
One of this year’s recipients, SunMin Park, is a Marjorie Young Bell Scholar Intern and Honours Biology student at Mount Allison University. She reflects on the impact of the award: “It’s really an incredible honour to be selected as one of 10 students awarded with the 3M National Student Fellowship. Writing my dossier was a great opportunity to reflect on my journey so far, but more importantly, it served as a motivator for me to keep working hard to make a positive impact in my community. I want to keep doing my part to carve out spaces for narratives and voices that have been historically excluded and continue to be marginalized – whether that’s in academia, science/research, or healthcare.”
Dr. Peter Ricketts, President of Acadia University and Chair of the Maple League Presidents Council, adds, “The Maple League universities strive to build critical thinkers and leaders through the delivery of an extraordinary 21st-century liberal education. Having three students from Maple League institutions in this year’s 3M winners reinforces that our model of education is more relevant than ever.”
In 2019, the Maple League created a 3M National Student Fellow Mentorship Program to provide on-campus student leaders with resources for critical reflection about the most pressing issues we face in higher education. Nominees are asked to critically reflect on their leadership capacity in the context of their educational journeys and the biggest challenges facing post-secondary education in Canada. They were also challenges to respond to the following thought prompt: “If you had the resource capacity, how would you implement concrete solutions to these challenges?”
The future is in good hands with these remarkable student leaders!
About the Maple League
The Maple League is made up of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier – who together form an alliance of small, rural, undergraduate liberal education institutions with Francophone heritage and a commitment to truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, we provide extraordinary opportunities to transform as leaders, scholars, and institutions. The Maple League creates distinctive learning environments that ensure our graduates are capable of navigating an increasingly complex world as citizens and leaders dedicated to the values of a just and civil society. For more information, visit our website: www.mapleleague.ca
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Jessica Riddell
Executive Director, The Maple League of Universities
Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Full Professor, Department of English, Bishop's University
3M National Teaching Fellow (2015)
Director, University Communications
Director of Marketing & Communications
Mount Allison University
Director of Marketing & Communications
St. FX University