Congratulations to Dr. Marshall Beier named a 3M National Teaching Fellow
Dr. Marshall Beier, an Associate Professor of Political Science in the field of international relations, has been named a 3M National Teaching Fellow -- Canada’s highest award for teaching instruction.
Congratulations to Dr. Marshall Beier, an Associate Professor of Political Science in the field of international relations, who has been named a 3M National Teaching Fellow -- Canada’s highest award for teaching instruction.
Beier described the award as a “tremendous honour”. He said “good teaching is not just about imparting knowledge. It’s about involving students in knowledge, making them feel a stake in it and bringing them into knowledge production.”
A political scientist with a passion for inspiring students to think independently, Beier teaches mentees to become mentors -- lessons that carry far beyond the field of their study and into the realm of leadership.
Combining research excellence with leadership and innovation in teaching and curriculum development, Marshall Beier continues a tradition in the department of political science. He builds on the commitments and strengths of McMaster by linking scholarship with teaching.
To challenge student assumptions about global politics, Beier structures his second year global politics course using stories and narratives like the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy. This helps to illustrate the indeterminate nature of international relations and the importance of viewpoint for understanding the complexity surrounding who shapes global political outcomes.
Beier offers third and fourth year undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about international politics and arms control by engaging in original research. Redefining our understanding of experiential learning, Dr. Beier introduces large arms control simulations with 100 participants and indeterminate outcomes and processes in order for students to learn more about arms control. He engages senior students in redesigning this simulation for lower level students and models classes and course work on the work that faculty themselves are engaged in.
“Research is indispensable to teaching. To stay fresh, to keep your course content up to date, to continually disseminate new knowledge, you have to have a research agenda,” Beier said. “What I’ve found is that the opposite is also true: students are not afraid to ask what would seem to be perhaps heretical questions. The heretical questions are very often the goads to new thought, to creativity, to new movement in knowledge, and I’ve found that very important.”
Dr. Beier is starting to incorporate some of his most recent research on the militarism of childhood in to his courses. This research is also starting to attract attention from potential graduate students interested in working with him on the subject.
This is the fifth time Dr. Beier has been recognized for teaching excellence. He was previously awarded the McMaster Student Union’s Faculty Teaching Award for the Social Sciences (2003), the Ontario Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award (2007), the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2009), and the Canadian Political Science Association’s biennial Teaching Excellence Prize (2010).
The 3M National Teaching Fellowship aims to recognize excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level as well as commitment to the improvement of university teaching.
The group of 10 winners for 2012 become part of a group of 268 outstanding instructors who have been named to the fellowship since the program began in 1968.