Steven Barnes wins prestigious national teaching award



Steven Barnes, a senior instructor in the department of psychology, has been recognized as one of Canada’s best university teachers. Dr. Barnes received a 2019 3M National Teaching Fellow Award for his leadership in enhancing post-secondary teaching excellence and for superlative undergraduate teaching, sustained over several years.

Dr. Barnes is well known for his work related to student mental health and wellbeing. He is co-founder of the Kaleidoscope, a peer-run support group for individuals experiencing mental health issues. He is actively involved in several ongoing projects aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of students by examining the relationship between learning environments and mental health. He is also a network lead and member of CREST.BD, a multidisciplinary collaborative network of researchers, healthcare providers, people living with bipolar disorder, their family members and supporters.

“Exceptional commitment to student learning – both inside and outside the classroom – is deserving of recognition, and I can think of no better way to acknowledge Steven’s outstanding record of teaching and educational leadership than by awarding him a 3M National Teaching Fellowship.”
Head, UBC Psychology

Please join us in congratulating Steven Barnes for receiving this honour!


3M National Teaching Fellowship Citation

Steven Barnes 
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia

Steven Barnes cares: he cares about what students learn, about how they learn, and most importantly, about the students themselves. That concern for the student as a whole person extends to their wellness. With the growing appreciation that stress and mental illness are major problems for undergraduates, Steven took action. Along with others on campus, he established a peer-run support group—Kaleidoscope—for students facing mental health issues. Steven’s active concern is born of his own struggles with mental illness, a story that he has the courage to share with both his students and his community.

Steven’s has shown extensive leadership in curriculum design, open access online resources, and innovative technology. He designed six massive open online courses (MOOCs) and helped design a first-year course for students with low English language proficiency. He created a large body of stop-motion animations that deal with challenging topics for students of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and since they are all freely accessible on YouTube, they have been used by instructors around the world. Steven has championed open source materials that help alleviate financial pressure on students.


The 3M National Teaching Fellowship was created in 1986 by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) to recognize exceptional teachers in post-secondary education. It celebrates college and university educators who show leadership in enhancing post-secondary education—often on a national or international level.

Recipients of the 3M National Teaching Fellowships become lifetime members of the society and are officially welcomed at the STLHE annual conference, this year at the University of Manitoba. They also participate in a four-day teaching and learning retreat in Montebello, Que.