The Howard Barrows Award was established in the Fall of 2010 to coincide with the 10 Year Anniversary of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program. This special award reflects the guiding principles of the program, to promote student engagement in their own learning by providing a stimulating teaching environment. The Barrows Award honours exceptional teachers who have taught students, primarily at the undergraduate level. The name is chosen specifically to acknowledge the contributions of an eminent teacher, Dr. Howard Barrows who is widely recognized as an architect of self-directed, problem-based learning and pioneered the concept of using simulated patients to train medical students. His contributions to McMaster University in the past make it fitting that the award be named in his honour. Last year, Dr. Barrows gave the inaugural award to Dr. Jaclyn Duffin, a medical historian from Queens University, Kingston, ON.
This year’s recipient was Dr. Harold B. White III. He is a Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry and the Director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Program at the U. Delaware, New Jersey, USA. He has had a long standing interest in PBL and is on the Editorial Board of an International Journal, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. Unfortunately Dr. Barrows passed away in March 2011 and the award was presented to Dr. White by Mrs. Phyllis Barrows.
During his stay, Dr.White gave a seminar organised jointly by the BHSc (Hons) Programme and the Department of Biochemistry. His talk entitled: “Why Does my Cruorine change Color ?” was an excellent example of using historical examples to teach undergraduate biochemistry. He also met both the first year students taking HTHSCI 1I06 and the second year students taking HTHSCI 2E03 , where he demonstrated his teaching strategies. Both sessions were very lively.
A special symposium was held in conjunction with the award to honour Dr.Barrows contributions to education. In the first part of the symposium, Dr.S. Denburg chaired a session where Drs. Neufeld, McCaughan from McMaster, Hmelo-Silver (Rutgers) and White (Delaware) highlighted his contributions to medical education
In the second half, a symposium was organised focusing on the challenges of implementing student-centred learning in a large class setting. The session chaired by Dr.Vajoczki (CLL) included participants drawn from several different departments, Aksan (History), Kim (Psychology), Lozinski (Mathematics and Statistics), O’Shaughnessy and Holmes (Economics) and MacDonald (Biochemistry).