McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Neville and Harnish take new senior roles at the Faculty

Published: November 17, 2015
Del Harnish
Del Harnish, associate dean, undergraduate health sciences
Alan Neville
Alan Neville, associate dean, health professional education

The doubling in enrolment and increase in programs at the Faculty of Health Sciences over the past decade has led to the development of a new senior administrative role. The job of associate dean, education has been split into two positions.

Alan Neville is the associate dean, health professional education, and Del Harnish is the new associate dean, undergraduate health sciences education. Their five-year terms began July 1, 2015, and have been recently confirmed by the University's senate.

"We need to ensure that we maintain and grow our renowned excellence in health science education. Both Dr. Neville and Dr. Harnish are known for their dedication to innovation and high quality educational programs and, through them, we know that focus will continue at the Faculty," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "They are both experienced in bringing on outstanding faculty, developing award-winning curriculum and attracting high potential students."

Neville has been associate dean, education for the past five years. Before that, he was assistant dean of the undergraduate medical program for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine for 13 years. He is also a professor of oncology and medicine, and a medical oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre.

In his new role, Neville will oversee the Faculty's health professional programs including medicine, midwifery, and physician assistant. He is also responsible for educational infrastructure and the development of interprofessional education.

"Dr. Neville has had a significant impact on health education at McMaster over almost two decades, and he has played a key role in supporting and growing our academic mission," said Kelton. "The Faculty will continue to benefit greatly from his expertise."

Harnish, a professor of pathology and molecular medicine, had been the assistant dean of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program (B.H.Sc.) since it was established in 2000.

He now leads undergraduate education at the Faculty, including the burgeoning B.H.Sc. program, and development of new undergraduate education programs in the Faculty and joint programs with other Faculties.

"Dr. Harnish was pivotal in creating and growing our popular and innovative Bachelor of Health Sciences Program, and it has had great success through his leadership," said Kelton. "I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to this new role."

Both men have been deeply involved in the development of curriculum and educational programs.

Neville received his undergraduate and medical training from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After residency training in Aberdeen, McMaster and the University of Wisconsin, he joined McMaster faculty in 1984.

His research interests lie in medical education, and he is co-author of the medical school's COMPASS curriculum. He has chaired a number of national educational working groups, particularly at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. He has been actively involved in the development of national collaborative undergraduate medical school curricula in aboriginal health, gender health, complementary and alternative medicine and palliative and end-of-life care. He has also been involved in faculty development in the areas of problem-based learning (PBL) tutoring and interprofessional education.

In 2010 Neville received three awards for his educational leadership: the President's Award for Exemplary National Leadership in Academic Medicine from the AFMC; the President's Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership from McMaster University; and the Ari Shali Teaching Award from the graduating medical students. In 2012, he was part of the Program for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (PIPER) team that received the national Alan Blizzard Award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Harnish earned both bachelor and master degrees in biology from Queen's University. His PhD in biology from McMaster was followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Alberta and Harvard University. He joined the faculty at McMaster in 1984 in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

He was founding assistant dean of the B.H.Sc. program, which was designed to offer students an understanding of health from biological, behavioural and population-based perspectives, with a foundation in science. Graduates of the program have taken up careers ranging from medicine and health research to hospital administration and public health, as well as becoming professionals in a wide range of careers.

Harnish was awarded one of Canada's most prestigious teaching awards, a 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award, in 1998. He was part of the team of instructors who won the 2005 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching (Course or Resource Design), as well as the 2005 national Alan Blizzard Award for collaborative course development and contributions to teaching from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

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