Problem-Based
                 Learning Initiative

Students Matter: The Rewards of University Teaching

J. Kevin Dorsey and P.K. Rangachari, editors (2012)

by Kim E. Barrett, Howard S. Barrows, Christiaan B. Brink, Manuel J. Costa, Edwin E. Daniel, Jacalyn M. Duffin, Penelope A. Hansen, Delsworth G. Harnish, Chiu-Yin Kwan, Joel A. Michael, Harold I. Modell, Dee U. Silverthorn, Harold B. White

205 pages, paper bound

Research intensive universities are now a global phenomenon. The approach that was initially pioneered in the latter half of the 19th century in Germany has now become so successful that it is difficult to imagine any University that does not espouse research or scholarship as a significant component. The research component has become so dominant that recent books (1, 2) castigate universities for short-changing students with their over-emphasis on specialized research to the neglect of teaching. Though many Faculty relish and enjoy teaching, students rarely get to see how exciting or fascinating the teaching experience itself can be. This book will attempt to correct that notion. We hope that through a series of personal narratives students will get a glimpse into a part of a scientist's life and work that is rarely discussed.

The genesis of this book lay in discussions between Howard Barrows and Rangachari several years ago. The inspiration for this book comes from a series produced several decades ago by Annual Reviews Inc, which gathered together essays by scientists that detailed scientific lives. Polanyi (3) noted that science is essentially story-telling and Hoffman (4) has emphasized the same. In education, narrative inquiry has become an acceptable way of detailing teaching lives. Sadly Barrows passed away and these essays have now become a tribute to an inspirational teacher.

Successful biomedical scientists from around the world (Canada, Portugal, South Africa, Taiwan, USA) write the chapters. All of them have operated in the Standard Model of Academia, had grants and published papers in their respective disciplines ranging from biochemistry, physiology, neurosciences, and pharmacology to medical history. What they have in common is the development of a progressive interest and involvement in the design of teaching approaches resulting in significant contributions to education. Several have been on editorial boards of educational journals, have published or edited textbooks and have received awareds for their contributions to education.

In these chapters they each describe what led to what they have done in education and why. In addition, they each describe how they found working with students a most rewarding and satisfying part of their scientific careers.

This book seeks to encourage students entering the biomedical disciplines, as well as young faculty already in these disciplines, to consider teaching, educational innovation and development not only as an important aspect of their scientific career but also for the satisfaction, stimulation and personal learning that comes from working with students.

Reference list:

  1. Hacker, A and Dreifus, C: Higher Education? How colleges are wasting our money and failing our kids--and what we can do about it? Times Books 2010
  2. Pocklington, T and Tupper, A: No Place to Learn: Why Universities are working? UBC Press, Vancouver 2002.
  3. Polanyi, J (1990) On being a scientist http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1986/polanyi-article.html
  4. Hoffman, R (2000) Narrative American Scientist 88: 310-313

Price $25.00 (U.S.) each

click here for an excerpt from the book

Also available for purchase at Amazon.com