Del Harnish (1998)

harnishAffiliation at the time of the award: McMaster University, Pathology and Biology.

Citation: Del Harnish has an outstanding record as an innovative educator by students in any of the courses in which he has participated and by colleagues with whom he has worked. In a Department that carries one of the heaviest teaching loads in the University, Del’s leadership has shown that new and successful approaches could be introduced into large classes. He has been involved in several courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels but has primary responsibility for teaching the largest second year cell biology course and fourth year virology course. His ratings in both courses have been consistently high over the last five years and are well above departmental averages. Del also contributes significantly to the training of several senior thesis students in his laboratory each year. He provides his students with a sense that their concerns are of prime importance. In the last two years, he has been awarded certificates of teaching excellence by the McMaster Students’ Union and was a 1998 recipient of The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (Course or Resources Design).

Del has worked hard to successfully introduce an electronic Little Red Schoolhouse into his own courses and into the courses of colleagues around the campus. This model is a cornerstone of his educational initiatives which promote student collaboration, knowledge construction, critical thinking, more opportunity for interdisciplinary work, and a strong sense of participation in a very large learning community. Del has conducted many workshops on learning within McMaster, participated in educational forums organized through the Instructional Development Centre and has conducted action-oriented research on learning issues in his courses. For the last three years, he has served as a member of Undergraduate Council, as a member of the Theme School Committee and is a strong advocate for change in first year programs. He recently served on a Presidential Committee whose task it was to study the role of technology in teaching and learning at McMaster and to make clear recommendations for the future. He has consulted nationally and internationally on various aspects of university education.