Rick Butler (2002)

butlerAffiliation at the time of the award: McMaster University, Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

Citation: Richard has a campus-wide reputation as an outstanding instructor at McMaster University. He teaches in two different faculties, Health Sciences and Science as an associate member in the departments of Biology and Physics and Astronomy. Richard consistently ranks at or near the top of faculty members teaching in the Faculty of Science. In Health Sciences he has taught medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy students and these students have all indicated that his courses have made a significant impact on them and the way they study. According to one student: “This is the first time that I’ve been asked to think instead of memorize and it has restored my faith in professors.”

It is not surprising, therefore, that he has won a number of teaching awards at McMaster including the Medical Class Teaching Excellence Award, the McMaster Students’ Union Award, the Overall Teaching Award for the University, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. He has also won the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Award.

Richard’s energy and enthusiasm are not just directed towards classroom instruction and personal communication with his students. He has successfully created new courses, and incorporated a problem-based, self-directed approach into all courses that he teaches. The exceptional quality of his teaching materials are such that they are used at several universities in and outside Canada.

When he was chair of the Undergraduate Council, the Council introduced significant changes for undergraduates, among them the continuation of Theme Schools and the approval of new ones such as Globalization. He has also had a successful history of applying for and receiving teaching and learning grants from the university. Richard has been invited to participate in educational meetings and forums in Canada, Italy, and the United States.

His delight in education is infectious and he continues to have a dramatic effect on his students and peers.

3M Speaker
Topic : Credentializing or Education – What do students really want?

  • I paid my tuition, gimme an A!
  • How do students respond to assessments that are not fact based?
  • Do assessments drive the curriculum or vice versa?
  • After a course is completed, what do we think students really know (and, please, not facts)?
  • How can they handle the huge amounts of factual information that is accumulating at astonishing rates?
  • Information prejudices (eg., I know that’s so because my mother told me).

butlerr@mcmaster.ca