Chari Rangachari (2008)

Patangi-RangachariAffiliation at the time of the award: McMaster University, Medicine.

Citation: Chari wants the university to stop being a mere teaching shop, serving immediate rather than long term needs. He sees the university as a forum for disciplined dissent in which it is the professor’s task to create a cadre of enthusiastic trouble-makers who will take society by the scruff of the neck and force it to examine real not perceived needs.

He is an expert on problem-based learning, to which he was converted, after some preliminary doubts. His problem-setting skills inspire his students to write of him in glowing terms: “Thank you Chari, for allowing us to explore, free from the chains of boring professors and memorized exams.” For Chari, the university is a privileged space in which the autonomous learner should be free to explore new answers to even newer fields, not memorizing old answers to even older problems.

Chari talks dangerous talk, talk that can inflame our universities and set them and their students where they deserve to be: at the cutting edge of intellectual development in Canada. This world, according to Chari, is a world worth striving for.