His scientific research has focused on the effects of inflammatory mediators on ion transport, but if there is one thing that has made Patangi K. Rangachari, emeritus professor at McMaster University in Canada, world famous, it is his contributions to university education. The Esteve Foundation instigated a new international activity, Meet the Expert, with the visit of one of the most outstanding exponents of student-oriented university education. Rangachari gave a conference on 10 October 2016, open to the general public, at the inaugural session of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Health of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
Born in India in 1943, Rangachari has spent more than half his professional life at McMaster University, the cradle of Problem-Based Learning, the learning method that puts students in charge and is now used in many Spanish universities. ?I had never heard of this methodology before and initially I was very sceptical about what I thought was a ludicrous approach to teaching. But all this changed when I saw tutorial groups in action and realized the enormous promise of letting students take charge,” says the professor.
Since then, Rangachari has adapted the essence of Problem-Based Learning to a variety of situations ranging from basic sciences to the liberal arts, and to classes ranging in size from 20 to 200 students. The goal is at all times to motivate students to take responsibility for their own education, encouraging them to seek, synthesise and integrate information from different sources and share it with others. “I feel quite strongly that students who are motivated, enthusiastic and involved will learn better,” he asserts.
Patangi K. Rangachari’s conference on 10 October on the past, present and future of teaching in pharmacology was complemented in the morning by a private meeting at which around a dozen lecturers from various Spanish universities had the chance to share their concerns and experiences in pharmacology studies. This first ‘Meet the Expert’ session of the Esteve Foundation enjoyed the support of the Spanish Society of Pharmacology, the Spanish Society of Clinical Pharmacology and the Catalan Society of Pharmacology.