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Scholar Alum Honored for Teaching Excellence

Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2020

2011 Honolulu ARCS Scholar Jason Higa received the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa's 2020 Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Recipient of the Ellen M. Koenig Award in Medicine and the Honolulu Chapter's 2011 Scholar of the Year, Jason  is an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“I wonder if I would be where I am today, the same person I’ve become, had it not been for Dr. Jason Higa,” reflected one former student in the nomination materials.

Working in a field that involves volumes of information taught to hundreds of students in mass lectures, with potential long-term life-or-death implications, Jason augments his lectures and magnifies prerequisite knowledge through analogy, mnemonics, physical engagement and incorporation of local and Hawaiian terminology. To complement cross-sectional images of a text, he has students to rise from their seats to collectively represent elements of a process, such as the heart muscle cells pumping blood through various stages of normal to abnormal. Animating these stages of life-to-death simultaneously enlivens intellectual growth and memorializes the solemn responsibilities of future healthcare professionals.

Jason Higa with bird and dog