Compiled and edited by Jane Rooney and Maureen Thielemans
Across the nation, pharmacy educators were honored during the fourth annual American Pharmacy Educator Week. Trivia contests, luncheons, receptions and digital displays were just some of the ways students could learn about their professors’ personal and professional accomplishments. Through these activities and more, pharmacy schools shined the spotlight on their dedicated educators.
Throughout the week, monitors at the Memphis and Knoxville campus buildings at The University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy displayed a slideshow featuring faculty, their accomplishments and some interesting “Did You know” facts. For example, one slide noted that Dr. Stephan Foster, professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine, was inducted into the National Academies of Practice in spring 2012 and was the first pharmacist on the CDC advisory committee on immunization practices. A reception held in Knoxville allowed students to talk with faculty and learn more about academia and their professional backgrounds.
As in previous years, students signed up for faculty shadowing experiences. They participated in research and case reports that they hope will lead to poster presentations and publications. Third-year student pharmacist Blake Poole, who shadowed Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy Andrea Franks, Pharm.D., said, “shadowing Dr. Franks allowed me to get a small glimpse into the world of academia and further research the topic to better understand the role of the academic pharmacist. It was eye opening to see all of the things in which you can become involved. Pharmacy educators influence the lives of future pharmacists, which could lead to the advancement of the profession.” Franks plans to nominate Poole for the AACP Walmart Scholars Program and serve as his mentor at the 2013 AACP Annual Meeting if he is selected.
Another student pharmacist, Kayla Werner, shadowed Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy Shaunta’ Ray, Pharm.D. The third-year student highlighted the benefits of putting her skills into real-world practice. “My experience with the faculty shadowing program has thoroughly enhanced my pharmacy school experience,” Werner said. “Dr. Ray allowed me to accompany her on family medicine rounds and shadow her residents meeting with patients. It has broadened my knowledge of the field and helped me apply what I am learning in school. I have learned the impact academia has on the future of pharmacy.”
To kick off American Pharmacy Educator Week, Belmont University sent all student pharmacists an e-mail describing activities scheduled for the next five days. Among them was a “Get to Know Your Faculty” scavenger hunt. Participating faculty members submitted three clues related to their alma mater(s), hobbies, pets and other favorites. Students used in-person interviews and the college’s Web site to learn more about their professors and hopefully crack the case. The winner of the scavenger hunt received a gift card to a local favorite eatery.
Also during the week, faculty members posted on their office doors their reasons for entering academia. This encouraged interaction between students and faculty and informed students about what’s required of an academic career.
Northeast Ohio Medical University and its College of Pharmacy celebrated the week with several activities, starting by adorning its campus with stickers, giving away wristbands and handing out booklets. NEOMED faculty and staff showed their support for the profession by also wearing pins.
Students selected outstanding pharmacy educators to be recognized by the college. These faculty and preceptors were interviewed about why they chose a career in academic pharmacy and asked about their most memorable teaching moments. These vignettes were posted online, shared via the university’s social media accounts, highlighted in a special edition of the college’s newsletter and displayed on video monitors in various buildings.
A campus-wide lunch-and-learn session capped off the celebration and featured College of Pharmacy faculty in a “Life in Academia” panel presentation. The panel included newly appointed Dean Charles T. Taylor, Pharm.D., as well as Dr. Susan P. Bruce, chair and professor of pharmacy practice, and Dr. Christopher Shelby, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. The presentation gave students a more in-depth look at the various positions within academia by allowing them to talk with faculty and administrators about their unique career paths.
The College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science hosted a “Meet the Faculty” roundtable discussion on Oct. 25, the first of its kind for the college. Faculty got together with small groups of students, who learned about their educators’ professional history, their roles at the college, and their interests and hobbies outside of pharmacy. Students also got to know some new professors over pizza.
Dr. D. Eric Walters, associate dean for research, impressed students with his accomplishments in molecular modeling in industry and academia, as did Dr. David HT Harrison, professor of pharmaceutical sciences. While his professional background is biochemistry, his hobbies are electronics and microcontroller programming. At the roundtable session he demonstrated his LED-based spinning wheel executive decision maker.
“You could see the students’ anticipation as they learned more about the career paths of their mentors,” said Dr. Marc S. Abel, associate dean for academic and student affairs. “The best part of being a pharmacy educator is helping students come to realize their own great potential. Working with such a bright, humble group of dedicated individuals is an added bonus.”
The Council of Students at Harding University College of Pharmacy expressed appreciation for their educators with a banner and a breakfast spread. The council also produced a slideshow that ran all week on monitors throughout the building with photos and quotes from educators answering the phrase, “Why I Became an Educator.”
“I became an educator because I love it when students get that ‘Aha!’ moment when all of that learning, memorizing and studying suddenly pays off and applying the information just clicks. That positive energy students have is contagious,” said Dr. Melissa Shipp, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Dr. Jeffrey B. Mercer, assistant professor and assistant dean for experiential education, said, “I became an educator because I love this profession and want to move it forward. I believe that pharmacists are uniquely positioned to serve as patient care advocates, and the future of pharmacy practice starts with education.”
To convey appreciation for local pharmacists who serve as preceptors, the student chapters of the National Community Pharmacists Association and American Pharmacists Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists delivered deli trays to local pharmacies. The Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists honored those serving in area hospitals with gift baskets.
Even though American Pharmacy Educator Week is over, the curtain never closes on the extraordinary work faculty perform every day—educating the rising stars of pharmacy!
Jane Rooney is a freelance writer based in Oakton, Virginia. Maureen Thielemans is Communications Manager at AACP and editor of Academic Pharmacy Now; firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s a popular way to reward star performers? Feed them! As part of American Pharmacy Educator Week, the Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Alumni Association hosted a breakfast for faculty, staff and students. Also saying thanks through food was Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy. Its students signed a giant card and hosted a surprise ice cream bar for all faculty, staff and students. Finally, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy-Georgia Campus gathered faculty and students together for a casual lunch-and-learn to celebrate its educators and get students interested in the teaching profession.
To celebrate American Pharmacy Educator Week, AACP asked faculty to complete this sentence: “The best part about being a pharmacy educator is…” The reasons may vary, but one thing is certain— pharmacy educators love their jobs.
“…that moment when a student smiles with the realization that my true goal is to ensure that they have rewarding experiential experiences.” —Dr. Keith DelMonteDirector of Experiential Education St. John Fisher College
“…educating others…it has and will remain my mission to always give back in this manner as long as I am engaged in clinical practice.” —Dr. Abimbola Farinde Clinical Staff Pharmacist and Preceptor
“…challenging and inspiring our practitioners of tomorrow.” —Dr. Linda K. Ohri Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Creighton University
“...connecting with my parents on a professional level, as they, too, dedicated their careers to teaching. Even though my students are at least 10 to 20 years older than [my parents’ students] were, some things about the classroom and this calling are universal.” —Dr. Emily P. Peron Assistant Professor Virginia Commonwealth University
“…the light bulb moment when a student’s face lights up because he or she finally got it!” —Dr. Deanna Tran Assistant Professor University of Maryland
“...working in the lab with the students to produce great products that are beneficial to public health.” —Dr. Desuo Wang Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy– Georgia Campus