Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences' emphasis on team-based learning not only ensures that students will be engaged with their peers, it also nurtures more well-rounded pharmacists who will expect to collaborate with other health care providers in their future practice settings.
Des Moines, Iowa
Class Size: Around 110
Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences’ emphasis on team-based learning not only ensures that students will be engaged with their peers, it also nurtures more well-rounded pharmacists who will expect to collaborate with other health care providers in their future practice settings.
Renae Chesnut, EdD, MBA, RPh, dean and professor at Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, spoke with Pharmacy Careers about the college’s learner-centered teaching, opportunities for diverse experiences, and advice for graduating students.
Q: What is unique about your school/program?
A: One of the college’s values is to be learner-centered. As such, we strive to incorporate content, as well as teaching methods, that maximize student learning. We use a variety of excellent teaching methods that develop knowledgeable and highly skilled graduates who continue to build on the outstanding reputation of our pharmacy program.
To assist students in adding value to their degree, students are able to focus their education in ways that allow them to pursue their individual career goals. We offer several joint degree options for students to develop skills and knowledge in areas that enhance their pharmacy education, while adding value to the time and financial resources that are being invested into their degree.
Students can pursue 1 of 5 options for dual degrees: MBA, MPA, MPH, MSLD, and JD. Students also have the option to complete a minor, concentration, or a second major in areas including leadership development, diabetes care, and public health.
We also have unique opportunities for experiential learning, including working with underserved populations and studying abroad, which help to increase our students’ cultural competency and enhance their practice as professionals.
Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?
A: Our faculty take an active learning approach to teaching and learning. Courses and lab experiences emphasize patient care, creative thinking, and communication.
Students experience team-based learning in many of their classes, and they are expected to engage with course content in meaningful ways through small group projects, discussions, and in-class activities. This type of learning model promotes collaboration between professionals, which is something health care organizations are now incorporating into the way they approach patient care.
In addition to team-based learning, our faculty also incorporate team-based teaching into the curriculum as a model for how health care is becoming increasingly collaborative. Courses are not always taught by just 1 professor. In the team-based approach, faculty members with an expertise in specific areas of pharmacy teach a class at different times in the semester when the class is covering that particular topic. By harnessing each faculty member's strengths and expertise, students see the value of approaching problems collaboratively, making them more effective members of the health care team.
Q: What are some community outreach activities or programs the school participates in?
A: Our students participate in neighborhood health fairs; the Iowa Pharmacy Association's Legislative Day; Discover, Prepare, Research, and Explore Pharmacy (D-PREP); STEM Night at the Blank Park Zoo, and Diabetes Tour de Cure.
Students also provide a number of health screenings, which provide a great service for the central Iowa community and allow for a valuable patient care experience.
Q: What opportunities do students have for internships or co-ops?
â€‹A: Students have a variety of opportunities for experiential learning in Des Moines, Iowa, as well as throughout the state of Iowa, across the country, and around the world. We partner with hundreds of experiential sites in the Des Moines area to provide a wide variety of practical experiences that engage students in many areas of pharmacy.
As the capital city of Iowa, Des Moines provides direct connections to the Iowa legislature and Iowa Pharmacy Association, where students can get involved in regulatory affairs, policy making, and health care advocacy.
In the fourth professional year, our students are able to extend their experiential learning to other geographic locations throughout the state of Iowa, across the country, and even outside the United States. We offer more than 600 experiential sites worldwide each year, which means students have the opportunity to pursue diverse and engaging practical experiences.
Our students are recognized throughout the state of Iowa and across the nation for their commitment to advancing pharmacy practice, supporting their communities, and advocating for their patients and profession.
Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate this year?
A: It is important to be proactive in the job search process and have unique experiences so that one can be distinctive and stand out from the rest of those who are applying for positions.
Also, take advantage of the various career events and other preparation activities offered through the schools and the professional associations to have the best résumé/CV and interview as possible.
Following graduation, don’t forget to pay it forward. Most students have some sort of assistance through school, whether it be scholarships or other grants. Typically, those funds come from individuals, rather than corporate donors. It doesn’t have to be a large gift as every little bit helps your alma mater and the profession.