University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Careers, Pharmacy Careers Fall 2019, Volume 13, Issue 2

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest pharmacy schools in the country and is consistently ranked in the national top 10.

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest pharmacy schools in the country and is consistently ranked in the national top 10. With a top research ranking and a clinical faculty that is one of the largest in the country, the college has some of the longest-standing and most sought-after residency, fellowship, and graduate programs (PhD and MS) in the country.

Located in one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Chicago, with an accompanying campus in Rockford, the UIC College of Pharmacy is among the most diverse and inclusive pharmacy schools in the country. The incoming class of 2023 includes 23% underrepresented minority students and is 68% multilingual, with 36 languages spoken. In fact, diversity has long been a strength of the college, which has won several Insights Into Diversity awards.

UIC College of Pharmacy PharmD graduates have high North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination pass rates, receive broad placement in a multitude of careers and fields, and are well prepared to practice at the top of their fields. Graduates obtain impressive fellowship and residency placements (the college ranked in the top 10 for the number of postgraduate year 1 residency placements for the class of 2019) and enjoy rewarding careers in community, hospital, government, and other industry settings.

In an interview with Pharmacy Careers®, Glen T. Schumock, PharmD, PhD, MBA, a professor and the dean of the UIC College of Pharmacy, provided insight into what makes the school a pillar of pharmacy education.

Q: What is unique about your school?

A: The UIC College of Pharmacy is unique in the opportunities that it provides students by seamlessly integrating its educational programs with cutting-edge practice and research experiences. The school has among the most diverse student bodies in the country and the lowest student-to-faculty ratio, which affords our students experiences not found elsewhere. The proximity to the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System—a health system clinical enterprise that includes 7 health sciences colleges—and the pharmacies operated by the college provide a rich interprofessional environment that informs our teaching, research, and patient care missions.

Top-ranked research programs also give students opportunities to be involved in the discovery of new drugs, outcomes of medication use, and ways of optimizing care. These hallmarks have long positioned the school in the top 10 nationally.

Q: What makes your school's curriculum innovative?

A: The UIC College of Pharmacy curriculum combines state- of-the-science didactic content with practice-leading realworld experience. From faculty who are international experts in their fields, students receive the most contemporary education across a new and highly integrated curriculum.

We have, and continue to adapt, classrooms and educational facilities that position our students for academic success. Newly renovated simulation spaces, on both our Chicago and Rockford campuses, enhance our curriculum and student outcomes. For example, the recently completed Herbert and Carol Retzky Simulation Center is a 5000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that provides a safe space where our students bridge classroom learning with application in practice before they embark on their experiential learning rotations. These simulated experiences, which incorporate information technology, help students build confidence in their skills and enhance their education in experiential settings.

Students at UIC receive extraordinary experiential education that is enabled by the largest and most comprehensive pharmacy practice faculty in the nation.

Our faculty includes practitioners in essentially every clinical specialty, bolstered by area preceptors in more than 900 diverse pharmacy practice sites. Our students receive unparalleled access to leaders in health care and exposure to best practices that bring real-world knowledge to the classroom, often only moments after caring for patients in 1 of our 7 ambulatory care pharmacies or at the hospital.

Q: What real-world opportunities are available to your students?

A: Our 2 campuses are situated in major urban environments with easy access to our academic medical center, other major health care facilities, corporations, biopharmaceutical companies, and hundreds of community pharmacies. This proximity offers students diverse opportunities throughout all 4 years of the program. Students practice in a spectrum of both traditional and alternative settings, including introductory pharmacy practice experiences that start in the first year, advanced pharmacy practice experiences, summer internships, work experiences, and other on-site activities. These are lifechanging opportunities that empower our students and elucidate the many varied paths available post graduation.

Our students also benefit from the opportunities and access available via one of the largest, most diverse alumni networks in the country. With graduates in leadership positions across the world, our 10,000 alumni serve as mentors to students and as a resource for student employment after graduation. Together with the reputation of the quality of education, this sets our students apart in a crowded employment landscape.

Q: What are many of your students doing outside the classroom during school?

A: Pharmacy students at UIC have endless opportunities to further their education through activities outside the classroom by participation in student organizations; professional development via our Pharmacy Learning, Advising, Mentoring, and Engagement for Students (PhLAMES) program; research projects; and work and many other opportunities.

The college has 22 registered student organizations, including student governance and honor societies, as well as service, social, professional, and cultural and religious organizations. Each of these groups conducts a variety of community service and other activities and creates opportunities for students to serve in leadership positions, make friends, and contribute extramurally. All UIC pharmacy students participate in the PhLAMES program, which provides longitudinal professional and character development via network-based mentoring and cocurricular activities. Professional development activities include health promotion and education, advocacy for the pharmacy profession, leadership and career development, and community service.

Many students also participate in research projects during the pharmacy program. Opportunities are plentiful and focus on laboratory-based, clinical, or health services and outcomes investigations. Additionally, most students gain practical experience by working part-time during their tenure in pharmacy school. Whether they work in our on-campus hospital or at ambulatory care pharmacies, local hospitals or pharmacies, or other health care facilities or companies, the experience is invaluable.

Q: How does your school train students for the future?

A: The faculty prides itself on providing our graduates with the clinical foundation to practice anywhere and at the top of their licenses. We stress lifelong and continuous learning so that our graduates remain competent and innovative throughout their careers in whatever practice setting they select. Our incredibly deep faculty bench enables our students to receive concentrated coaching and mentoring from our faculty that further develops intellectual curiosity and interest. Our curriculum has been thoughtfully designed to prepare these future pharmacists—through simulated activities and real-world practice environments—to analyze, communicate, think critically, and problem-solve. The professional development and intrapersonal skills afforded by the program will serve our graduates throughout their long careers and lives. Ultimately, we believe these efforts will create the next generation of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who will lead the profession to improve human health.