University of Michigan College of Pharmacy

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Founded: 1876

Class Size: Approximately 85 students

As the first pharmacy school established at a public university, the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy supports its students with experienced faculty and an active alumni community.

“Our clinical and basic science faculty are global leaders in pharmacy and pharmaceutical education, research, and practice due, in part, to the tremendous opportunities arising from our growing collaborative footprint within the University of Michigan,” said Dean James T. Dalton, PhD, in an exclusive interview with Pharmacy Times.

Guided by the teaching staff, students learn outside of the classroom through faculty-mentored research and clinical experience, as well as curricular and co-curricular leadership development. In addition, all PharmD students complete an investigations project that provides clinical or basic science research experience.

The school also offers students scholarships and financial aid packages, thanks to generous donations from alumni. The school provides substantial scholarship support for all third- and fourth-year PharmD students. Alumni contributions also support professorships and education, research, and community service initiatives.

Located on the university’s central campus, the college is minutes from a major life sciences institute and a top-ranked teaching hospital and medical center. Nearly 60% of PharmD students advance to residency or fellowship training experiences upon graduation.

Students of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy gain clinical and research expereince both inside and outside the classroom.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?A: The college revamped its curriculum and teaching methods in 2010, and it’s been a huge success for students and faculty alike.

Perhaps, most significantly, we switched to a team-based learning approach in therapeutics, which is the centerpiece of the curriculum. Instead of listening to a lecture, the students begin each class with a quiz on their homework assignment. They then complete the same quiz collectively in small groups, after which they are given a case related to the assignment that they work on with the guidance of faculty. The focus is on problem solving, rather than passively absorbing information.

Our philosophy is to introduce theoretical frameworks and knowledge in the classroom, then to provide a controlled, supervised environment to practice pharmaceutical care skills in the classroom, often using standardized patients, written cases, or technology-assisted simulations. Introductory practice experiences reinforce these classroom exercises and provide real-life experience in supervised practice environments. Finally, advanced practice experiences in the P4 year provide the transition between supervised experiences and independent practice.

Q: What opportunities do students have for internships or co-ops?A: We support students in their pursuit of internships and jobs by preparing them in our P500 Introduction to Pharmacy class, hosting an annual internship panel event in which students share their internship experiences, and inviting employers from across the country to our annual Career Gateway event. In addition, we communicate with almost 600 preceptors regarding job openings for students, utilize an electronic job board to communicate all viable options to students, interview students about current internship experiences, and post externally to help recruit and increase awareness about the wide breadth of opportunities available.

The result of this outreach is receiving information about internships and job opportunities in all fields of pharmacy.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate this year?A: My personal advice is to view graduation as the beginning of an exciting professional adventure rather than an endpoint of your education. Pharmacy practice is changing faster than ever. The leaders of tomorrow will be those who are innovative and thinking big.