University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy

May 29, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

The dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy has 3 main pieces of advice for pharmacy students: show gratitude, be on the lookout for new opportunities, and never say never.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Founded: 1896

Class Size: Around 100

The dean of the University of Oklahoma (UO) College of Pharmacy has 3 main pieces of advice for pharmacy students: show gratitude, be on the lookout for new opportunities, and never say never.

Yet another focus for UO pharmacy students is to strive to be altruistic.

“Altruism is a way of life at OU College of Pharmacy,” dean and professor JoLaine R. Draugalis, RPh, PhD, told Pharmacy Times.

In fact, the school received the Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 2014.

New students at UO College of Pharmacy join a large community of alumni. The college was the first professional program at the university, and since 1896, more than 5400 pharmacy students have graduated from the school, Dr. Draugalis said.

UO’s Health Sciences Center is 1 of only 3 comprehensive academic health centers in the United States with 7 professional colleges: Allied Health, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Graduate Studies. The center serves around 4000 students in total, according to the school.

“UO’s Health Sciences Center is a leader in education, research, and patient care,” Dr. Draugalis maintained.

A: One of the unique aspects of OU College of Pharmacy is the availability of 5 different degree track options for students in the areas of psychiatric pharmacy, pediatrics, nuclear pharmacy, ambulatory care, and leadership.

We are the only college in the country with an operational nuclear pharmacy within the confines of our building, which provides tremendous opportunities for student engagement. We are also the only college in the country with a dedicated Leadership Institute designed to address the critical need for leadership development among pharmacy students.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?

A: Our college’s philosophy is to actively engage our students in our entire curriculum so they can retain and use their knowledge to problem solve while they are here and after they graduate. We are committed to helping students remember the content beyond our exams by explaining why content is relevant to their future practice and by putting content into professional context using commonly seen examples.

We also appreciate that our students are all different, so we use a variety of active learning strategies to support their diverse needs. For example, some courses use team-based learning, some use clickers to quiz students during lectures to make sure they are understanding the content, some use peer teaching and interprofessional practice, and others use vivid stories.

In addition, the college is committed to developing the whole student by providing curricular tracks, professional development opportunities, and leadership and entrepreneurial experiences. We provide opportunities for students to raise their self-awareness so they assess their strengths and weaknesses, persevere, and seek help when needed.

Regardless of the teaching style, the faculty is committed to nurturing students and helping them reach their full potential.

Q: What opportunities do students have for internships or co-ops?

Our leadership track students, as well as introductory pharmacy practice experiences and advanced pharmacy practice experiences, provide inroads to possible internships. Our research component allows for possible internships in laboratories, especially during the summer months.

Q: What are some community outreach activities or programs the school participates in? What volunteer opportunities are available to students?

A: Community service is more than a catch phrase—it is a core belief. Our culture provides for sustainability of initiatives and the creativity of our students and faculty drives us to start new projects.

We have been able to successfully leverage the leadership course work, contracts for faculty services, extracurricular activities, and integration of experiential placements to sustain partnerships. Our students are involved throughout the process and learn valuable leadership skills. And our faculty is involved by providing sound advice and support.

Some of the community outreach activities include overseeing an annual health fair at the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission that involves all 7 colleges on campus, helping with an annual Make-A-Wish drive, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, and working with indigent health clinics.