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Center for Teaching Excellence


Junior Pharmacist

Creating Pharmacy Leaders

Adventures in Learning

People like to make choices, which is why, as kids, we loved the "Choose your own Adventure" books. Professor Dunn has taken this idea and applied it to her classroom in what she calls, "Adventures in Learning." Developing the ability to make wise choices is part of what makes someone a good leader. Rather than statically reading about a case study, the students control the outcome of each case by making their own decisions.

Through interactive PowerPoint presentations, the students get to test their knowledge in light of a high-stakes examination. Some students know the material when asked in class, but they find it difficult to access it when they are in a real situation. So, this interactive case method tries to split the middle by allowing students to make decisions with consequences based on their decisions. With instant feedback in the form of short videos or detailed descriptions, good recommendations are reinforced, wrong choices are corrected, and important concepts are explained.

One key result is that the students begin to think more like pharmacists, rather than students. In the wake of recent healthcare changes and an excess of pharmacists, new graduates will have to distinguish themselves by their leadership skills and ability to enact change. With support from a Teaching Leadership grant co-sponsored by the Carolina Leadership Initiative and the Center for Teaching Excellence, Professor Brianne Dunn with Professor Patricia Fabel designed a new course called "Creating Pharmacy Leaders." From learning how to work through problems with a team to interviewing current leaders in the field, this course forces students to be actively engaged in what they're learning.

From their time in school, students often gain (at least some of) the skills to be a leader. But they have not had many opportunities to practice these skills. This course will help them to practice and develop these skills, so that the students will gain the necessary confidence and preparation for when they graduate.