Curricular Innovation Highlighted at National AACP Meeting



Faculty in the department of pharmaceutical sciences were invited by the Biological Sciences Section of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to present a 90-minute session this summer to highlight their innovative laboratory course delivered in the first year of the professional pharmacy program.  The Integrated Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences laboratory course is specifically designed to provide student pharmacists with hands-on experiences that emphasize fundamental concepts in drug discovery, drug formulation, drug disposition and drug response along with basic science content through a variety of active learning approaches.  Laboratory experiences are designed by faculty in their respective scientific disciplines to include a variety wet laboratory-based experiments, computer-based simulations and modeling exercises, and hands-on demonstrations, which are then mapped to specific curricular content in the curriculum.   Among the twenty-four laboratory experiences currently delivered as part of the course, five of these were highlighted at the special session and included a cardiovascular physiology simulation (Mike Folwer, Ph.D.), enzyme kinetics experiment (Joe Deweese, Ph.D.), drug metabolism experiment (Scott Akers, Pharm.D., Ph.D.), drug design and receptor modeling simulation (Susan Mercer, Ph.D.), and drug dissolution experiment (Scott Akers).  “These special sessions typically bring together faculty from different programs to focus on similar topics related to novel curricular design, team-based teaching and learning, and pedagogical techniques.  So it’s rather unique and a distinction for our program that the entire session was entirely comprised of faculty members from one college of pharmacy”, said Scott Akers, chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.  The overall laboratory concept and four of the laboratory experiences presented have been previously published as abstracts in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (AJPE 75(5):105, 2011) and were presented as educational posters last year at the annual AACP meeting in San Antonio, Texas.