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Review of degree curriculum with an Otago 'flavour' underway

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Professor Stephen Duffull.

An important piece of work is currently underway behind the scenes at the Otago School of Pharmacy with a review of the Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree curriculum.

Director of Undergraduate Programmes, Dr Arlene McDowell, says while the curriculum is continually being reviewed at the module and paper level as well as in individual classes, it has been more than 10 years since the current curriculum has been reviewed in its entirety.

A curriculum review working party has been established to lead the process. Dr McDowell is a member of the working party together with School Dean, Professor Stephen Duffull, (Associate Dean Academic) Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott, and (Director of Admissions) Dr June Tordoff.

Alongside this group, an external advisory board has also been established to provide feedback and advice to the working party and to provide a mechanism for stakeholder engagement.

This board will be chaired by the former head of the University of Nebraska Medical Centre's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dennis Robinson.

Both the Curriculum Review Working Party and the External Advisory Board will report back to the Undergraduate Programmes Committee in the School of Pharmacy.

Professor Duffull says the curriculum review is not related to the feasibility study of an integrated pharmacy programme (Pharmacy Today, July 2013). This is about developing a four-year BPharm programme that would integrate seamlessly with the current intern training programme.

While the working party and advisory board will provide oversight for the themes, pedagogies and process for the curriculum review, Dr McDowell says teaching staff are involved in development of the course material and will have input throughout the process.

"There are a lot of cool new things happening in pharmacy education and our staff are enthusiastic about the opportunities for Otago."

Arlene McDowellDr Arlene McDowell, Director of Undergraduate Programmes.

Dr McDowell says there have been a number of initiatives that the School has undertaken this year to prepare for a curriculum review.  An example of this is the appointment of an educational instructional designer, Jane Astley (Pharmacy Today, July 2015).

"Jane will assist us with the introduction of electronic resources to make our teaching and assessment processes more effective."

Dr McDowell says staff are excited about developing a new curriculum to facilitate the delivery of excellence in pharmacy education for students at the University of Otago.

They are motivated by four guiding philosophies at the School of Pharmacy:

  • Patient-centred ("remembering why we are here")
  • Student-focused and student-led ("educational models that are focused on student outcomes and led by students")
  • Collaborative care ("working in healthcare teams")
  • That the curriculum has an Otago 'flavour'

"The University of Otago is a research-intensive university and our students have the privilege of obtaining a BPharm degree in a research-led learning environment," Dr McDowell says.

Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) information