SOP Hosts Orientation to Welcome Incoming Students

Week of fun, informative activities helps set expectations for new students.

By Malissa Carroll
August 25, 2014

On August 19, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy kicked off new student orientation for members of the Class of 2018. Activities designed to introduce incoming students to the School of Pharmacy and set expectations for the next four years spanned four days and included remarks from Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, an overview of the curriculum, and a fashion show to demonstrate the importance of professional attire and behavior.

“The School of Pharmacy takes pride in being a leader in pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement in the state of Maryland and beyond,” said Eddington. “The four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program is a very challenging program. Our faculty members are nationally renowned experts in their fields. They will provide you with the tools and support that you need to be successful. However, you must make the commitment to both yourself and your coursework. If you commit to what you must do as students and we commit to what we must do as a School, everyone will achieve success.”

Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, CGP, BCACP, FAPhA, associate dean for student affairs and associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), added, “Our faculty, staff, and current students are very excited to have you join the School. They know that our program is not always easy, and want to ensure that you have all of the support that you need to succeed. Orientation allows us to highlight all of the resources that are available to you and offer some perspective about what to expect over the next four years.”

In addition to addressing the commitment that students must make to the program, Eddington spoke about the importance of professionalism. She encouraged students to conduct themselves in a manner that would make their family and friends proud, noting that a professional demeanor will help build their patients’ trust – trust that is required for pharmacists to effectively perform their roles as medication experts. Richard Dalby, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC), offered an overview of the curriculum and advised students about the importance of actively engaging in their education.

“Faculty will not provide you with all of the answers,” said Dalby. “Instead, they will give you the tools that you need to assimilate information and make your own decisions in a profession that rapidly changes. You will learn a lot more by immersing yourself in the different subject areas and attending classes actively prepared to participate in the conversation.”

Throughout the week, students also participated in different activities designed to help prepare them for their new lives as student pharmacists. There were opportunities for them to network with each other, as well as with the School’s faculty. They were also sized for their white coats, which they will receive during the White Coat Ceremony on September 12.

“Although it is a lot information to absorb, orientation has been very helpful in preparing me for what to expect in the coming years,” said Dharti Patel, a first-year student pharmacist who received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). “Interacting with my classmates through the different activities has helped me to get to know them better, which is great, since I know that their support will be invaluable as I progress through this rigorous program.”

The Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) also hosted orientations for new students in their graduate programs. Thirteen new students in the PSC PhD Program were introduced to the different types of research conducted in the department through a series of presentations by faculty and current graduate students. Six incoming students from the PHSR PhD Program met with Ebere Onukwugha, MS, PhD, director of the PHSR PhD program and assistant professor in PHSR, and Colleen Day, the program’s academic coordinator, to set expectations for coursework, teaching assistantships, and research rotations.

Both departments hosted luncheons attended by faculty, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and current students to welcome their new students. Additional photos from all orientation week activities can be viewed on the School’s Facebook page.

Classes at the School of Pharmacy begin August 25. Students on the Baltimore campus will be welcomed back with an afternoon ice cream social. An ice cream social is also scheduled for the School’s Shady Grove campus on September 10.

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