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8 posts from July 2011


USciences faculty win teaching awards

The Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences recognizes teaching excellence through giving awards.  Five faculty members won Bright Idea Awards for innovative teaching and three adjunct faculty members won awards for excellent teaching.


The Bright Idea Award winners were selected by a panel of department chairs as the most innovative.  The winners along with a dozen of their colleagues presented at a competitive poster session on educational innovations in May, 2011.  Over seventy faculty, administrators, and staff attended the poster session.  Abstracts of these projects, along with all of the other posters may be found at the Center’s website at www.sciences.edu/teaching.

We are happy to recognize the following faculty who won the Bright Idea Award for their projects:

  • Lora Packel, of  Physical therapy “The impact of hearing versus seeing feedback on written assignments”
  • Lindsey Curtin, Laura Finn, Michael Cawley of Pharmacy Practice , “Impact of computer based simulation on learning objectives in mannequin based simulation” 
  • Grace Earl,  of Pharmacy Practice “Evaluating the quality of online discussion forum posts to improve teaching methods that promote critical thinking in pre-professional students”


Students, faculty and chairs can nominate adjunct professors for recognition as an outstanding adjunct professor.  Adjunct professors teach one or two courses in their specialty while holding other full time jobs or doing other things.  The deans selected the winners from among the many nominations. We are pleased to announce this year’s adjunct professors:

  • Sergio Guerra – Biology – Forensic Anthropology
  • John Muccitelli – Chemistry
  • Nicholas Spring – Pharmaceutical Business


futher faculty presentations

  • Phyllis Blumberg,  Evaluating Your Teaching in Experiential Settings Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Amy Van Kleunen, Carol Maritz, Using online Discussion Boards to Foster Social Interdependence Among Learners Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Lindsey Curtin, Laura Finn, Impact of computer based simulation on the achievement of learning outcomes Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • E. Amy Janke & Phyllis Blumberg, Using self assessment rubric to develop a teaching improvement plan for new faculty Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Madhu Mahalingam, Elizabeth Morlino and Elizabetha Fasella, Using technology as a tool in the development of student’s problem solving skills. Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Grace Earl, Evaluating Student online Discussion forum Posts to Improve Teaching Methods that Promote thinking Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Laura Mandos, School Wide Curricular Efforts to Enhance Teaching Scholarship Presented at the Lilly-East Conference
  • Michael Bruist, Teaching Biochemistry Problem Solving Skills, presented at Association of Biochemistry Course Directors

USciences faculty present on teaching

Eighteen University of the Sciences faculty made 15 presentations at four, peer –reviewed and competitive conferences. (for example, at the Lilly-East Conference, USciences faculty made 8 presentations. Competition was especially keen to present at this conference as there were over 259 submissions.) Peer reviewed Conference Presentations made by faculty on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning topics. The Teaching and Learning Center helped to fund the faculty to attend these conferences.

• Jeanette McVeigh, Finding the right resources for your scholarship of teaching and learning Pa Library Association conference

• Pam Kearney, Jennifer Pitonyak and Phyllis Blumberg short course presentation on learning centered teaching at American Occupational Therapy Association

• Anne Marie Flanagan, What Will Students Think of Next?, Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)

 • Alison M. Mostrom, Are IF – AT Practice quizzes Superior to Tradition Paper Practice Quizzes presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

 • Andrew Peterson, Phyllis Blumberg, and Alison M. Mostrom Keeping Your Teaching Fresh: Are Teaching Mentor Relationships for you? presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

 • Phyllis Blumberg, Keeping Teaching Invigorated through Self-assessment and Scholarship of Teaching/Learning presented at The Teaching Professor Conference

• Jeanette McVeigh, Finding the Research on Teaching and Learning. Presented at the Lilly-East Conference

USciences faculty: skillful teachers

>During 2010-2011, the Teaching and Learning Center of the University of the Sciences offered or cosponsored 81 different educational events for the faculty. Overall 79% of the full time faculty participated in at least one of them. Therefore, USciences faculty may be some of the best trained teachers at universities in America. 64 (35% of the total) full time faculty presented their ideas through Teaching and Learning Center venues. For more information on the presentations go to the Center’s website www.usciences.edu/teaching.


The End of the Space Shuttle Program

I've recently published an opinion piece in the Inquirer about the end of the space shuttle program:

U.S. science is going the way of the shuttle


A Scientific Walking Tour of the Nation's Capital

In case you visit Washington, DC this summer or fall, and would like to do something a little different, I have mapped out a walking tour of sites related to science (particularly physics).  It is based on an article I recently published in the journal Physics in Perspective.  Here is a link:

A Physics Walking Tour of Washington, DC




Not wanted: Science jobs — NewsWorks

The health-care sector is expected to grow in coming years, but many teens say they aren't interested.

University of the Sciences provost Russell DiGate, a molecular biologist, said the race to put an astronaut on the moon captured his imagination. As a boy, he was hooked on science when a high school teacher visited his elementary classroom to demonstrate fundamental concepts.

"You have to hit kids while they are younger and keep with it. That's my experience, and I'm kind of wondering why that got lost," DiGate said.

Read more: Not wanted: Science jobs — NewsWorks.

Pharmacy's Vision for 2015 OR a Large Surplus of Pharmacists?

By Daniel A. Hussar who is the Remington Professor of Pharmacy at University of the Sciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He serves as the author and editor of The Pharmacist Activist newsletter (http://www.pharmacistactivist.com) from which this editorial was taken.

The Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) provides a forum in which the chief executive officers and chief elected officers of the national pharmacy organizations meet to discuss issues that are of importance to the profession. In late 2004 the JCPP developed the following vision statement that was endorsed the following year by all of the major pharmacy practitioner organizations;

"Pharmacists will be the health care professionals responsible for providing patient care that ensures optimal medication therapy outcomes."

This vision statement is followed by a discussion titled, "Pharmacy Practice in 2015," that addresses "The Foundations of Pharmacy Practice", "How Pharmacists Will Practice", and "How Pharmacy Practice Will Benefit Society". The section on "How Pharmacists Will Practice" is provided below:

How Pharmacists will Practice. Pharmacists will have the authority and autonomy to manage medication therapy and will be accountable for patients' therapeutic outcomes. In doing so, they will communicate and collaborate with patients, care givers, health care professionals, and qualified support personnel. As experts regarding medication use, pharmacists will be responsible for:

  • rational use of medications, including the measurement and assurance of medication therapy outcomes;
  • promotion of wellness, health improvement, and disease prevention;
  • design and oversight of safe, accurate, and timely medication distribution systems.

Working cooperatively with practitioners of other disciplines to care for patients, pharmacists will be:

  • the most trusted and accessible source of medications, and related devices and supplies;
  • the primary resource for unbiased information and advice regarding the safe, appropriate, and cost-effective use of medications;
  • valued patient care providers whom health care systems and payers recognize as having responsibility for assuring the desired outcomes of medication use.

I fully concur with this vision statement and its accompanying responsibilities. It is progressive and bold, and will serve individual patients, society, and the profession of pharmacy well. Nothing would please me more than to see this vision implemented in as comprehensive a manner as possible. However, I have serious concerns regarding what I consider to be the very slow pace in the progress toward implementing this vision, or even actively discussing it and establishing plans.

I recognize that the year 2015 is a goal and not a rigid deadline for implementing the vision statement. However, we are now closer to 2015 than to 2004 when the statement was developed, and it is appropriate to assess the progress that has been made and what remains to be accomplished. The profession can identify programs such as the Asheville project, an increasing number of medication therapy management (MTM) programs, the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative, and some innovative practice opportunities as evidence of positive steps in implementing the vision. As important as these activities are, they often exist in isolation rather than as a type or standard of practice that is provided for more than a limited population. The result is that the vast majority of patients/society has no understanding or experience with the role and responsibilities articulated for pharmacists in the vision statement. Indeed, there are many pharmacists who do not feel prepared or are not otherwise eager to assume the responsibilities of the vision.

It would be expected that organizations of pharmacists, colleges of pharmacy, and pharmaceutical manufacturers would be among those having the strongest interest and commitment to having pharmacists assure optimal medication therapy outcomes. Yet, it is my impression that only a small fraction of these organizations provide a health benefit program for their employees that includes MTM and related services from pharmacists. If the organizations whose own interests are best served by the inclusion of such a benefit for their employees do not insist on this coverage, how can it be expected that other organizations and government programs with less knowledge of the value of these services will be motivated to provide them as a benefit?

Whose responsibility?
It was appropriate that the vision statement for pharmacy practice was developed by representatives of a coalition of pharmacy practitioner organizations. However, the development of the statement can be considered to be the easy part of the process. To make this vision a reality is a much more formidable challenge.

The implementation of the vision will not occur without clear direction, strategies, and plans, as well as the resources to support them and the collaboration of the other professions and organizations whose support will be necessary. It will not be accomplished by the action of one or several pharmacy organizations, or even multiple organizations working independently. The same coalition of pharmacy organizations that developed the vision statement must assume the responsibility for the planning and implementation steps that will ensure the intended outcomes. But is this discussion and collaboration occurring?

The need
There is no question that there is an important need for the outcomes identified in the vision for pharmacy practice (i.e., optimal medication therapy outcomes). Pharmacists have the expertise and are strategically positioned to provide the information, counseling, monitoring, and services needed to ensure optimal drug therapy outcomes and their resultant overall contributions to the improvement of health care. There has been extensive publicity regarding drug-related problems (e.g., adverse events, drug interactions, noncompliance, medication errors) and their resultant harm to patients, as well as the billions of dollars in costs incurred to manage often-preventable problems. Patients, health professionals, and society should not continue to tolerate the current situation. But, if pharmacy will not assume the responsibility for ensuring optimal medication therapy outcomes, others (e.g., nurse practitioners, physician assistants) will have to!

The supply of pharmacists
Until recently there had been a shortage of pharmacists in many areas of the United States. However, during the last two years the job market for pharmacists has tightened and there is now a surplus of pharmacists in some areas. A paradoxical situation exists in which, at the same time that there has probably never been a greater need for the expertise and services of pharmacists, many pharmacists are having difficulty identifying a full-time position. This situation makes it all the more important that the profession of pharmacy be successful in implementing its vision for pharmacy practice.

If pharmacists are used to ensure optimal medication therapy outcomes to the extent such services are needed, many more pharmacists will be needed than are currently available. Indeed, there could be a shortage of pharmacists for the foreseeable future, even with the rapidly increasing number of pharmacy graduates. If, however, our profession is not successful in implementing its vision and/or health professionals other than pharmacists assume these responsibilities, the surplus of pharmacists being observed in some areas could increase precipitously with numerous ramifications. The potential for this situation must also be addressed with high priority by our profession (please also access the editorials in the August 2008 and July 2010 issues of The Pharmacist Activist).

Urgent action is needed
Through the JCPP the profession has identified an exceptional vision for the practice of pharmacy that is of great value for patients and society. The "match" between the need for better medication outcomes for patients and the expertise and services that can be provided by pharmacists is seemingly a perfect fit. However, the challenges to successfully implement the vision are huge and demand an unprecedented commitment and collaboration of our practitioner organizations. I want to believe that within our profession we have the will, resolve, and leadership to be successful in attaining our vision.

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