March 26, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic has upturned daily life for people throughout the country and across the globe, students, faculty and staff at academic institutions have had to make major adjustments to how they learn, teach and work. Adjusting to this new virtual academic environment has been challenging for students and faculty alike. Complicating it even more has been the uncertainty over graduation and residency requirements for our students. Fortunately for professional students in the College of Pharmacy (COP), members of the Experiential Education team have worked tirelessly to provide additional assistance and peace of mind to students in the home stretch of their academic tenure.
Leading the effort are Julie Legg, PharmD, director of Experiential Education and Katie Marks, program manager at COP. Dr. Legg and Marks have worked with fourth-year students to address the ever-changing environment for the completion of clinical training—a requirement for graduation. On multiple occasions, plans were made only to have the situation change.
“As practice sites determined whether or not to continue to allow students on site, and our accrediting body released some additional guidance about how to meet requirements, it often feels like the goal post of graduation for these students is being moved,” said Katherine Kelley, PhD, associate dean for assessment and strategic initiatives at COP.
Dr. Legg and Marks have called every clinical practice site for over 120 students to assess their safety protocols and reported back to the students so they could make decisions about how they wanted to proceed. They also have conducted individual student record audits to re-adjust each student’s schedule to assure they are meeting requirements for both licensure and graduation.
“Julie has been on email and Zoom so much with the students, the preceptors and the administration, that she told me she has lost track of what day it is,” said James McAuley, PhD, FAPhA, associate dean for academic affairs at the college. “Not only is she doing this tirelessly, she is doing it with a smile on her face and graciousness in her emails.”
Additionally, Dr. Legg has been working with the practice change and advocacy team to script an email to send to preceptors to keep them informed and encourage them to engage in state and national advocacy efforts for pharmacists during this time.
Despite the exhaustive work and uncertainty, Dr. Kelley said, “they have remained positive, compassionate and collegial.”
We are lucky to have many extraordinary faculty and staff, who continuously go above and beyond for our students - and we are proud to recognize Dr. Legg and Marks as an example of the whole.