A Curriculum Review and Mapping Process Supported by an Electronic Database System

Article excerpt

Curriculum mapping and review is now an expected continuous quality improvement initiative of pharmacy professional programs. Effectively implementing and sustaining this expectation can be a challenge to institutions of higher education and requires dedicated faculty members, a systematic approach, creativity, and--perhaps most importantly--demonstrated leadership at all levels of the institution. To address its specific situation and needs, the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy implemented a peer review process of ongoing curriculum mapping and evaluation. An electronic Pharmacy Curriculum Management System (PCMS) was developed to support faculty efforts to manage curricular data, monitor program outcomes, and improve communications to its stakeholders on 2 campuses and across the state.

Keywords: curriculum, curriculum mapping, assessment, evaluation, instructional technology

INTRODUCTION

In response to society's expectations for greater accountability in higher education, academic pharmacy has been challenged over the past decade to define efficient and effective management strategies to support efforts to optimize outcomes of the professional curriculum. Curriculum mapping and review with subsequent responsive modifications are expected continuous quality improvement initiatives of all academic institutions as outlined in the accreditation standards and guidelines for professional programs of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). (1) With the rise of educational technologies and communities of pharmacy educators and students separated by distances, efforts to communicate the curriculum and the expectations of the professional program to all the key stakeholders can also be challenging.

This paper shares the experiences of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy with curriculum review and the methods of communication it developed to facilitate more effective professional education in the current academic environment. Specifically, this paper reviews the historical context serving as the institution's stimulus for curriculum mapping and review, provides an overview of the peer review processes used to accomplish this work, and describes the electronic database system (Pharmacy Curriculum Management System) developed as a support and communication tool. Finally, the results of this work and what we learned about the process are presented.

Historical Context

The College initiated its first professional degree doctor of pharmacy program in fall 1998 while completing the 3-year baccalaureate and 2-year post-baccalaureate doctor of pharmacy degree programs for students already enrolled. In fall 1999, the college offered these 3 programs plus a transition doctor of pharmacy program for students completing the first 2 years of the baccalaureate program, and an alternate pathway doctor of pharmacy degree in partnership with Southwestern Oklahoma State University School of Pharmacy for pharmacists in the state and region desiring this additional professional education. In addition to managing these academic programs, the College expanded its professional program to the University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center in Tulsa in fall 2002 using distance education technologies, a substantial change. The concurrent delivery of several academic programs under differing circumstances made it more difficult for college faculty members to understand and come to grips with the new professional program and its outcomes.

To face the usual challenges associated with the implementation and evaluation of a new professional decree pro2rmm and in preparation for its next accreditation site visit in November 2005, the College needed broader and improved understanding of the curriculum and improved communication at all levels. ACPE standards effective in 1997 expected professional programs to demonstrate that the new degree outcomes were achieved using a variety of delivery and assessment methods of the recommended curricular content. …

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