Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Relationship between Student Leadership Activities and Prepharmacy Years in College

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Relationship between Student Leadership Activities and Prepharmacy Years in College

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

There has been an increased interest in promoting student leadership activities in colleges and schools of pharmacy probably because developing leadership and sponsorship skills is essential to the improvement of effective advocacy, which benefits society as a whole. Our current health care system is so complex, future pharmacists need leadership training in order to understand and simplify the effect our health care system has on its participants. Students should be given leadership opportunities and the chance to develop leadership skills while in pharmacy programs. What is not known is whether previous years in college are predictive of the extent to which students become involved in leadership activities.

Students who have more college experience prior to entering our programs may be more inclined to take on leadership roles because they have learned what is necessary to be successful students at the graduate professional level. Students with 3 or more years of college experiences may have an additional advantage because they have had more chances for involvement in a variety of organizations and have benefited from these experiences and perhaps have come to realize the importance of leadership in their professional development. Older students could have more work experiences--both in pharmacy and outside of pharmacy--where they have seen the value of leaders in the workplace and the contributions these individuals make enhancing others' efforts and the organizational environment. In addition, students with more years of collegiate experiences may have had additional opportunities to attend leadership development activities. Students who have spent more time in college, in contrast, may be less likely to take on leadership positions while in a pharmacy program because they want to focus on their education rather than on other activities. Also, such students are older and may have commitments to family and other groups outside of college/school, and/or may use time outside of college/school to work in order to pay for their educational expenses. In contrast, students who enter pharmacy programs after only 2 years of college may not have as many financial and family responsibilities, and therefore, more time to devote to leadership roles. Furthermore, because they are younger, they may have greater enthusiasm and the energy needed to balance academic responsibilities with leadership roles.

There has been continued interest in the academy to understand success in pharmacy programs in terms of students' academic credentials at the time of admission. One study found that students who obtained bachelor's degrees before entering pharmacy school had higher cumulative grade point averages than any other cohort of students during the P1 year. (2) Various factors and their relationships to student academic success have been reported. (4-6) This study investigated whether students with varying numbers of prepharmacy years in college differed in terms of their involvement in pharmacy leadership positions. The hypothesis was that students with 3 or more years, including those with a bachelor's degree, would be more involved in leadership positions compared to students with only 2 years of college level activities, specifically those students admitted through an early assurance program or students admitted after 2 years of college.

METHODS

The Early Assurance (EA) program at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences admits students into the pharmacy program after 2 years of college provided they have successfully completed the required prerequisites with a minimum grade point average. EA students are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (cGPA) during the first 2 years of enrollment, cannot receive any grade lower than a C in any course, and must take all courses at the University at Buffalo. If successful, they are automatically admitted into the PharmD program. …

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