The End of an Era/A New Beginning

Last Friday, an email received by pharmacy students from Dean Eddington, dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP), shocked us all. Here’s the scoop:

Beginning with the Fall 2018 semester, all pharmacy students will now be enrolled at the main campus in Baltimore, without the option of taking didactic courses in Shady Grove. The total size of the incoming class will also be reduced from 160 to approximately 140 students. What will become of current Shady Grovers? Thankfully, we’re not going anywhere. Current first, second, and third year students will finish up our education right here at USG.

But wait… there’s more. Although USG will no longer be a “home campus” for any pharmacy student, UMSOP’s partnership with USG will continue in the form of experiential education at USG’s new Interprofessional (IP) clinic. This clinic (please see my post “(Interprofessional) Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”) becomes operational in 2019, and will serve as an advanced experiential rotation site for pharmacy and other health professions students.

In a way, all of this kind of makes me sad. Now a third-year student, I’ve made so many great memories here at the USG campus. From the many laughs my friends and I shared as we crammed for an exam together in one of the Priddy Library study rooms… to the good times we had making suppositories and dog treats in the compounding lab of Building II. Just looking back at the posts I’ve written for Around the Grove, I’ve realized just how many amazing people I’ve met and fun campus events I’ve taken part in because I’m a student at USG. Future pharmacy students won’t be able to have these same experiences.

In spite of all this, I think the decisions that have been made with regard to UMSOP’s partnership with USG make a lot of sense. The fact of the matter is that the pharmacist job market has become over-saturated. In response, there’s been a national trend for pharmacy schools to reduce their class sizes and to implement programs that help to differentiate their own students from the masses. The transition that will occur at USG, from didactic coursework to IP experiential learning, most definitely accomplishes this.

It’s time to celebrate the end of a wonderful era, and welcome an exciting new beginning.

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