The College of Pharmacy announced in March that it developed a new curriculum that would allow students to graduate in three-and-a-half years rather than four.
“We were looking for a way to make ourselves more unique,” Dr. Jeanie Smith, College of Pharmacy assistant dean, said. “As far as benefiting the student, first of all, it’s going to save them time, so they will graduate a semester early, and [it will be cost efficient]. There is going to be a semester where they will have already graduated, and what we really think will be the most unique part is every other college of pharmacy in the country graduates in May or June, and we will literally be potentially one of the only [colleges] of pharmacy graduating at any other time.”
Smith also said this earlier option for graduating will put pharmacy students in the field at a time when they will be needed more.
“We always see a demand every year in cold and flu season … and we think we will have some of our graduates ready to enter the job market … when there is a little bit of an increased need for the pharmacist, so it will be filling a need of a job market as well,” Smith said.
The new program has rearranged the classes in a way that students are able to learn the material at a faster pace.
“We looked at a hybrid model of instruction where we pull some of the coursework that was required and put that into the summer terms,” dean of the College of Pharmacy Dr. Jeff Mercer said. “What that effectively does is it allows us to distribute the workload over additional time frames, and by doing that, the students are able to complete more work, and we feel like the online courses are going to be really good for our students because it will offer the flexibility to take them from home.”
The College of Pharmacy students believe this change will be beneficial to all upcoming students.
“It is going to make Harding more competitive compared to other colleges,” senior Rachel Coursey said. “I don’t feel they are going to be shorted at all when it comes to having the education. I think it is a really great opportunity.”