UK HealthCare

UK College of Pharmacy's Global Classroom Connects Kentucky and China

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 26, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy goes across borders for the second year with professor Melody Ryan's “Pharmacy Without Borders: A U.S.-China Global Classroom” course. Ryan, director of International Professional Student Health, formed a partnership with Peking University Third Hospital to provide students from both institutions with an opportunity to engage with fellow student pharmacists via this shared curriculum.

“We wanted to provide UK College of Pharmacy students with a chance to develop their global skillset as part of their everyday education,” Ryan said. “We know how important it is for students to learn about international issues and to get accustomed to working in diverse work groups. Thanks to today’s technology, providing that international experience is easier than ever before.”

The course is kept small to allow for more one-on-one interactions between students and faculty. Part of the course is recorded and watched asynchronously; the course also takes part in five live sessions.

Students form international teams to complete a paper and a presentation. Alice Pan, fourth-year student at the UK College of Pharmacy, has taken part in the course and benefited greatly.

“I expanded my cultural knowledge and strengthened important soft-skills that drive cultural competence," Pan said. "I learned to understand the differences in culture and pharmacy education between the two countries, how to communicate with Chinese students, and how to collaborate with students in a different country and time zone. All of these skills can be extrapolated to communicating with and helping patients here in the U.S.”

The class was a creation of Ryan and faculty colleagues Frank Romanelli and Jeff Cain. The course received a UK College of Pharmacy Transformative Grant from Dean Tim Tracy and the College of Pharmacy's External Advisory Board. The college’s Transformative Grant program funds innovative and unique academic, research and outreach programs that will advance the college’s mission.

This global classroom course provides a cost-effective way to internationalize the college’s curriculum.

“Not every student can afford to go to school abroad nor has the time to do so,” Ryan said. “This class circumvents those barriers, allowing the college to provide an international experience right here in our facility.”