Theme 2: Education

Theme 2 in Leading Change: Strategic Plan 2015–2022 is:

Education—preparing leaders who think critically, work across fields, and lead in rapidly changing marketplaces


  1. Produce a distinguished, professionally skilled, and compassionate PharmD graduate, with an unmatched scientific mindset

  2. Improve teaching and learning through continuous evaluation

  3. Expose our PharmD students to the medication challenges of the world

  4. Expose our PhD students and postdoctoral scholars to new ideas and directions

  5. Build new and unique educational partnerships

  6. Clarify the links in our curricula between basic science and the medication needs of patients

Progress to 2021, Changes to theme in 2021, Changes to theme in 2017

Progress to 2021

The primary focus of our educational efforts over the past several years has been the creation of a new curriculum for the PharmD degree program. Strategic Plan Education Education theme goals dealing with producing unparalleled PharmD graduates (2.1), exposing our students to global challenges (2.3), and linking the basic sciences to practice (2.6), are all addressed via our transformed PharmD curriculum.

The new curriculum leverages research advances in the School to teach PharmD students to apply a scientific mindset to challenges they may face in their lifelong careers in pharmacy. The curriculum is integrated, weaving together topics in chemistry, biology, and pharmacology alongside themes in clinical therapeutics, including Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Renal, Cancer, among others. The details of our curriculum are outlined in the September 2021 School of Pharmacy ACPE Self Study Report. Other improvements to the curriculum include a shift from a four year, three quarters per year program to a three year, four quarters per year, year-round program; the elimination of letter grades and adoption of a pass/no pass grading policy; competency-based evaluation of students; and the implementation of an Inquiry Thread and Discovery Projects.

The creation of an Assessment and Evaluation Team, and the hiring of an Assessment Manager and Assessment Analyst, demonstrates how we address improving teaching and learning through continuous evaluation (2.2). The Assessment and Evaluation Team is comprised of faculty members and staff members who are responsible for the visioning, development, implementation, management, and continuous quality improvement of the assessment plan and accreditation of the PharmD program. Evidence for the continued quality of the PharmD curriculum includes the continued high rates of student residency and fellowship match, as well as high licensing pass rates, which are always among the very top, if not the top, among U.S. schools of pharmacy.

The School’s new and unique educational partnerships (2.5) are best demonstrated by the strong School of Pharmacy collaboration with the School of Medicine toward the successful development of our PharmD curriculum, as well as Inquiry Immersion discussions that bring pharmacy and medical students together in small groups to tackle challenges in health care; the creation of the Education Deans Working Group (including the Education Deans in all the schools, the physical therapy program, and the graduate division); and the contribution of the School to the Program for Interprofessional Practice and Education (PIPE).

Exposing our scientists-in-training to new ideas and directions (2.4) has been realized through the contribution of the School faculty as they direct five of the Graduate Division PhD programs: Bioengineering, Biomedical Informatics, Biophysics, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, and Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics. The previously described successes with the Strategic Plan Research Goals have resulted in enormous opportunities for our PhD students and postdoctoral scholars.

Goal 1: Produce a distinguished, professionally skilled, and compassionate PharmD graduate, with an unmatched scientific mindset


Move forward seamlessly with curriculum transformation … by creating, supporting, and implementing structured curriculum design and rollout processes.


Begin the transformation of the curriculum … by immediately and continually instituting necessary changes.


Heighten the clinical relevance of the curriculum … by immediately introducing real-life practice and patient experiences and cases from the first day of the first year of class.


Make interprofessional and team practice a natural outgrowth of the curriculum … by integrating shared group learning across all UCSF professional degree programs.


Take advantage of the novel research in the School … by consistently exposing our students to new research ideas and directions.


Instill in students the roles they can play in health policy, advocacy, and population health … by incorporating these concepts throughout the curriculum, exposing students to agents of change, and encouraging students to experience their own advocacy potential firsthand.


Create core competencies shared by all UCSF health professions graduates … by collaborating with campus education leaders.

Goal 2: Improve teaching and learning through continuous evaluation


Improve our use of education technologies … by applying and evaluating new education tools, technologies, and methods.


Improve our teaching … by expanding and reinforcing the continual development of faculty teaching skills and assessing success.

Goal 3: Expose our PharmD students to the medication challenges of the world


Increase the quality of global health experiences available to our student pharmacists … by establishing criteria and prioritizing the nature of our global education collaborations.


Demonstrate the global reach of pharmacy practice … by purposefully integrating global health concepts into all appropriate coursework.

Goal 4: Expose PhD students* and postdoctoral scholars to new ideas and directions

*PhD programs administered by the School: Bioengineering, Bioinformatics pathway, Biophysics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics


Expand the unique interdisciplinary curriculum of School-administered graduate programs … by building new ties to the physical, engineering, and therapeutic sciences at neighboring institutions.


Respond to future needs in big data science, bioengineering, integrative therapeutics research, and precision medicine … by leading the development of innovative programs in partnership with industry.

Goal 5: Build new and unique educational partnerships.


Create new coursework in regulatory science … by working in partnership with Stanford University through the new UCSF-Stanford CERSI to offer online training, certificate, and degree programs.


Sustain a robust Master of Translational Medicine program … by working in partnership with UC Berkeley, expanding the cohort to 35, and recruiting more PharmDs and MDs in addition to engineers and basic scientists.

Goal 6: Clarify the links in our curricula between basic science and the medication needs of patients


Increase understanding between the School’s basic science and clinical faculty members about how their work intersects … by creating a formal faculty exchange program that places the science faculty in complicated medication management situations with faculty pharmacists and places faculty pharmacists in relevant basic science research discussions.


Increase the interdisciplinary exposure of physicians and other providers to pharmacy practice … by creating pharmacist-coordinated experiences for UCSF medical interns and residents in pharmacy practice settings, such as the UCSF MedList Clinic.


Changes to theme in 2021

  1. Added summary School progress to 2021 for this theme

  2. Archived driver and collaborator assignments from objectives

  3. Archived 2017 progress updates from objectives

  4. Updated plan title to reflect extension to 2022

See 2017 version

Changes to theme in 2017

  1. The DRIVE (Design, Resource, Integration, Visioning, Execution) retired in March 2016. Objectives that were the responsibility of DRIVE were reassigned by Vice Dean Sharon L. Youmans

  2. Reworded Goal 1 to reflect the evolving distinguishing characteristics of the UCSF PharmD graduate

  3. Reassigned objectives to new faculty/staff drivers in light of appointments, hires, departures

See 2015 version

Go to: Leading Change: Strategic Plan 2015–2022