Town Hall: Back-to-school plans

Join School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, for the latest on back-to-school plans.

Updates this week include:

  • Michael Nordberg, MPA/HSA on the units moving from Laurel Heights to Mission Bay.
  • Joel W. Gonzales discusses the incoming PharmD Class of 2023.
  • Jon Rey, MEd, reports on PharmD orientation.
  • Cynthia V. Zarate details virtual learning readiness.
  • Jason Gestwicki, PhD, talks about getting PhD students back in the lab.

Video transcript

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[Joe Guglielmo] 0:03 Welcome, everybody to the School of Pharmacy Town Hall. As you can see, from the initial slide, we're have a special focus on back to school. As always, I'd like to just remind you of a few tips regarding our zoom. Your audio and video will be automatically muted. Only panelists can unmute themselves, the chat function is disabled for the audience. For those audience that have questions, please use the Q and A's feature at the bottom of your screen. As usual, we will hold all questions to the end. And all outstanding questions will be answered in email or, if they were given to us anonymously, at the next town hall meeting. So I'm going to be relatively brief with my comments because we have a lot of information from our four guest speakers. But the very general COVID update, I think you all know, I will say it ever so briefly. It's not positive. United States just went over 150,000 deaths. The University of Washington expects that total if everything stays the same, will be 220,000 people dead by November the first. I think you also know the California has the most infections in the nation. We just hit 475,000. I think you also know from yesterday's Chronicle, that the San Francisco bay area just exceeded 50,000 infections. The outbreak if we can call it that, because we're getting worse are is really due to three reasons is taking place particularly in underserved communities that have to live closely together, that must work, that cannot shelter in place. I think you know, this is particularly a been on the Latino population, throughout the state. The second major reason for the outbreak is frankly refusal to adhere to social distancing and masking. And the third is the institutional setting issue, where in fact, I think you know, the prisons, the meatpacking, the retirement homes and like these are all places where outbreak is taking place. And I will say as of late last night, UCSF Med Center had its highest total of hospitalized patients with COVID, who was up to 34 for about half of which were acute care and about half of which were in the ICU. I think you all know shelter in place continues. I won't remind you on that, you know that plans for further reopening went on hold during July due to the increase and surge. And the only thing I really want to talk about in terms of updates and news is I really want to focus primarily on the budget picture. Which I've done every town hall, I want to reiterate what I've said to you before the school has prepared for reductions in allocations and budget. You're probably aware there are a number of units on campus that are facing staff reductions, furloughs, and the like. I'm going to say again to you, these staff reductions and furloughs are not being considered for the School of Pharmacy. And we have some preliminary data that reinforces that our planning in fact, will put us in a good place in terms of the ripple effect of that budget reduction that we ultimately get. So the first thing we're going to go in first guest speaker is going to be Michael Nordberg. He will speak, the Associate Dean for finance administration, he's going to speak for a few minutes to update us on School of Pharmacy moves both to Mission Bay and Parnassus, Michael.

[Michael Nordberg] 4:02 Thank you, Joe. So this briefly talk about moved to the Wayne and Gladys Valley Center for Vision and also the clinical science building. These will be moved from Laurel Heights and UC Hall and involve the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and part of the School of Pharmacy dean's office. Next slide, please. This is an artist's rendering of the Wayne and Gladys Valley Center for Vision at Mission Bay you to your left you'll actually see the rounded shape of the Chase Center. It's that close to it. Next slide, please. There's a physical location on a map showing it's directly across from the hospital and then next to the Chase Center. It's a combination of an ophthalmology building and also a 12 story administrative tower. Next slide. This is abbreviated view of the move schedule. If you look at where it's green level three, that is the School of Pharmacy's move we will be moving the contents of our offices to the new building on September 21. Next slide please. So in August, we will be packing up, we're already started, and in September the boxes will be moved and then they will be unpacked in October and then we will return to the office sometime in December, January if things improve or you will have to see if that's that's open to debate. Next slide please. And then there's the move to the Clinical Science building which will finish the renovation in early December. And moves are slated for that in late December, early January. We do not have a detailed new schedule at this time. Thank you.

[Joe Guglielmo] 5:57 Thank you, Michael.

So moving on back to the back to school theme this time. First up, we're going to have the director of admissions. That's Joel Gonzalez from the Office of Student and Curricular Affairs. He will share his analysis of the very rapidly changing admissions landscape for the PharmD curriculum. And will tell us a little bit about the new class. That is the class of 2023. Joel.

[Joel Gonzales] 6:27 Thanks, Joe. I'm going to jump right into it because I know we have limited time. But just to talk a little bit about the applicant pool in general, nationally, it was down 20 percent. And that's reported every month from AACP. And so that's based on the most recent reporting. Interestingly enough, though, at UCSF, our applications were up 23 percent. So very, very different than the national landscape. I think they're possibly two factors that came into play and the reason why our numbers are very different from what they look like nationally. This is the first year that we haven't required the PCAT, but also have had a three year curriculum. And I think just those two variables coming into play at the same time really impacted the fact that our application numbers were up. And so that's, that's quite exciting for us given the national landscape. However, we do know that more than 40 percent of PharmD programs, we're still accepting applications as late as July 1. And I think this really speaks to the current national landscape of so many PharmD programs in existence with a fairly limited pool of applicants. Because of this, we saw some interesting activity this year in some other PharmD programs reaching out to applicants who previously declined those schools offers and providing incentives to reconsider. did it affect us not so much last year, our yield rate for our entering class was about 77 percent. And yield rate in admissions refers to the number of students that actually matriculate in comparison to the number of people who were offered admission. And so last year, that was 77 percent. This year, it was 75 percent. We're always in that range. And so that didn't impact us greatly. And I suggest that we have one of the highest PharmD yield rates in the country. We'll know more in the fall when all programs have reported out and AACP can collect that data. But we continue to attract, admit retain and matriculate a strong cohort of students. I think that really speaks to the quality and the reputation of our program and you know, it takes a village to make that happen. Overall, when you look at the entering class, the demographics are very similar as they are annually in terms of the average age, the average GPA, so a lot of those demographics are very similar. However, this year, there were a few outlying differences. Which, you know are real areas of celebration for us are underrepresented students increased to 26 percent of the entering class compared to last year 16 percent representation from the CSU system increased to 16 percent from last year 7 percent. And we've collected for the past several years information on LGBT representation. But this is the first year that actually pulled that data and incorporate the reports I've given to the school leadership, and 12 percent of the entering class identify with that community. We have five international students in this program and three undocumented students. And I'm particularly proud of those numbers because I think it reflects the holistic review and the openness of this program to admit a broad base of students, specifically in the Class of 2023. I mean, I could go through 127 different profiles and talk About the uniqueness of those students. But just a few sort of pieces of information I'll share there are 10 students with master's degrees, which is higher than normal. So those students are on a path to a doctoral degree. Now, obviously, we have a set of identical twins in the class, I think that might be a first we've certainly had siblings in the program at the same time, but twins in the class, it's kind of exciting. And we have another student who I think has a really unique story, and I hope that you all have a chance to interact with him through the next three years. He sought political asylum recently in the United States for daring to challenge his birth country's human rights abuses. So he brings a tremendous insight into healthcare and to the class. The class really has expressed a tremendous amount of gratitude by how the school has responded to the pandemic, both in regards to the curriculum, but also the onboarding process. And my colleague, john will talk a little bit more about that. A huge Thanks to everyone who played a rolling admissions process from the very beginning all the way through orientation. COVID-19 certainly did present some challenges this spring. So I'm really glad the cycle has ended. But the application has already opened for the Class of 2024. So we're already off to the races. I'd be happy to take any questions at the end. Thanks.

[Joe Guglielmo] 11:23 Thank you, Joel.

I also want to applaud Joel a lot of the reason we sit there at 75 - 77 percent actually asked to do a Joel Gonzalez. And the last thing I'll say, Joe, I did think of a third reason that the applications were up 20 some percent. In addition to its four year program and the PCAT, it's because we're the best school of pharmacy in the world. That was the third reason so.

[Joel Gonzales] 11:49 Okay, I'll take it.

[Joe Guglielmo] 11:51 Okay. So, as Joel mentioned, the class of 2023 it's is here And given the circumstances it has been an interesting start. They just wrapped up their orientation week. And Jon Rey from the Office of Student curricular affairs will now recap the orientation experience for you, Jon.

[Jon Rey] 12:15 Yes, thank you. So as Dean Guglielmo mentioned, my name is Jon Rey, and I'm the Student Affairs coordinator with the Office of Student and Curricular Affairs or OSCA. And as such, I was primarily responsible for creating remote orientation program. Similar to last year, our goals were to set the Inc set the incoming students up for success both academically and personally. We did this through organizing 24 different sessions about the curriculum, academic integrity, diversity, school and campus resources and various other topics over the course of four days last week, students have the opportunity to interact with their classmates, upperclassman faculty, alumni and staff from all over UCSF through meet and greets panels and presentations. Unlike last year, however, we were tasked with doing all of this remotely. Needless to say, there were a lot of Zoom calls. While the large group sessions were relatively easy to translate to a remote format via Zoom, our student orientation counselors had to overcome the larger hurdle of redesigning icebreakers and community building activities for a virtual experience. I'm happy to report that we're wildly successful. Through creative problem solving, the students plan a virtual campus scavenger hunt, and several zoom games like pass the cup. In a moment, you'll see a short video which demonstrates some of these activities. Students describe their remote orientation experience as fantastic and impressive. Despite the circumstances and shared, they are excited to be such be a part of such a great community. As one student wrote in their valuation, "you made our orientation as normal and memorable as possible and we still feel welcomed by the School of Pharmacy." It's clear that building a sense of community within this cohort will continue to have its challenges, but we've shown that it is possible to do so even with our current limitations, we're excited to continue to support continue supporting the Class of 2023 through their pharmacy program and look forward to walking them in the pharmacy into the pharmacy profession through a virtual White Coat Celebration in late August. More details about the celebration will be announced soon. For now, thank you for your time and please enjoy this short video. A glimpse into remote orientation

[Joe Guglielmo] 15:31 thank you john. That was fantastic.

And thank you and Cindy Watchmaker, Watchmaker, and all OSCA for putting on such a great orientation during some such interesting times. So, moving on in the agenda. Next will be Cynthia Zarate, who is the director of OEIS the Office of Education instructional services. And she has really led the charge with her group incorporating Technology Readiness into this year's orientation. Cynthia.

[Cynthia Zarate] 16:13 Thank you, Joe for providing the opportunity to talk a little bit more about our remote experience. I have a couple of slides if Eric can... Thank you, Eric. So, we learned from delivering the didactic curriculum remotely in the spring that we needed to establish a baseline of knowledge for both students and faculty to support teaching and learning readiness. Between the months of June and July we focused on developing training sessions for faculty and creating online modules to frontload critical any new information to the entering P1 class during online orientation. So we took that nice little window of opportunity to ensure that the transition to the new academic year would be as seamless as possible to the new class, the entering class, and also to provide resources to reorient the returning P2 students. I'll talk a little bit about some of the process that we did, some of the work that we did with the faculty, and some of the work that we did with the students. Next slide, please.

[Cynthia Zarate] 17:28 So we surveyed faculty and volunteer instructors on teaching readiness. We received 167 responses, and learned that there was both an interest and need to provide technology support and resources. The faculty were very interested in leveraging technology for student engagement. And we offered nine sessions focused on Zoom features such as polling, breakout group management, and whiteboard. As you can see from these visuals, we had a total of 58 participants in these trainings, 46% of them were UCSF faculty, 26% of them were volunteer faculty. And we also had 19% that were staff and then other people that were interested in learning on how to leverage the Zoom platform to be able to connect with students.

[Cynthia Zarate] 18:16 In addition, in order to frontload a lot of this information to the students, we wanted to ensure that they were prepared specifically with remote exams and also to familiarize themselves with how to obtain the learning materials that would be necessary for their success. So we created online modules that would be used for the online orientation to give more time for practice on these platforms. As a result of that, 121 out of the 127 entering class completed a mock exam so they would be more familiar with how to experience a remote exam. We also are able to see through the back end, how many people have access to a lot of the different modules that review how to prepare for an exam, how to download course materials from their Ilios calendar, how to access the calendar. And as you can see, there is a big interest and number of views for those materials.

[Cynthia Zarate] 19:25 During the remote orientation, we had really nice attendance and a lot of students completed the modules. It was a total of five OEIS presentations. This was over a four day span. For the remote reorientation, we also did a one day presentation. So the main goal was to really provide and prepare the students and measure readiness. We're really looking to keep our pulse on the overall experience of faculty, students, and staff and we are going to come continue to measure teaching readiness throughout every quarter, every theme, and we're looking at ways to improve student engagement. The remote delivery of the curriculum has really prompted us to look closer at ways that technology can support learning. There is a silver lining here: we can integrate these practices when we returned to in-class learning. We are looking closer at ways of improving on how we present different material. And what we realize is that collaboration is key. Our staff is working closer than ever with faculty. And we're also working with students to see what is successful in these Zoom sessions. So I invite everyone to contact OEIS if you have any creative ideas, any feedback, any questions, and we look forward to working with you. Thank you.

[Joe Guglielmo] 20:58 Thank you, Cynthia. And thank you to your entire group which is doing such a great job managing this very dynamic curriculum. Appreciate it.

[Joe Guglielmo] 21:09 So moving on, our last guest speaker. As background, I think you all know that the School of Pharmacy oversees five programs in the graduate division. One of those programs is Chemistry and Chemical Biology. And Jason Gestwicki serves as director of that particular program. He's been working diligently to ensure students can safely and hopefully effectively tackle their coursework and lab work during this unique time. Jason.

[Jason Gestwicki] 21:43 Excellent. Thanks a lot, Joe. Thanks for having me here. I'm here to provide a status report on how the graduate students are adapting to this coexistence with the COVID-19 pandemic, which seems like it's going to be with us for a little while. As Joe said, the School of Pharmacy is heavily invested in graduate education at UCSF. I think we should all be really proud of our graduate students for the way they tackled the research mission of the School of Pharmacy. They're really there at the front lines, doing some of the most outstanding research in School of Pharmacy research labs. So they've continued to do that for the past few months during the COVID-19 epidemic. Some of them have switched their research projects over to working on COVID-19 targets, working on new therapeutic strategies. I think that's something else we can be very proud of. And maybe less well known is that many of our graduate students, dozens of our graduate students, volunteered at the CLIA COVID-19 testing lab, and really, you know, were very important in the early days of developing the testing for San Francisco. And when the call came out for people with good, rigorous analytical skills and in the laboratory, our graduate students were very quick to volunteer their time in those labs and were essential to getting that testing up and running, especially in the early days.

[Jason Gestwicki] 23:14 So I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we've been doing for the graduate students, and how we've been working together to try to get them into the laboratory to keep doing this outstanding work. Maybe before I do that, just a very quick background on how our graduate student curriculum looks. So the graduate students, in their first year when they arrive, they take a didactic set of courses. At the same time, they do some research rotations, three to four research rotations in laboratories of UCSF faculty. At the end of that time, then, they select a laboratory in which they're going to do their thesis work. So at that time, they really dive deeply into an important question. They develop new knowledge, they spend their second through fifth or sixth years, doing experiments building up their thesis and publishing their results.

[Jason Gestwicki] 24:04 And so in the early parts of the graduate education, I think a lot of the things that Cynthia was telling us about moving all of the didactic components to Zoom-based formats, getting our faculty trained in Zoom-based formats, those things parallel really nicely with what Cynthia has told us about the sort of maybe the slightly different part of graduate education where we had to do things slightly differently. It was a big part then especially in the second through later years. A big part is trying to get that wet lab research going again. And so as you know, from these town halls and other UCSF events, we've been operating under about 25% capacity. And it looks like we'll be stuck there for quite some time and that generates challenges around graduate students being able to actually conduct the research they need to be able to move on in their career, get their education, and get their training.

[Jason Gestwicki] 25:00 So most of the laboratories, including those in the School of Pharmacy, have moved to shift based work. So patterned somewhat after the auto industry, so that we can try to maximize the amount of time that students get into the research laboratory while still maintaining ultimate safety and social distancing. We've also had to work really carefully on transportation solutions. Those have been a little more piecemeal, and we're still working on solutions to things like carpooling and other ways of getting people to the laboratory. But I think that the take home message is we have a lot of really smart people at UCSF, including our graduate students, and everyone's working really hard to try to do our best so that people can continue with their education and continue doing great science. So happy answer any questions. Thank you.

[Joe Guglielmo] 25:49 Thank you, Jason, for giving us a nice overview of what our colleagues in the Ph.D program are up against. And it sounds like we're being as successful as we possibly can. So now we move into the question and answer session, as usual, that will be led by Grant Burningham. And I already see there's a series of questions that have come in. So, Grant.

[Grant Burningham] 26:14 We have about three minutes. So if anyone has any questions, now's the time to ask. This first one is from Leslie Benet. And I believe it's addressed at Cynthia. Is there an organizational issue that no residents participated in the training?

[Cynthia Zarate] 26:27 No, we did extend the invitation to the residents. We think it has to do with the timing that it was in June, we have actually extended the resource to the residents. So now they have access, and we've actually renamed it to the faculty and residents resource page. So they will have access to it and we're also open to providing training for them.

[Grant Burningham] 26:48 And one more question right now and I think this is also in your area Cynthia. This is from Ilya Gordon. Hi, I am seeking to find out more about the use of Zoom to train and teach others. Are there networks, efforts, and connections or resources you can connect me with.

[Cynthia Zarate] 27:04 Yes. So we're happy to also share resources that we have developed but also, at a school level, the library has also created resources on their website as well. So I'm happy to provide some links to them offline as well, but the UCSF Library does have a resource list, with trainings and so forth.

[Grant Burningham] 27:31 Okay, Joe, I think that's it for questions.

[Joe Guglielmo] 27:34 All right. Thank you, Grant. And I thank all our guest speakers. Michael Nordberg, Joel Gonzalez, Jon Rey, Cynthia, Zarate, and Jason Gestwicki. Thank you all for giving us a glimpse of really where we are at the present time. The next town hall will be Thursday, September the 10th. From 2:30 to 3pm, Outlook invitations have already been sent. In the meantime, as always, do your best to stay safe and well. Until then, have a good day.


School of Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.