The Pharmacology Department has a legacy of excellence in teaching pharmacology to second year medical students at Upstate Medical University. The Medical Pharmacology course has an impressive history of awards received from the Syracuse Medical Alumni Association acknowledging the high quality of instruction by the faculty. More recently, the course evaluation assessment of the curriculum by the medical students consistently ranks the Medical Pharmacology course as the most well organized and executed course in the basic science curriculum. The AAMC Medical School Graduation Questionnaire consistently ranks the Medical Pharmacology course "Good to Excellent" in preparation for clinical clerkships and electives.
The high regard for the Medical Pharmacology course may be attributed to a culture of quality medical education in the Pharmacology Department where vigilant improvement is sought, student feedback is taken seriously, instruction is diligently and rigorously peer reviewed, care is taken to ask fair and accurate exam questions and an expectation to meet high standards for faculty and students alike.
The Medical Pharmacology course consists of approximately 100 instruction experiences including lectures, clinical case presentations and problem solving sessions. Each is attended by the two course directors for peer review of content and presentation in an attempt to improve the success of the educational experience of the students. Student feedback is taken very seriously and occurs in regular meetings with student representatives, an on-line course evaluation of instruction and an end-of-year Curriculum Survey. Faculty participating in teaching the medical pharmacology course are well aware of the expectation to meet the high standards set for all aspects of instruction, including lecture presentation, power point slides and handout notes. A high premium is placed upon preparing a fair, but challenging, assessment of the student's knowledge of pharmacology. Exam questions are prepared by the instructors and rigorously peer reviewed and vetted by the course directors for fairness and accuracy.
As is necessary in a culture of quality, some instructors do not continue to meet the high standards of instruction worthy of teaching in the Medical Pharmacology course and are discouraged from further participation. Some students also fail to meet the standard of competency in their knowledge of pharmacology and are therefore invited to repeat the Medical Pharmacology course.
- Steven Grassl, Ph.D.