Monday, April 9, 2007

Adapting to Change: Globalization and USC Pharmacy

When one reads about change and modernization in academia, the word globalization inevitably appears as one of the principle elements of change. Unfortunately, globalization has been a relevant term for over 25 years, yet it is more commonly referred to as a new phenomenon rather than the underlying force in our political and economic theory. It is for this reason that I propose the USC Pharmacy School adapt changes in their program that go beyond adapting to the minor changes of globalization has brought, and instead employ some for principle aspect of globalization. The first principle may seem self evident but more often than not is forgotten in academia; a useful integration into the global pharmaceutical market. The industry today is widespread, with many drugs being produced in Europe and Africa, and research is conducted in Asia and the U.S. The USC Pharmacy program can adjust their curriculum to integrate these elements of the industry by teaching students how and where their products come from, allowing them decide whether they would be interested in entering one of these markets overseas. Additionally, the USC Pharmacy School should consider opening a research facility overseas or perhaps in Canada. Although studying overseas is appealing for any student, pharmacy school graduates from USC would have a distinct advantage for any job if they can claim to have treated patients or conducted primary research in a foreign country. The second element of globalization that should be utilized by the school is integration with foreign pharmaceutical companies, allowing for students to work overseas, which is again a huge advantage USC pharmacy students will have over other competitive students. Other than globalization, a key change that should be implemented is the shortening of the entire curriculum. Currently, the pharmacy school is a four year program, which is on average a year longer than most other courses. Shortening the program to three years will draw more students to the program, allowing for the pharmacy school to choose the most qualified students. Additionally, the feasibility of a joint degree program will increase, for example, if a student pursued a joint degree program in which he would graduate with a Pharm D. degree and a MBA degree, that student would be in school for five years, although this isn’t a drastically long time period, it does not offer a competitively short time frame. Thus it is reasonable to assume that some students who wish to have a MBA would not pursue pharmacy become of the length of the program, and would pursue programs with shorter time frames. On the other hand, USC may be losing students to other pharmacy schools because of this same issue; for example, the only other pharmacy school in Los Angeles is Western University, which has a three year program. Additionally, the pharmacy school should also allow for more rotation time for students. This would give the students more experience under the guidance of USC while allowing them to discover what fields within pharmacy they would like to pursue once they graduate. Now if the USC Pharmacy School adopted all of these changes the experience of getting a degree in pharmacy would be significantly different; students would work and study overseas, while finishing in a shorter time period, allowing them to get a foothold in the industry sooner. However, one may argue that students cannot receive proper instructions outside of the U.S. due to language issues, but this brings us back to the problem of academia we addressed earlier, which is that reluctance to accept the ways in which globalization has changed the political, economic, and ultimately academic environment.

1 comment:

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