Change Leaders: MN-COP Faculty Serve as American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Leadership during 2015-2016

During the past year (2015-2016), two MN-COP faculty members served in leadership roles in AACP.  We asked them about their experiences as members of the AACP leadership and the impact of those experiences on their teaching, research, and/or practice at the University of Minnesota.

Todd Sorensen

Dr. Todd Sorensen, Associate Department Head and Professor in Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems, served as Chair of the Council of Faculties (COF), which carries a role on the AACP Board of Directors.  He has been involved in several professional organizations over the years, but AACP has been where he has felt most “at home.” Dr. Sorensen mentioned that being a part of AACP leadership has provided him with new ideas to apply in his teaching and research.  For example, the closing keynote speaker at this year’s annual meeting provided him with inspiration for a new learning activity that he hopes to incorporate in his leadership course this fall.  A highlight of Dr. Sorensen’s time serving at AACP was a Task Force that he helped lead to explore strategies to accelerate change in academic pharmacy.  According to Dr. Sorensen, through the work of the task force, AACP will be kicking off a “catalytic campaign” this fall that will engage schools of pharmacy in a rapid cycle process for expanding their teaching and learning activities focused on the JCPP Pharmacists Patient Care Process. This campaign is expected to be the first of several as AACP works to serve as a catalyst for change in academic pharmacy and the profession as a whole.

When asked how his Minnesota experiences have influenced his leadership role at AACP he responded: 

“Being part of a school that is as dynamic as ours in terms of scope of academic activity provides a broad perspective, which is important for the future-oriented work of the COF and Board of Directors.  My academic focus areas of teaching leadership and engaging in practice advancement through research and service have directly influenced the agenda I’ve helped establish within both the COF and AACP at-large.” 


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Kerry Fierke

Dr. Kerry Fierke, Assistant Professor in Pharmacy Practice & Pharmaceutical Sciences, served as Secretary of the Leadership Special Interest Group (SIG) at AACP.  She got involved in the executive team of the SIG to further collaborate with motivated and talented colleagues who had common interests in developing future leaders within colleges of pharmacy.  Dr. Fierke emphasized that being part of AACP leadership has given her ways to connect and partner with colleagues at other universities in sharing classroom materials on leadership topics, developing scholarly research, and discussing best leadership practices.  “I wouldn’t have been able to make those connections as easily if it hadn’t been for the SIG.” 

A highlight of Dr. Fierke’s AACP leadership opportunity was developing deeper connections with people with similar interests, learning from them, and contributing to the pharmacy profession in ways that she had never considered previously. 

When asked about the influence of her Minnesota experiences on her leadership role at AACP she said: 

“As a faculty member involved in the Leadership Emphasis Area at the U of M, our focus is on developing leaders in pharmacy.  It is important to ensure, as colleagues, that we are on the same page and we are developing our students in similar yet unique ways to them.” 

Thank you, Dr. Sorensen and Dr. Fierke, for your service in advancing pharmacy education!

Stay tuned for an upcoming issue on MN-COP faculty who will be serving AACP leadership roles in 2016-2017!!