Celebrating 10 years of student leadership development

What is the LEA evaluation about?

In 2018, the UMN College of Pharmacy is planning to celebrate a 10-year milestone for the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA) program. In preparation for the event, the program directors wanted to do something special to showcase the accomplishments and successes of the program, along with finding out methods for improvement. They decided to conduct a holistic evaluation of the LEA program, in order to share stories and some of the results at the celebration.

What is different about this evaluation?

Every year the program directors evaluate the individual LEA courses, the program’s activities and events, and students’ learning. However, the one thing that hasn’t been done is to evaluate the big picture. To accomplish this task, the Directors wanted to move beyond the traditional “does it work?” This evaluation will also address the questions “how does it work?”, “why does it work?”, and “what else happens beyond the planned program outcomes?” In this way, the LEA’s evaluation will be helping to support the advancement of program evaluation in health professions education, by implementing strategies advocated by Haji, Morin, and Parker (2013).  

Who is involved?

The ultimate purpose of the LEA evaluation is learn from the perspectives and viewpoints of key identified stakeholders. The stakeholders include:

  • approximately 50 third and fourth year pharmacy students in the program and another 60 second year students contemplating joining it
  • 149 LEA graduates/alumni
  • 3 program directors and key instructors (Todd Sorensen, Kristin Janke, and Kerry Fierke)
  • pharmacy employers who are hiring LEA graduates
  • 40+ Leadership Network Partners (LNPs) who work with students to understand the application of leadership principles in practice.
  • instructors at peer schools of pharmacy

Those conducting the LEA evaluation (under the supervision of the program directors) include:

  • 2 pharmacy leadership residents (Stephanie Swanson and Natalie Roy)
  • 2 graduate students interested in leadership with qualitative research methods experience (Debbie Peska and Bob Bechtol)

When and how is the evaluation happening?

The full evaluation is currently underway. A sample of LNPs have been interviewed in dyadic pairs using videoconferencing. In addition, all three program directors have been interviewed for their perspectives. Additionally, a survey instrument is in the development stages to gather pharmacy employers’ perspectives on the program. Data collection and analysis will occur through spring 2018.

Please stay tuned in the coming months for updates from the LEA evaluation team as we move forward and get ready for the 10-year LEA celebration!