Learn It, See It, Do It! A Leading Adaptive Change Experience for Student Pharmacists

Kristen K. Janke, University of Minnesota - Duluth
Reid C. Smith, University of Minnesota - Duluth
Benjamin D. Aronson, Ohio Northern University
Todd D. Sorensen, University of Minnesota - Duluth


Objectives: Deliver and evaluate a course providing an experience in leading change. Method: This 2-credit elective is offered to students in a structured curricular track focused on leadership development. Students apply lessons learned from previous leadership courses by identifying an issue from pharmacy practice or education that requires adaptive change, creating a vision for this change, and taking the necessary steps to implement their vision. The course also provides opportunities to use and evaluate leadership skills and to build confidence in leading adaptive change. Success in achieving these outcomes was assessed using course satisfaction surveys, student self-assessment surveys and self, peer and instructor evaluations of student final project presentations. Results: Twenty-three students (classes of 2011 and 2012) completed surveys (82% response). All students agreed (21.7%) or strongly agreed (78.3%) that they were able to identify an area that would benefit from change. Most students agreed or strongly agreed that they applied: 1) strengths concepts (96%); 2) self-reflection (96%); 3) practices of exemplary leaders (70%); 4) team concepts (65%); and 5) a defined change process (91%). For the class of 2012, ratings from instructors indicated that Project Leadership (vs. Project Management; 17% needs improvement) and Recognition of the Role of Team (8% needs improvement) were among the more difficult variables. Nearly all students (96%) agreed or strongly agreed the experience increased confidence in their leading change ability. Implications: Experiences leading adaptive change are important to engendering student confidence prior to entering practice. A focused experience can prompt leading change skill development.