Beginning in the spring of 2021, students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy who are placed at the Knoxville campus for their second through fourth year of pharmacy school will be able to go to Knoxville a semester earlier.
Currently, students spend the first full year (P1) of pharmacy school on the Memphis campus, and then have the option to finish their training at the college’s other campuses in Nashville and Knoxville.
Jennifer Schoelles, PharmD, associate dean for Student Affairs in the College of Pharmacy, said allowing these students to go to Knoxville beginning in their P1 spring instead of their P2 fall will better serve students from East Tennessee. The college has renovated space on the Knoxville campus and created a P1 classroom to accommodate these students.
“This means that they only have to come to Memphis for four months for the P1 fall and allows students from East Tennessee or surrounding areas to get back closer to home sooner,” Dr. Schoelles said. “It decreases the amount of time that they have to be away from those areas that they call home.”
The early Knoxville campus selection will be an option for the incoming Class of 2024. This spring semester, the college has had a small group of P1 students on the Knoxville campus. Megan Bell, one of the students in this group, is a Knoxville native.
“Knoxville is my home, and I didn’t want to miss out on time with my friends and family for four years,” she said. “This way, I was only gone for four months.”
Gabe Quaranta, another P1 Knoxville student, said he benefited from going to Knoxville for the spring semester because he already had a job at a pharmacy in Knoxville, and going back to the city sooner allowed him to keep it.
“I am someone who learns from experience, and this was an opportunity to apply what I learn in class to the real world in Knoxville,” he said.
Quaranta said he also saw the benefit of spending his first semester in Memphis, as he was able to get to know classmates and many professors face-to-face.
“Completing my first semester of pharmacy school in Memphis allowed me to adjust to the rigor of pharmacy school,” Quaranta said.
College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, said the early Knoxville campus option will reduce the barrier to pharmacy school for students from East Tennessee who do not want to be far from their families and communities.
“Sending our P1 students to Knoxville a little earlier allows us to better serve students across the entire state of Tennessee,” she said.