Wegmans School of Pharmacy Welcomes First Cohort of Online Students

August 31, 2020

This fall, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy opened its doors—virtually—to its first-ever cohort of students participating in the Fisher Pharm.D. Online pathway.

Students and faculty join a Zoom call to talk about the new pharmacy degree pathway.

The first online or hybrid Pharm.D. pathway offered by an institution in New York state—and one of fewer than 10 online graduate pharmacy programs in the country—Fisher’s online pathway includes 35 students from 16 states, including Texas, New Jersey, and Florida, among others. The College is offering the online pathway in partnership with 2U, Inc.

“After 18 months of preparation, we welcomed our inaugural class of the online pathway to the Fisher family, at a time when online education has never been more relevant. We are pleased to expand our program to have a broader geographic reach, offering the same high level of education and training our program affords,” said Dr. Christine Birnie, dean of the School.

Students in the program take courses online, using both synchronous and asynchronous formats, attending weekly live class sessions with faculty and completing interactive coursework on 2U’s online platform. They will also come to campus approximately twice a year for weeklong immersion experiences, where they will engage in hands-on training and activities, including compounding, CPR, immunization, and use of medical devices, among others. During their time on campus, they will work closely with and get to know their campus pathway peers. With one-third of the curriculum being experiential education, students will receive extensive hands-on training in pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities in their own communities under the direction of a pharmacy preceptor working with the School.

“Faculty, administration, and staff have worked diligently toward this launch for so long and I am delighted to see our inaugural class in the Online Pathway complete the virtual immersion and begin to engage with their coursework,” said Dr. Trevor Belcher, assistant dean for online education at the School. “Each course has been designed specifically for our Online Pathway, including interactive live sessions with many of the same outstanding faculty teaching in our campus pathway, asynchronous activities, video segments, and proctored assessments.”

New Jersey resident Yvonne Mensahn, who has served as a pharmacy technician at CVS for the past five years, enrolled in Fisher Pharm.D. Online to advance her career. She said the online nature of the program offered the flexibility she was looking for and throughout the admissions process she felt Fisher was the right fit for her.

“When you attend pharmacy school—whether it’s an online pathway or on campus—it is important to ensure that your pharmacy school invests in making students feel a sense of belonging, where we can feel respected, accepted, and supported,” she explained.

Mensahn said the three-day virtual immersion, which covered topics including experiential programs, student success, time management, and post graduate opportunities, among other topics, was helpful in introducing her to the School of Pharmacy and answering all of her questions. She also found a session featuring alumni of the School to be of particular interest and is excited to engage in the clinical rotations that come in the coming years.

“I am most excited for rotations because that is when I can gain access to real-life experiences,” she said. “Any student can study and read all day, but what is effective and matters most is being able to apply the information in a real-life setting.”

For more information about Fisher Pharm.D. Online, visit https://onlinepharmd.sjfc.edu/.