Community and global engagement have long been priorities for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS) at Drake University. But, with a new dean and strategic planning in full force, the college’s commitment to community and global responsibility is on track to reach new heights.
Denise Soltis, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, has recently stepped into the new role of assistant dean for community and global engagement for the CPHS. As assistant dean of clinical affairs, Soltis has helped student pharmacy organizations with community outreach as well as connected students with global advance pharmacy practice experiences and senior experience opportunities.
“My passion is the developing world—it’s those experiences where I see the most growth in students,” says Soltis. “They return from an experience abroad, looking at themselves and the world around them differently.”
The College has identified more than 50 students who are interested in a global experience in 2014. In the past, the CPHS has sent students to India, Belize, South Africa, Australia, Dominica, and Tanzania, among others. Soltis says her goal is to find a placement for every student who is interested. Experiences in Ethiopia and Uganda are currently in development.
“It takes a lot of time and organization to plan these programs, but the opportunity it provides our students is incredibly rewarding,” says Soltis. “My dream was to spend more of my time in international work and this position will allow me to do just that.”
Wendy Duncan, dean of the CPHS, shares Soltis’ passion and is enthusiastic about providing Drake students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to work with other cultures.
“Drake is committed to graduating globally responsible citizens and we take this very seriously,” says Duncan. “The partnerships we’ve been able to create all over the world are not only beneficial for students, but also beneficial for faculty who are interested in pursuing international teaching and research.”
Duncan says the College will be undertaking additional strategic planning for the area starting in January 2014.