As a faculty member at the University of Connecticut for more than 25 years, no two years have been the same, let alone two days!
My Ph.D. is in Immunology and I am based in the School of Pharmacy on the Storrs campus as a tenured associate professor. In this position, I have served as a teaching/research faculty member, as an associate dean and now primarily as a teaching faculty member. This semester I am teaching in three courses to pharmacy students and to new college freshmen as well as graduate education courses.
A typical day often begins with reviewing notes and slides for the day’s lectures along with scientific papers that support the information I provide. Handouts and papers are then posted on the class website. Each class I teach in the School of Pharmacy has approximately 100 students.
Following the lectures, I compose exam questions that will test comprehension and not just memorization. I then, of course, answer numerous student emails on the past lectures and upcoming exams. I maintain office hours in the afternoon and at other times on an ad hoc basis.
One advantage to office hours is the ability to get to know students on an individual basis. This allows me to understand their background, prior courses, future plans and troubles they may have in one of my current courses.
I also participate in a program known as UConn Connects in which I meet individually with freshmen and sophomore students who are struggling in some of their basic science courses.
We discuss methods for note taking, strategies for effective studying, avoiding distractions and time management. I also recommend they visit our cultural centers and academic centers such as the W Center (for writing-based courses) Q Center (for quantitative-based courses) and the Academic Achievement Center.
The First Year Experience course offered by UConn is for freshmen students in general and, in my case, for pre-pharmacy students specifically. A number of pharmacy faculty — including me– meet with students in a small class setting (usually around 19 students) to discuss not only how to survive college, but also careers in pharmacy, pharmacy enrichment programs (e.g. study abroad programs and working in a research laboratory) and how to prioritize tasks while still finding time to de-stress!
It is so enriching to see these young men and women mature over the years from very nervous freshmen into professional students.
Another student-centered scholastic program in which I am involved is a Pharmacy curricular track known as the Leadership Track. As one of four tracks in our School, the Leadership Track offers interested students specialized courses focused on leadership strategies, research projects and service learning opportunities. This program is team taught led by faculty with different leadership experience and with a variety of leadership strengths.
And finally, I provide service to my school, university and state through such committees as promotion, and tenure review, the University Senate, the American Association of University Professors as well as through science courses provided to pharmaceutical companies.
I feel fortunate to be a faculty member at UConn teaching and working with some amazing students, faculty and staff. I feel that we all work hard to provide a truly valuable education to our students.
When my friends outside of UConn ask me what I do, I reply “Bend and shape young minds.”
An education at UConn from gifted faculty will allow our students to become life-long learners.
Andrea Hubbard, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy.