Now 50,000 square feet: School of Pharmacy expands to second floor

By Kenna Caprio

It’s more than just a brand new floor for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Pharmacy — it’s a whole new phase.

Dean Avaltroni pharmacy second floor tech

Dean Michael Avaltroni demonstrates the new technology and equipment, including a camera and hood in the sterile compounding laboratory, awaiting students on the second floor of the School of Pharmacy. (Photos by Dan Landau)

Dean Avaltroni pharmacy second floor lab

As prospective, new and current students flow in through the new front door of the pharmacy building, they arrive in a large, open welcome center and reception area on the second floor. To the left is a large classroom, capable of holding all of the school’s 250 students or being divided into smaller classrooms, and equipped with the technology necessary to educate 21st-century learners. To the right is a top-notch sterile compounding laboratory, in which students and faculty will work with and prepare medications.

“We are excited to double the footprint of the School of Pharmacy, and to provide a host of new teaching and learning environments for our students,” says Michael Avaltroni, dean of the School of Pharmacy, of the second floor. “The new space provides a number of flexible, active-learning classroom settings; video conferencing capabilities; and a state-of-the-art sterile compounding training facility.”

The 25,000 additional square feet position the School of Pharmacy for its next stage of academic growth and expand the University’s reach.

“We want our students to have a leg up on their peers because of their skill sets and experiences,” Avaltroni says. “So, we’re asking ourselves, what’s the current state of the game and how do we contribute based on what we have here?”

The auditorium-style classroom can be modified into three classrooms, seating 90-95 students in one space and 45-50 in the other two. All the furniture in the room, most notably student desks and chairs, can pivot focus to 90 degrees, depending on which classroom set up is in place. Flat panel screens add more teaching options.

With video conferencing, or interactive television (ITV), available in the new conference room, faculty and administrators can now easily consult with off-site clinical faculty. The room will also be used for remote classes, especially as the School of Pharmacy embarks on interdisciplinary study with Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

In the sterile compounding lab, pharmacy students and faculty will prepare intravenous (IV) medications and chemotherapies. The barrier isolator hood, IV hood and biosafety cabinet provide a sterile environment for the compounding work, preventing cross-contamination, while, just as importantly, protecting the researchers from powerful chemicals and medications.

The laboratory was made possible by a gift from BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company). Pharmacy students will have the opportunity to take an elective course in the compounding lab starting in the Spring 2015 semester.

Pharmacy second floor classroom
This auditorium-style room on the second floor of the School of Pharmacy is flexible and active, and can function as one classroom or be partitioned into three separate learning areas.

A separate faculty research room and laboratory, plus administrative and faculty offices round out the second floor.

Meanwhile, downstairs “the repurposing of the first floor into student individual and group study spaces provides additional locations for our students to gather and learn from our faculty and from each other,” Avaltroni says.

Staff and faculty offices became the private and group study spaces, separate from the student lounge — which, by student request, now houses a ping-pong table. The lounge, classrooms and hallways all received a fresh coat of paint.

The first floor now also features an accountable care partnership lab, being developed with Barnabas Health, and headed by a faculty member shared between the School of Pharmacy and Barnabas Health. In this center, students learn to follow up with patients after they’ve been discharged from the hospital.

“Pharmacists play a key role in discharge — people aren’t always compliant with their medications,” says Avaltroni. Patients with ongoing conditions, such as chronic heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and emphysema, will receive follow up calls and care. “A regular phone call, an immediate response could make the difference and lead to a successful health outcome.”

Next, Avaltroni says, the School of Pharmacy looks to expand health science programs and education through interprofessional collaborations; active career placement including job fairs and residencies; and meetings with industry partners. “The School of Pharmacy is more than just an educational place for students, it’s also a community,” he says.



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