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The University of Mississippi

‘Friend of the Student’ Keeps School of Pharmacy Humming

Posted on: June 15th, 2020 by pmsmith

June 15, 2020

Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell

Keeping teachers and students connected is an important part of the education process, especially in these uncertain times. However, as teachers and students have embraced remote teaching and learning in response to COVID-19, technology innovations continue to evolve and present new opportunities for effective instruction

Fortunately for the faculty and students of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, Sarah Campbell is here to help. As the school’s instructional design and training specialist, Campbell provides everything students need to keep learning – even from home.

This year, the student body selected Campbell as a recipient of the annual Friend of the Student Award. Get to know her in the Q&A below.

What are your responsibilities with the School of Pharmacy?

My primary responsibility is to create materials, tools and resources for faculty and staff to drive student learning. To do so, I design training sessions for the effective use of technology like Blackboard, ExamSoft, Top Hat and Zoom. Most importantly, I build bridges between teachers and learners. With collaboration and imagination, we are preparing our student pharmacists to serve as caring, confident drug experts, scholars and future leaders.

Why did you begin working for the School of Pharmacy?

I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of professors and students who deserve the very best services, support and resources to meet their needs.

What has been the most satisfying aspect of your work?

The people. Always, the people. The people I meet, the stories they bring and the essential talents they share–that is the most satisfying aspect of my work.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, all our face-to-face courses moved to virtual learning environments in a matter of days. Some may have thought that it couldn’t be done, but they must not have met the faculty-staff-student team here at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Hosting Zoom classes for the last eight weeks has given me a rare and precious seat next to all our teachers and learners in Oxford and Jackson. Our brilliant thinkers, advocates, scholars and pioneers in our professional program amaze me. I know that I am receiving far more contributions than I could ever give because they are upgrading me one lesson at a time. Just like the proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I heard as a new teacher 20+ years ago was to take time to reflect, always keep an open mind and work the problem. My first mentor was actually a science teacher who offered solutions with a combination of philosophy, physics and poetry that made perfect sense to me. “See if you can look at it sideways, from an angle you haven’t tried yet.”

In essence, her advice is simple and familiar: if you want to evolve, you’ve got to move out of your comfort zone. The recent COVID-19 experience has shown us that effective teaching takes courage, perseverance and risk, but it is worth it in the end. Now more than ever, educators are actively participating and engaging in the conversation focused on student learning. Success is possible when we are willing to offer our small, but ever so important, gesture of goodness to the world.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my husband, our 11-year-old son and three dogs. Lately, we have been out walking, paddle boarding and biking. I hope to read, cook and travel this summer. Staying optimistic–my favorite hobby of all!

How did it feel to be honored by the students?

I am grateful to the students for their kindness to pick me for the Friend of the Student Award. Gabriel García Márquez said it best in his novel Love in the Time of Cholera, “She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children, but because of the friendship formed while raising them.”

I truly appreciate the friendships we all have formed at the school while teaching and learning together. I love my “pharmacy phamily.” Thank you!