Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Rod P. Githens

First Committee Member

Brett Taylor

Second Committee Member

William Redford


This study was guided by Astin’s Student Involvement theory which explored student’s needs in a demanding program amongst 12 pre-pharmacy students at the University of the Pacific. This qualitative study looked to uncover the engagement, experiences, and support of pre-pharmacy students in order to learn what students want from their learning experiences; to aid in student success and retention. Qualitative interviews provided detailed stories to their pre-pharmacy experiences. Through a thorough analysis of the data seven themes emerged: (a) peer support (b) time management (c) exam structure (d) increased faculty support (e) housing placement (f) coping with stress (g) core classes. Students who were interviewed often-mentioned that their peers, who once were in situations similar to those that they found themselves in, helped them stay in the program. Many of the students had mentioned the importance of time management in a pre-pharmacy course. The students also mentioned that they had exams back-to-back, and it was a challenge for many of them to be prepared for all of them. The faculty has been associated with student success, and their being available for the students is important in fostering better outcomes for students. Learning how students are impacted by their housing experiences is important to understand because it connects to their classroom behaviors. Coping with stress was mentioned through many themes, and the ability of the students to deal with that stress was important to their success. It was important to understand what the students find useful from their non-science courses to learn what they desire from their learning experiences. The results from this study provide improvements to the students experiences and needs. The recommendations include the University of the Pacific adjusting the current curriculum when they are developing their exam schedules. Adding a course that aids in support for students focusing on time management, and as well preparation for students to encourage their school and social life balance. Having faculty available after class Q&A and providing online or in-person office hour sessions will aid in the student's success. This will allow flexibility for interactions between faculty and students. Housing facilities should have more late-night study areas, like in the Chan Hall Apartments that the PharmD students currently have. There should also be housing placements that are specifically designated for STEM students.





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