Leadership Curriculum/Emphasis Area (LEA)

Why is leadership important for Pharmacists?

The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy offered its first leadership course in 2007. At that time, we also began the development of the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA). The LEA is a coordinated 16 credit series of didactic, experiential and self-directed coursework aimed at preparing pharmacy students to lead change. Over 150+ U of M pharmacy graduates have completed the Leadership Emphasis Area since 2007.

Students at the University of Minnesota embark on their leadership journey from the first days of becoming a pharmacy student.  During the course, Becoming a Pharmacist, students begin to identify their specific strengths and “why” they want to be in the profession. This allows students to develop a unique mission to help them identify the way they collaborate with colleagues to successfully complete coursework and engage in extra curricular activities.  

Throughout the first year, students receive 20+ hours of leadership development across 5 courses.  Introductory content includes vision development, discovering strengths, leadership communication, leadership in organizations, the process of successful change, ways to practice exemplary leadership, and understanding differences.

Upon successful completion of the core courses, students are eligible to enroll in leadership electives beginning Fall of their second year. More in-depth content includes self-deception, team building, crucial conversations, and emotional intelligence.

Continuing to Develop Leadership

Successful completion of Developing Adaptive Leaders, a hybrid course online and in classroom, allows students and opportunity to develop a plan for initiating change.  They are eligible to declare the Leadership Emphasis Area. This begins their third year in Leading Change Experience and continues throughout fourth year rotations.  

After successful completion of second year leadership electives and declaring the intent to pursue the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA), students advance to third year leadership electives where they are to complete a process demonstrating that they can lead change. 


Below are the required courses that comprise the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA).  All students are eligible to enroll in the elective Foundation of Leadership (Phar 6937). This course may be taken by students regardless of intent to enter the emphasis program. Once completing Developing Adaptive Leadership (Phar 6938), students may elect to declare their intent to pursue the Leadership Emphasis Area. 

Students who declare their intent to complete the Emphasis will work with a faculty advisor to: select learning opportunities that best meet the student's career interests, track progress within the program and connect the student to additional resources when appropriate. 

Download Leadership Requirements (PDF)

Questions regarding the emphasis can be directed to the Emphasis Directors:

Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D. Duluth Campus kkfierke@d.umn.edu 

Kristin K. Janke, Ph.D. Twin Cities Campus janke006@umn.edu 

Todd Sorensen, Pharm.D. Twin Cities Campus soren042@umn.edu