Dr. Karunya Kandimalla

Kandimalla Named New Associate Dean of Graduate Education

Dr. Karunya Kandimalla has been selected as the new associate dean of graduate education for the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. He is currently an associate professor and the director of graduate studies for the Department of Pharmaceutics. In his role, Kandimalla will be accountable for providing vision, direction, oversight and management of collegiate-level graduate student activities and services. He will also provide leadership and oversight of the college’s Office of Graduate Education and the Graduate Education Policy Committee. 

New Curriculum and Learning Experience Launches with Class of 2027

After more than a year of reimagining the PharmD student experience at the college, there is excitement to launch the “MNspire” curriculum and learning experience this fall with the Class of 2027. 

“The decision to ‘reimagine' the student experience stems from changes observed in health care, the pre-pharmacy experiences of our students, the impact of the pandemic on higher education, and a desire to more widely adopt evidence-based practices in teaching and learning,” said Dr. Todd Sorensen, professor and senior executive associate dean for strategic initiatives and faculty affairs.

As a result, MNspire represents a truly transformational change in curricular design at the college. A few notable changes include:

  • The adoption of “Whole Task Learning'' (WTL) as a core pedagogical framework. In MNspire, all core material, ranging from basic to clinical to social and systems science will be integrated into single multi-disciplinary team-taught “blocks.” 
  • In WTL, all core student learning is linked to the tasks of a lex patient case that frames an entire semester. All topics are explicitly linked to the tasks of a pharmacist (and in turn to a problem experienced by a patient, an organization or society). 
  • The faculty have organized around eight “Areas of Science” and are explicitly connecting their disciplines to the Thinking of the Pharmacist.
  • All first year students will explore contemporary issues in pharmacy through a discussion-oriented course titled, “Conversations on Critical Challenges in Pharmacy,” or 3C. Topics this fall include digital health, antiracism in healthcare, teamwork and self compassion, social determinants and health equity, patient experience with diabetes management, and pharmaceutical waste and climate change.
  • There is a renewed emphasis on supporting student connectedness with peers, faculty and the profession.

Opportunities for alumni to learn about the MNspire experience will be offered over the fall and early 2024.