Jeannette Wick Earns CETL Teaching Award

Center for Teaching and Learning honors Jeannette Wick with Adjunct Faculty Award.

On Wednesday, April 5, Jeannette Wick ’79 (Pharm) added another honor to her already impressive resume when she was named recipient of UConn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s (CETL) Adjunct Faculty Award for 2017.

In a real sense, she has come full circle.

When Wick graduated from UConn’s School of Pharmacy she embarked on a career that includes time spent as a registered pharmacist in Connecticut and Hawaii, working as Senior Clinical Research Pharmacist at the National Cancer Institute, and serving as Public Health Service Officer in Charge, Commission on Mental Health Services/Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Along the way, she picked up some awards. These include a Department of Defense Civilian Commendation in 1987, the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal in 1992 and again in 1996, the American Pharmacists Association One-to-One Counseling Award in 2004, and the UConn School of Pharmacy’s Distinguished Alumnus award in 2005.

Beginning in 2011 and continuing to the present, Wick has been Visiting Professor and Research Specialist in UConn’s Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing. In that capacity she has inspired students such as Minna Lee ’17 (PharmD) who wrote in a letter of recommendation for the CETL award, “Professor Wick is an advocate for motivational learning. She understands the value of keeping students engaged … no matter the practice setting, she never hesitates to listen and extend her hand to support her students.”

And from Erin Emonds, ’18 (PharmD), “Professor Wick demonstrated an interest in engaging with her students from the first day when we went over the syllabus … by involving the class and applying the management principles she was about to teach, Professor Wick initiated her style of constant class participation which continued throughout the year.”

The student feedback is reaffirming. It’s every educator’s dream to make a difference. But still, after a distinguished career, why not just continue to take assignments as a freelance medical writer where she’s in control of her own time and space?  Or, to devote her energy to the Alaskan Malamute newsletter that earned her the Dogwriter’s Association of America award for Best Newsletter in 2015?

It turns out, that’s just not Wick’s style.

“I teach because it’s fun,” she says, “and every class is remarkably different. I’ve had classes that are very quiet and some that are especially collegial and others that are filled with humor. The class dynamic changes every year and that’s what helps make teaching so worthwhile and personally rewarding.”

Among the courses she teaches are Clinical Science II (aka ‘Bugs and Drugs’), a required pharmacology class for students in the School of Nursing that covers infectious diseases and their treatments, and Current Topics in Pharmacy and Careers in Pharmacy for the School of Pharmacy. But perhaps her favorite course is Pharmacy Practice Management, a two credit introduction to the nuts and bolts of management and supervision that is required of pharmacy majors.

“This is a class that almost no pharmacy major really wants to take,” she says,”because they don’t think of themselves as needing any business acumen. But I’m able to show them that as medical professionals they will always have some supervisory responsibility.”

And, she continues, “It’s always fascinating to see how students react when they learn just how much pharmacists have to pay in income taxes or how much overhead is required to pay employee benefits. They learn about the importance of developing solid people skills no matter where their careers take them.

“This is news they can use and one of my favorite things as a teacher is to receive notes from former students thanking me for introducing them to some of the real world issues that they use every single day.”

Wick says she was surprised and delighted to be selected as the winner of the adjunct teaching award, but Mike White, head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice who initiated the recommendation to CETL doesn’t share these emotions.

He says, “I nominated Jeannette for this award because she has been so passionate about helping our pharmacy students succeed for many years. She does her best in the classroom every day so students have a valuable and meaningful experience that will serve them well after graduation. She pushes them to work hard and doesn’t accept less than their best.”

Wick joins faculty Craig Coleman, Lauren Schlesselman, and Mike White who were previously designated UConn CETL Teaching Fellows. “Instilling knowledge and passion to help those in need are a hallmark of our department, as evidenced by these university teaching awards,” White says.