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Focus on Faculty
MA College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Michele Matthews
By Sasha Fastovskiy
What’s the formula for a great teacher? Head downtown and ask Dr. Michele Matthews of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Because she spends most of her time teaching, advising and working side-by-side with whom the school calls “junior colleagues,” Matthews is proof that the key to academic success lies in time management, communication skills, motivation, and professionalism.
During high-school, Dr. Matthews pictured herself more as a teacher than a pharmacist. While she had many different interests and excelled in many areas, it was the love ~ and challenge ~ of math and science that fueled her drive. During her college years at the Boston MCPHS, Matthews spent much of her time helping fellow students who were not doing well in the same courses she was taking. From there, her career choice was as easy as H-2-0.
Five years later and as an Assistant Professor of pharmacy practice, she teaches future pharmacists how to apply drugs and drug knowledge. However, her specialty lies in ~ literally ~ taking pharmacy outside the classroom. Being a licensed and practicing pharmacist, she takes her students on rotation with her. “There’s only so much you can get from paper. They need to learn the clinical side, and well as how to manage patients as a multi-disciplinary team. They can get it from both perspectives”.
Dr. Matthews really breaks the mold when it comes to pharmacists. She teaches, practices, and gets involved. Two plaques for her outstanding achievements in student affairs sit on her desk. She is an advisor for American Society of Health System Pharmacists, promoting the safe use of medicine, and an advisor for the Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Fraternity ~ exclusive because of the strategic system of faculty and student nominations that must be made before someone is elected. Matthews speaks with passion about both organizations. “They recognize the students, which really promotes their own education.”
Matthews really enjoys working at MassPharm and sees herself there for countless years. “The students here are not your usual college students; the average age here is 27. Some people have had careers, some want new careers, some have foundations from other programs. It’s non-traditional, and not typical, and it makes it easier for the students to open up,” she explains. “I believe in having an open-door policy. The students need to know we support them; and being able to relate to them and to each other, that really has made all the difference.”
Above all else, Dr. Matthews stresses that there are a million things her students can do when they graduate. “The world is theirs. They should never be bored or unhappy with what they do.” Just follow her lead: “I love it all. There’s no monotony, it’s the unexpected, I’m being pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn’t be able to do any other way.”