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Brittany Jennings
November 5, 2021

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC School of Medicine leaders in professional development created a resource to help the National Institutes of Health evaluate T32 graduate and postdoctoral training programs at universities across the country. UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Jacqui McLaughlin, PhD, Kim Brouwer, PharmD, PhD, and Paul Watkins, MD, were co-leaders of this effort.


A collaborative team of professional development and graduate education leaders from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the UNC School of Medicine developed a web resource to promote critical evaluation of UNC T32 graduate and postdoctoral training programs.

The resource, funded through an $86,000 supplemental award to an existing $3-million Clinical Pharmacology T32 postdoctoral training grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), is the result of a year-long, evidence-based study across stakeholder groups, including graduate students and postdoctoral trainees, faculty, university leadership, industry scientific leaders, and national policy thought leaders.

The creators of this website and related resources are: Jacqui McLaughlin, PhD, Kirsten Leysieffer, MA, Paul Watkins, MD, and Kim Brouwer, PharmD, PhD, from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy; and Rebekah Layton, PhD, and Rob Nicholas, PhD, from the UNC School of Medicine. Watkins has joint appointments at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Tom Angelo, an international educational assessment expert, served as a consultant.

The website includes program evaluation basics for those new to assessment, as well as sample resources such as logic models, focus group scripts, and surveys – including a newly developed core survey plus additional modular survey options to allow program directors to customize their evaluation. In addition, links to internal UNC resources and external national resources are provided as a starting point, along with contact information to arrange one-on-one consultation for T32 Training Programs in the biological, biomedical, pharmaceutical, and life-sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The current resources were developed specifically to address NIGMS grant evaluation requirements. However, the tools are intended to be broadly useful to NIH T32 programs beyond the current 10 NIGMS-funded T32 programs across Carolina’s campus. The resources will be rolled out digitally on the website, presented at national conference venues for dissemination, and presented locally at the UNC T32 Directors Meeting (contact Dr. Rob Nicholas for questions or to be added to the listserv).

While the study was designed specifically around NIGMS training programs in order to select a subset with cohesiveness to purpose, areas of training focus, and similar skill development priorities, the project team has designed the resources to be useful beyond NIGMS-funded training grants, including other NIH T32s, R25s, and similar training programs. Program directors who are looking to revamp their evaluation plan, planning for a grant submission or resubmission, or would like to learn more about program evaluation options, are encouraged to check out the website.

Brouwer noted that, “Evaluation of trainees, mentors, and training program effectiveness is a high priority at UNC. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to assemble a strong team of educational experts, with support from NIGMS, to develop an evidence-based assessment process and share evaluation tools across all training programs to enhance program evaluation capacity.”

Watkins said, “It is clear that the NIH desires to have more vigorous evaluation methods for the training programs they support and we are very pleased that they selected UNC to help guide them with this effort.”

Layton added, “We hope this provides a useful resource for our own prospective and current Training Program Directors, starting with our NIGMS-funded training community on campus, but we hope it will be relevant more broadly across training programs, and even beyond UNC.”

Nicholas concluded, “It is crucial for T32 Program Directors to evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs, and this resource will be incredibly helpful to support programs in focusing on ways to improve the training of graduate students using evidence-based methods.”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32GM086330. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Leadership Team:

Kim Brouwer, PharmD, PhD, is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, and a Professor in the Curriculum in Toxicology. Dr. Brouwer served previously as Director of Graduate Studies for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Chair of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutic. Dr. Brouwer directs an NIH-funded research program focused on hepatobiliary drug disposition and development and refinement of in vitro model systems to predict in vivo hepatobiliary disposition, drug interactions, and hepatotoxicity. She has mentored more than 100 undergraduate, professional, graduate, and postdoctoral students, and published more than 240 research papers, reviews and book chapters. Dr. Brouwer is a co-inventor of B-CLEAR® (U.S. Patent No. 6,780,580), co-founder of Qualyst Transporter Solutions, and former chair of the company’s scientific advisory board. She served as a member of the NIH Pharmacology Study Section and is a member of the editorial advisory boards for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Clinical and Translational Science, Pharmaceutical Research, and the AAPS Journal. She was elected an AAPS Fellow in 1998, received the PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Pharmaceutics in 2001, the 2018 ASCPT-FDA Abrams Award, and the AACP 2020 Volwiler Research Achievement Award. In 2019, she was named the UNC Inventor of the Year.

Rebekah Layton, PhD, CMC, PCC  is the Director of Professional Development Programs in the UNC SOM Office of Graduate Education (OGE), supporting 1000+ biological and biomedical science trainees. Dr. Layton provides consultations to Program Directors as the OGE Program Evaluation Advisor, supporting more than a dozen training programs. Dr. Layton holds advanced degrees in psychology, and has 10+ years of experience in designing and implementing surveys, has authored scholarly publications on diversity topics and graduate training, and has expertise in basic and advanced statistical methods to advise directors on experimental design, methods, and appropriate analyses. Dr. Layton’s expertise includes principles of effective survey design (psychometrics) and quantitative evaluation. Her specialties include evaluation of survey data using statistical techniques, including: univariate and multivariate analysis of variance/covariance, linear regression, logistic regression, survival/failure analyses, principal component factor and factor analyses, and structural equation modeling. She is a published author using a number of these techniques in peer-reviewed literature on career/professional development as well as in the behavioral sciences. Dr. Layton has experience using multiple survey design and administration software platforms and is highly proficient at statistical analyses using multiple statistical packages.

Kirsten Leysieffer, MA is a grants manager and T32 Program Administrator at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She currently supports two T32 programs at the School of Pharmacy and has nearly 20 years of experience working with both predoctoral and postdoctoral training programs.





Jacqui McLaughlin, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of CIPhER (Center for Innovative Pharmacy Education and Research) at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She is a trained education researcher with expertise in learning, assessment, and program evaluation. Dr. McLaughlin has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles about higher education, serves on the editorial board for the journals Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, and Education in the Health Professions, and serves as an associate editor for BMC Medical Education. Her research spans numerous education topics, including admissions, experiential learning, graduate education, interprofessional education, design thinking, and diversity. She also utilizes a wide range of research methodologies, including various quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.



Rob Nicholas, PhD is a Professor and BBSP Faculty Director of Admissions, and Pharmacology Vice Chair for Research and Education. He has extensive experience in graduate education and training, having trained over a dozen graduate students in his career. He served as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Pharmacology, and for the last 20 years has been the Program Director for the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP). Dr. Nicholas has been a member of the Administrative Board and Academic Policy Board of the Graduate School at UNC. He was involved in founding and organizing the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP), the UNC umbrella admissions portal and first year program for all biomedical departments and centers at the University of North Carolina. Furthermore, he served as one of the six inaugural First Year Group Leaders/Student Advisors. Dr. Nicholas has also served as Chair of Admissions, Admissions Committee Member, and Recruiting Coordinator. More recently, he has served in the role of Associate Director of Graduate Education, creating cross-departmental classes on Rigor and Reproducibility, and in Biostatistics. He was chosen as the UNC nominator for the HHMI Gilliam Fellowships and currently serves as the Faculty Director of Admissions for the Office of Graduate Education to organize and coordinate BBSP umbrella recruitment activities.

Paul Watkins, MD is the Howard Q Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health, and Director of the Institute for Drug Safety Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  He is a clinically trained hepatologist with long standing interest in Drug-Induced Liver Injury (DILI). He serves as co-chair of the Steering and Executive Committees, and Chair of the Genetics Committee, for the U.S. Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network funded by the NIH. He founded, and now serves as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for a public-private partnership (the DILI-sim Initiative) that is applying quantitative systems toxicology to understand and predict liver safety liabilities in new drug candidates. Dr. Watkins is one of the most highly cited authors in the field of pharmacology (  He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including an NIH MERIT Award, the Rawls-Palmer Award for Progress in Medicine from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the Agilent Thought Leader Award, and the Career Award from the Toxicology Section of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.


Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32GM086330. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.



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