Transforming Beard Hall
Beard Hall is a touchstone for UNC’s 7,000 pharmacy alumni. Once the site of all pharmacy classes and labs, Beard was where many of North Carolina’s pharmacists were made, and where they made lifelong friends. Every year alumni return to Beard with spouses, children and grandchildren to revisit those significant years of their lives.
A traditional red-brick Georgian structure, with an entrance topped by stone apothecary jars and on a hill overlooking the nursing and medical schools, Beard was the finest pharmacy school building that architects, educators and students could imagine when it opened in 1960.
Today, Beard Hall is at the center of the School’s plan to lead the change – actually, the revolution – underway in higher education. Technology continues to change the way we teach and the way our students learn. We can no longer cling to teaching and learning methodologies employed in our classrooms for decades. We can no longer merely issue laptops to students and lecture at them.
By changing the way faculty members and students interact, we’ll deepen the impact of classroom time and develop critical thinkers, problem solvers and leaders. Under a new curriculum that launched in fall 2015, our students learn in a “flipped” classroom. Traditional lectures are banished. Students study before class, then come prepared to solve complex problems. As graduates they will be prepared to reach their full potential, to embrace and even shape the changes they will face in the profession.
With the help of alumni and friends we will breathe new life into Beard by refitting it to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s students and faculty. The 1960 labs on the second and third floors are being transformed into collaborative spaces, small interactive classrooms, business incubators and modern research facilities. Students will develop and sharpen their analytical and communication skills in new patient simulation rooms
“A major priority of our curricular transformation is to create opportunities for learners and educators to interact with each other,” Blouin said. “Unfortunately, we have spaces that were built for traditional teaching. We want to disrupt the old model and create new spaces for new generations of students and teachers.”
Renovations began in 2015 and are funded by alumni and friends on a pay-as-you-go basis. Vaughn and Nancy Bryson, both 1960 graduates of the School, included the Beard renovation in their charitable giving. “We were interested in supporting the transformation of Beard Hall to enable the School to continue to flourish,” they said. “The innovative use of technology in teaching (the pharmacy School has been a leader on the UNC campus) requires an updating of the classrooms, as well as the necessity of more modern laboratories.”
The Brysons were among the first students to study in Beard, and they remember the impact of the new facility. “Our graduating class moved into Beard Hall for most of our senior year and the more contemporary classrooms and labs were a welcome change from Howell Hall. The current updating of Beard Hall should also create a better learning environment,” they said.
The School is dedicated to providing the very best education in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences and we need your investment. Help us by designating your gift to the Beard Hall Transformation Fund.