March 11, 2024

The College of Pharmacy is pleased to announce that Associate Professor of Pharmacy Peg L. Carver, PharmD, FCCP, FIDP, will receive the 2024 Teaching Excellence Award.


She is a two-time winner who previously received the award in 2010 and was a finalist for the honor in 2020 and 2022. 


According to one P3 student who recommended her, Dr. Carver is simply “the best infectious disease therapeutics instructor ever.” “She puts a lot of energy into making sure her students understand her material, and it shows. She provides an immense number of resources for different types of learning and is always open for questions and concerns inside and outside of class,” said another. 


“Dr. Carver cares so much about her students. She is a gem of the COP, and I feel so lucky that I got to learn from her,” another P3 noted.


She currently teaches the P3 PharmD students Therapeutics course in the fall term and the P1 Introduction to Pharmacy course. After teaching in both the classroom at the College and in clinical settings at Michigan Medicine for nearly 40 years, she hews to a simple teaching philosophy: “Students need to know certain information. But the important thing they need to learn is how to apply that knowledge — because every patient is different,” she says. 


“I try to teach them that there is a basic set of facts they need to master. I try to give them that —the alphabet and the approach to solving a therapeutic problem—the basic building blocks that will prepare them. When you have that, you can apply it to any new disease,” says Dr. Carver.


She relies on a team-based learning approach and has her students review a patient case and propose a treatment approach. She talks them through their answer, pointing out why a different approach might be better based on the patient’s age, comorbidities, medications, or other specific circumstances.


Her tests are similar; they are an opportunity to apply essential knowledge about conditions and medications to a patient’s circumstances. She devotes hours to grading and carefully explains where students went astray. “I believe we learn from our mistakes,” she explains. She rarely uses multiple-choice questions, but when she does, she includes an opportunity for students to explain their thinking so she can give partial credit if the student demonstrates an understanding of the correct concepts. 


Dr. Carver did her early clinical training in San Francisco when an unknown infection that eventually became known as AIDS was just emerging, and medical teams had to fight the unknown with what they did know and have at hand. Now, AIDS is a manageable condition like hypertension or diabetes, but COVID is a reminder that there is always something new on the horizon. 


“It’s essential to keep learning,” she says. I’m most interested in my students being excited about learning and wanting to keep learning.” Dr. Carver models the habits of a lifelong learner herself; she looks to her colleagues as mentors. She has adopted technologies like Kahoot quizzes and trivia games to make memorization fun. 


“Peg’s commitment to her students and her rigorous approach to ensuring that they are ready for patient care is outstanding,” says Vicki Ellingrod, PharmD, FCCP, FACNP, Dean John Gideon Searle Professor of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy. 


Dr. Carver unapologetically informs her students upfront that her course will be challenging. 


“What I want them to say at the end of the course is: ‘She was hard, but she gave me all the resources I needed, and she made me realize I could do it. She helped me learn how to learn.’”