In his first state of the college address to faculty, staff and students at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, Dean Neil MacKinnon, PhD, expressed accolades to the college, but also identified areas of improvement needed for the college to maintain and surpass its current USNews & World Report ranking of 32 of 130 pharmacy colleges nationwide.
"This is an honest talk about our success and the challenges we are facing,” he said as he began his talk, which can be viewed via video at the college website here.
Among the accolades, MacKinnon pointed to:
• The college’s recent eight-year reaccreditation, the longest accreditation permitted by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
• A faculty hiring plan of eight new faculty, two of whom are already on board.
• A student retention rate of 99 percent in the PharmD program and an on-time graduation rate of 99 percent, among the highest at UC.
• A ranking of 12 out of 130 pharmacy graduate programs by students.
• An approved $27 million renovation of the Health Professions Building, which will begin in 2015.
Areas of improvement that were noted:
• The need to identify and increase funding, mostly due to reductions in state funding to the university over the past several years.
• Securing the remaining faculty and staff resources to effectively carry out the college’s mission.
• Increasing the number of researchers in the division of pharmaceutical sciences.
"We have the importance of an educational mandate … we’re training pharmacist and other leaders and graduate students who will be leaders in their field and hopefully students here today will someday be in my shoes.”
He also discussed how the role of pharmacist has gained visibility in health care, thus leading to an increased number of pharmacy colleges across the country.
Nationally, there are 130 pharmacy schools compared to 72 in 1987, which makes competing for the best and brightest students more of a challenge than ever before. MacKinnon noted that 27 schools will have their first graduating class this year.
However, two of the many advantages the Winkle College of Pharmacy has over other colleges, he said, are: It is grounded in a rich history—it’s one of the oldest pharmacy colleges in the United States, dating to 1850—and has over 100 practice partners with over 184 practice sites where student residents engage in experiential training.
"Here, you know you are walking in the footsteps of others,” he said.