Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy hosted its second annual state of the school address Jan. 15, bringing all students and faculty together for a time of celebrating where the school has been and sharing the future direction.
Dean Michael Crouch started his address with sharing the school’s 89-year history of growth, including location changes and the addition of new programs, including a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical studies. “When we look at the future, we also need to look at the past,” Crouch said.
In recent years, McWhorter School of Pharmacy has developed the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Institute and the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Patient Outcomes, as well as becoming part of Samford’s new College of Health Sciences.
This year, the pharmacy school welcomed five new faculty and one new staff member, and promoted seven faculty and one staff member. Faculty members released 41 publications and participated in 167 invited presentations. Couch also began the Dean’s List for first- and second-year students who were also earning their bachelor’s degree. More than 90 students earned a spot on the Dean’s List last year.
Crouch acknowledged new members of the Rho Chi Society. This year, 17 second-year students and seven third-year students were inducted into this prestigious academic honor society.
Pharmacy students are not known solely for their academic endeavors and work ethic but also for their service to the community. “What makes our students unique is their servant hearts,” Crouch said. Last year, students and faculty performed more than 265,700 hours of service. They participated in the Alabama Rural Health Initiative, performing health screenings in Perry County, and assisted at the Equal Access Birmingham Clinic.
The alumna spotlight was Donna Yeatman, a 1994 graduate who serves as a preceptor for the school in addition to being a member of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy and a district manager for CVS pharmacy. Yeatman shared with students that as a third generation pharmacist, community pharmacy was in her DNA. She advised students to learn how to manage a staff and communicate well in a world of texting and emojis.
“It takes a lot to be a pharmacist,” Yeatman said. ”It’s a wonderful and rewarding profession, but you’ll only get out of it what you put into it.” She also reminded students that though they can get into pharmacy school and graduate if they put their minds to it, to practice pharmacy is a privilege. “What’s important is what we do outside of school,” she said.
Looking forward, Crouch said the school’s goal is to lead in a time of unique opportunity. Within the next year, new space on Samford’s east campus will open for use by the College of Health Sciences and the pharmacy school. During the presentation, Crouch showed students floor plans of the buildings. Highlights for pharmacy students included a mock apartment and several physician-like offices for simulations, active learning labs, a sterile compounding lab, a patient assessment room and counseling suites. There will also be study spaces for students throughout the building.
Immediate goals for the school include enhanced interprofessional education and expanding global engagement. Currently, McWhorter School of Pharmacy has 15 affiliation agreements in nine countries, and 128 students will be traveling abroad during the 2015–16 academic year. There are also evolving plans for a several new joint-degree programs and discussions about creating a personalized doctor of pharmacy degree program that promotes interprofessional education.
Before the transition to east campus, the pharmacy school plans to host a celebration of its current home in Ingalls Hall on April 23. All students, alumni and former and current employees will be invited to celebrate the history of McWhorter School of Pharmacy while homed at Ingalls Hall, while also looking forward to an “education renaissance” at the east campus, Crouch said.
Aly Hathcock is a journalism and mass communication student and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.