Prior experiences in opening a new pharmacy academic program on a campus where professional programming was new led to the realization that healthy campus relationships, although extremely important, don’t just happen but must be deliberately and carefully developed. This report describes a dedicated attempt to integrate a pharmacy program into all aspects of the life of a traditional, undergraduate-only institution.
In February 2008, following two years of dedicated study, the Board of Trustees of Presbyterian College, a private, church-related, liberal arts college, published their resolution to establish the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy (PCSP). Thus, the College officially began the process of starting the first graduate program in its history. The Board’s resolution directed the College’s President to search for a Dean and to appoint a transition team to work with him or her in the establishment of the new school.
In August 2008, the President appointed a Transition Team composed of the President, the inaugural Dean, and a select group of college employees chosen because of their interest in establishing the PCSP and their particular expertise. This group consisted of officers and directors of the College and a senior member of the undergraduate faculty; upon their hiring, two members of the Dean’s administrative team were added. In this manner and upon taking office, the new Dean of the PCSP was immediately presented with a temporary administrative team to assist him. Individual team member responsibilities included:
· development and ongoing refinement of a pro forma budget for the new program
· provision of a physical facility for the program, development of construction; plans, and the securing of a building contractor;
· submission of a detailed application for substantive change (the offering of a Pharm.D. degree) to the College’s regional accrediting agency;
· modification of the bylaws of the college to reflect the presence and influence of a new educational unit;
· development of local and regional support and capital funding for the PCSP;
· recruitment of PCSP faculty and staff; and
· publication of newsworthy developments in the formative progress of the PCSP.
Weekly team meetings consisted of reports from team members concerning the progress of their assignments; lively discussions yielding suggestions and follow-up actions ensued.
After six months of planning, a larger Pharmacy Integration Group was formed to address transition issues for the PCSP. This larger group was composed of both PC and PCSP personnel and was tasked with resolving and implementing pharmacy-related processes into a common campus structure. Smaller task forces met regularly to address such matters as: academic services (registrar, student records, pre-pharmacy advising, library), student services (counseling, honor council, health), IT, admissions/financial services, housing, communications/public relations, events, food services, security, athletics, and facilities.
The consensus is that the described process assisted in and expedited the successful establishment of the PCSP and its integration into the Presbyterian College community. The teams functioned efficiently for two years and progressively yielded their function to the administration and faculty of the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy.