Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Educational Attainment and Academic Profile of Deans and Chairs at US Pharmacy Schools

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Educational Attainment and Academic Profile of Deans and Chairs at US Pharmacy Schools

Article excerpt

Objective. To characterize educational attainment and experiences of current US pharmacy school deans and chairs.

Methods. A cross-sectional study using a publicly available listing of accredited schools and information.

Results. Among 134 deans and 301 chairs, 79.9% and 65.5% held a professional degree (BSPharm and/or PharmD), 33.6% and 26.2% completed PGY-1 residencies, 12.7% and 15.6% completed post-PharmD fellowships, 23.1% and 33.9% completed post-doctoral fellowships, and 13.4% and 18.3% held BPS certification, respectively. Fewer than 1 in 5 were employed at an alma mater. Ninety (20.7%) deans and chairs completed AACP's Academic Leadership Fellows Program. Average current tenure was 5.7 and 5.1 years for deans and chairs, respectively.

Conclusion. The majority of deans and chairs held a pharmacy professional degree and the prevalence of post-graduate educational and leadership training is increasing. Future research should apply mixed methods to investigate educational attainment and employment experience of deans and chairs, institutional hiring trends, and how these characteristics compare between newer and established programs.

Keywords: pharmacy education, pharmacy dean, pharmacy chair, leadership, workforce


The numberofpharmacy schoolsinthe United States has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Between 2004 and 2014, the number with full accreditation or candidate status increased by 50%, from 86 to 129. (1,2) This proliferation in new programs poses potential challenges, including the recruitment and retention of qualified faculty and leadership teams. (3)

Recently, Assemi and colleagues (2) characterized the educational background and degrees of faculty members at US pharmacy schools. In 2011, more than two-thirds (68.5%)offaculty members heldapharmacy professional degree (BSPharm and/or PharmD), and an estimated 1 in 5 held faculty positions at the institution where they had obtained their professional degree. Furthermore, newer schools (defined as those established after 1995) (4,5) had fewer faculty and a lower mean faculty rank compared to more established schools.

In the most recent Standards 2016, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) outlines the expectations for the deans and leadership teams of US pharmacy schools. (6) Standard 8.2 describes a qualified dean as one who "is qualified to provide leadership in pharmacy professional education and practice, research and scholarship, and professional and community service." Standard 8.3 describes a qualified administrative team with the expectations that "the dean and other college or school administrative leaders have credentials and experience that have prepared them for their respective roles and collectively have the needed backgrounds to effectively manage the educational program." While these standards provide some guidance regarding acceptable qualifications for pharmacy academic leaders, the described requirements are vague and subjective.

Previous studies have investigated various aspects of pharmacy academic leadership qualifications with respect to demographic information, academic degrees held, previous academic rank, migratory paths (career paths and progressions), and publication records of deans and departmental chairs. (7-10) A descriptive study by Schwinghammer and colleagues surveyed US pharmacy department chairs in 2010 and reported academic degrees held (PharmD, PhD, master's, other doctoral), previous professoriate appointments, job satisfaction, and motivations for chairmanship. (7) In 2009, US pharmacy deans were surveyed to characterize age, race, sex, highest terminal degree earned, years in professoriate prior to deanship, length of tenure, and career path, and these results built upon what was gleaned from three earlier studies. (8) Since publication of these reports, pharmacy education has continued to experience unparalleled growth in the number of programs coupled with ongoing, rapid changes in higher education and health care. …

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