College needs fiscal plan to keep research funding

A gradual decline in priorities on the Board of Trustees funding list may have placed Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in jeopardy of re-accreditation.

In an effort to voice their frustration, the CPPS faculty recently issued a letter of discontent to the university’s BOT and administration in an effort to stress the severity of the matter. The resolution specifically discusses the issues of inadequate teaching and research labs located in the Dyson Pharmacy Building.

“One of the misconceptions across the university is that pharmacy already has enough lab space,” said Donald Palm, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program.

When Dyson first opened as the primary building for CPPS in 1951, student enrollment was at a maximum of 60.

Now, the college has more than doubled its enrollment to 150 students. Associate Professor Maurice Holder, who has been with the program for over 25 years, stressed the importance of adequate space for the facilities.

“Without the space, we can’t recruit as many students,” Holder said.

The additional space was planned in 1995 and was to be constructed in two phases. Phase one has been completed, but phase two has not. It has moved downward from five to 12 on FAMU’s priority list, according to the resolution.

In a March 2006 BOT meeting, the suggested planning for phase two was also delayed.

The CPPS will be receiving a visit from the Accreditation Council for Education in November. In order to be considered for re-accreditation, the college must present a plan from the university to the accrediting board in regards to allocated funds for phase two.

The failure to formulate a plan for funding will place CPPS in violation of Standard 27.1 for the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education. Once in violation, the college could be denied research funding.

“The plan doesn’t have to be to put up the building right away, but if it’s not to put up the building, then what else are you going to do,” Holder said.

Interim CPPS Dean Robert Thomas focused on other factors involving the visit.

“It’s not just about accreditation, it’s about the ability to offer quality education to our students,” Thomas said.

The rapid change in administration has gone hand in hand with the decline in faculty members in the college, he said.

“We’ve lost more faculty since the last time they were here for accreditation, and our class size has doubled since then,” Palmer said.

CPPS administration has been forced to turn away several qualified students due to the inadequacy of the facility.

Naomi Woodley, a 20-year-old junior pharmacy student from Fort Lauderdale, is very passionate about the pharmacy program.

“I feel like we would be getting robbed if we didn’t get the second part of our building,” Woodley said.

Woodley shares a similar compassion of Howard University students who were placed in the same situation February.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Howard’s pharmacy program was put on a two-year probation by the National Accrediting Agency. The probation left some students worried their education might be at risk.

Like FAMU, one of the agency’s concerns had to do with the need for more space.

The ACPE has the option of placing FAMU’s college of pharmacy on a two-year probationary period also. If the probation is implemented at FAMU, the university must come up with a plan to build phase two, or CPPS will lose its accreditation.

“We know this is going to be a weakness,” Palm said. “We’re telling the administration we need to do something about it. We haven’t gotten a response.”