Pharmacy readies for accreditation

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is trying to move forward after being put on probation until June 30, 2008 by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education.          

“We do not know the exact date, but we know that SACS is returning in the spring, and we are doing everything possible to prepare,” said Carlton Bailey, assistant dean for pharmacy student affairs. The program has four areas in which they must improve. These are systemic planning, curriculum evaluation and assessment, inadequate clinical experiences for students and the lack of financial resources.                                                                                            “These are critical areas that the program needs to improve upon before our return, or definite removal of the program’s accreditation could happen,” said Rae Bordon, SACS representative of commission on colleges.                                                                                  

SACS is set to return to the University this month to see if the school has addressed the deficient areas.

Some students said this is not a new problem.

“Members of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences made numerous complaints to the Board of Trustees about their school possibly being put on probation, and then, out of nowhere, it happened,” said Shawn Turner, a third-year pharmacy student from Atlanta. 

One of the previous on-site accreditation visits was Nov. 7-9. The purpose of the visit was to give the University $1.2 million for further construction on the pharmacy building, yet some of the previous accreditation issues still had not been resolved.                                 

“As SACS has another set appointment to visit the University, people often come to us for accreditation problems, however they do not realize that that is not our responsibility because the school of pharmacy has their own department set up just for these types of situations,” said Vivian Hobbs, who is a SACS representative for the University.

Interim President Castell V. Bryant previously stated, “We are very committed to our pharmacy program and its successful accreditation and want this visiting site team to understand we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that our program is up to par.”

However, since the past accreditation visit from ACPE officials, the College of Pharmacy has still found itself in a situation where the ultimate result could be the school loosing its accreditation.

“We often receive the blame for these accreditation situations, even though it is not our responsibility,” said Alonzo Alexander, SACS QEP liaison. “However, we are working with the pharmacy accreditation department program because this is definitely a critical school within the University.”

Both Hobbs and Alexander agreed that a pharmacy degree without SACS approval is not valid.  

Officials in the college of pharmacy are focused on achieving accreditation for the program. 

“We definitely want to ensure that this program and all the entire programs on campus are ready and set for the accreditation process,” Bailey said. “We want to make sure pharmacy is moving in the right direction.”                                                          

The accreditation process is not easy, according to officials. The SACS representatives take the situation very seriously. “The outcomes of receiving or loosing accreditation are completed through both rigorous internal and external review so that the University is evaluated on a valuable set of standards,” Bordon said.

If the pharmacy program successfully receives accreditation, it will be an accomplishment.

“Receiving accreditation is important because it assures that schools within universities remain to uphold their quality and integrity and continue higher education,” Bordon said. She said accreditation improves the schools within the University and the University as a whole.     

The College of Pharmacy’s program origins stem back to 1951. The school was then part of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College. The college of pharmacy received its official standing in 1985.  

“Our mission is to produce highly qualified pharmacy practitioners who take an active role and responsibility in the delivery and outcomes of pharmaceutical care,” Bailey said.