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Marshall's School of Pharmacy on track to receive full accreditation by 2016

On July 11, 2013

Fresh off the completion of its first full year at Marshall University, the School of Pharmacy has taken the next step to become a fully accredited institution and has received candidate status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Candidate status is the second step in a three-step process that began when the School of Pharmacy admitted its first class in 2012 and will culminate once that inaugural class graduates in 2016.

The School of Pharmacy cannot receive full accreditation until the first class graduates, but that is not preventing the school from moving forward.

Kevin Yingling, dean of the School of Pharmacy, said he is pleased the ACPE recognized the school’s progress and granted the school its candidate accreditation status.

The ACPE is a governing body that decides if schools of pharmacy are compliant with accreditation requirements. After a meeting in April, the ACPE found that the Marshall University School of Pharmacy met or exceeded all 30 of its requirements.

“They did not identify any deficiencies in our program and were very complimentary of our faculty and staff,” Yingling said. “This is positive affirmation and the next step in our pathway to becoming a fully accredited school of pharmacy.”

The accreditation process is a course that all new schools of pharmacy must go through, but Yingling said it is not common for a school to meet or exceed all 30 requirements.

“It is a credit to the hard work of the faculty and staff at the school of pharmacy to achieve such strong affirmation from the accrediting body,” Yingling said.

With the second accreditation step completed, the School of Pharmacy can continue enrolling students and developing curriculum and practice sites for its second class.

The inaugural class just completed its first year of pharmacy education and is an integral part in getting the program up and running.

James Frazier, a second year pharmacy student from Louisville, Ky., is part of the inaugural class. Frazier attended the University of Kentucky where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural biotechnology. He said being a part of the inaugural class was a deciding factor when he picked Marshall University for his post-graduate studies.

Many students like Frazier come in with two or more years of schooling already completed. The School of Pharmacy employs a two-plus-four program that requires at least two years of prerequisite coursework and four years of pharmacy education. Within those four years, students spend three years in the classroom and one year on rotation in different pharmaceutical facilities.

Frazier said the classroom environment in the school of pharmacy is different than that in other fields of study. He said professors use Camtasia to record and distribute information to students before a class is scheduled to meet. This method streamlines class time and enhances student-teacher relations because students can ask more questions and be better prepared for class.

“It’s very exciting,” Frazier said. “We are the innovators, and we set a lot of what will be done here for the next 100 years.”

Frazier said he and his classmates act as test subjects while professors smooth out policies and procedures.

“We are the guinea pigs, but we are also the people who make some of the decisions,” Frazier said. “We are the charter members of this institution, and it is very exciting to know that somewhere down the line, people will come through here and do extraordinary things. It’s exciting to know that I helped start that and it is something I’ll be able to go on with for the rest of my life.”

Providing input is not the only benefit of being a part of an inaugural class. Frazier and his classmates will also be the first Marshall University School of Pharmacy graduates to enter a competitive field.

Frazier said pharmacy students have a variety of jobs opportunities once they graduate and have the option to become retail or hospital pharmacists, on-call pharmacists or clinical pharmacists, among many other positions.

“The field of pharmacy is ever growing, but it’s a sort of a behind-the-scenes type of growth,” Frazier said. “You see actors in a movie, but then you look at the credits and you see all these other people that get mentioned — that’s what the field of pharmacy is like.”

Frazier said pharmacists are being included in a patient’s medical team now because of their extensive knowledge of what drugs do and how they are used. Despite the need, Frazier said people might never see or notice most of what a pharmacist does.

Graduation is three years away, which will give Frazier time to help the next classes integrate comfortably into the School of Pharmacy.

The next class of students will begin their pharmacy education this fall and will graduate in 2017.

Yingling said the incoming class encourages him and the rest of the staff and gives them hope for the school’s goal of receiving full accreditation.

Samuel Speciale can be contacted at speciale@marshall.edu.

 

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