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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI doctor of pharmacy program awarded full accreditation - National agency recommends maximum 6-year term

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 7, 2004 -- After an 18-month process involving an intensive self-study, the University of Rhode Islandís College of Pharmacy was awarded full accreditation for its six-year doctor of pharmacy program.

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the national agency for accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy, recently notified URI administrators of the six-year accreditation.

The doctor of pharmacy is now the only entry-level professional degree offered by the College and the 86 colleges of pharmacy nationwide. The last full class of pharmacy students earning the five-year bachelor of science degree at URI graduated in 2002. This yearís graduating class will be the first to complete the new entry-level doctor of pharmacy degree curriculum in its entirety. URI continues to offer a master of science in pharmacy and a Ph.D. through its graduate school.

URI Pharmacy Dean Donald Letendre said Jeffrey W. Wadelin, associate executive director of the accreditation council, led the councilís visiting team in 1996, and he returned last fall to lead a new team.

"It was beneficial to us to have Dr. Wadelin return for the site visit, because he had a basis of comparison," Letendre said.
Letendre said the accreditation highlighted several strengths of the doctor of pharmacy program, including:

o Curriculum, which the accreditation report called "commendable and meets both current and future needs of the pharmacy practitioneróthe new curriculum is rigorous." Letendre praised the faculty for their commitment and diligence in revamping the curriculum.

o Physical improvements. Letendre said the visiting team readily recognized the efforts being made to modernize an aging facility. He also said that full accreditation was bolstered by plans to move forward with a new pharmacy building in the northern district of the campus.

o Strength of faculty. "Weíve brought in some enthusiastic new faculty, and our veterans continue to achieve excellence in teaching, research and outreach. We have tremendous esprit de corps," Letendre said.

o Level of administrative support from the University. Letendre noted that the administration, despite ongoing resource limitations, has been consistent in its support of the College and its efforts to maintain high professional ideals.

o The thoroughness of the self-study, which was headed up by Pharmacy Professor Marilyn Barbour. "Dr. Barbour did an outstanding job of working closely with the eight subcommittee chairs and 34 volunteer members of the faculty and staff," Letendre said. "I am particularly proud of Dr. Barbourís ability to involve a considerable number of students in the self-study process. The visiting team was very impressed with whatever blemishes we had, we put front and center with an action plan and timetable for correction. Team members were particularly impressed with how forthright and specific we were in our self-evaluation. They said it was refreshing."

Letendre said the accreditation report also praised the quality of the students, the preceptors and the clinical practice environments in which students are trained to manage patientsí care.

Among the areas needing to be addressed are: the physical plant, additional staffing for student affairs, the number of faculty designated for pharmacy practice and the critical need for administrative oversight of all experiential learning activities. Letendre added that all of these became apparent during the self-study, and the College has plans in place to address them.

For Further Information: Donald Letendre 401-874-2761