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COP receives welcome visit from site team

by Roby Hill
South Carolina College of Pharmacy
Pheidippides, get on your mark.
While it is too soon to herald victory in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy’s (SCCP) marathon run to full accreditation—which can only occur after the first SCCP class graduates this May—the last lap has begun. Much like the legendary runner’s famous trek to Athens to deliver news of the Greeks’ victory over Sparta in the battle of Marathon, it has been a long run.
As one of the final steps, a site visit team from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) spent three days on SCCP’s campuses at the University of South Carolina (USC) and MUSC March 30 through April 1. The team will issue a report before the ACPE board meets in June, after which the board will announce any changes in the accreditation status of the nation’s pharmacy schools.
“It’s been a long process, but it has been a good one for the college,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, PharmD, executive dean of the SCCP. “During the last few years, some of the country’s foremost pharmacy educators have taken a look at what we’re doing and either told us we were doing it well or helped identify what could be better. As a result, and with the diligence and hard work of our faculty and staff, the college today is extremely strong and among the nation’s best in many areas.”
A site visit has been an annual occurrence for the last four years, as the college has progressed down a well-worn accreditation path. After the integration of the pharmacy schools at USC and MUSC in 2004, the college was asked to go through the re-accreditation process as a brand new school. SCCP was first granted “Candidate” status in 2007 and that status has been renewed each year.
“The pharmacy schools at USC and MUSC have been educating pharmacists for more than 100 years,” said Randall C. Rowen, PharmD, USC campus dean for SCCP. “The point of the integration was to take the
best of each and make the combined college even stronger. But going through reaccreditation as a new
school did give us a chance to look at what we considered our ‘best practices’ from an external perspective.”
Although some schools see reaccreditation the way ancient Egyptians saw boils and locusts, the unique situation of SCCP made the process a welcome scrutiny for many.
“No one had ever really done it before—create a joint pharmacy college between two universities that remain independent,” said Philip Hall, PharmD, MUSC interim campus dean for SCCP. “Since it was unchartered territory, it has been helpful to have ACPE involved each step of the way.”
The site team was composed of: Robert Beardsley, vice president of the ACPE Board of Directors (University of Maryland School of Pharmacy); Patricia D. Kroboth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy; Hazel H. Seaba, associate dean and professor of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy; Jerry Siegel, practitioner; and Robert Elenbaas, staff member of ACPE. The South Carolina State Board of Pharmacy invited board members to participate as Addison Livingston acted as observer for the Columbia visit and James R. Bradham observed in Charleston.
The team met with administrators, students, individual faculty, college committees and others on each campus, often via the videoconference technology routinely used in the distance-education program and for day-to-day, intra-campus dialogue. The team ended the visit with an exit report to the presidents and provosts of MUSC and USC.
As the college looks toward the finish of this journey—with hopes that it will be at the ACPE Board of Directors’ Meeting June 23-27 in Chicago—its members can take comfort in at least one historical misperception: despite the commonly-held belief that Pheidippides dropped dead after running the first marathon to deliver his message of victory, there is no mention of it in Herodotus.


Friday, April 30, 2010

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