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Pharmacy college receives full accreditation

by Roby Hill
South Carolina College of Pharmacy
In July, the South Carolina College of Pharmacy walked across its own graduation stage.
Ever since MUSC and the University of South Carolina (USC) announced they were integrating their colleges of pharmacy to form the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP), everyone interested in pharmacy education has watched to see if the new college would succeed. Accreditation has been a critical measuring stick.
When the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) issued its most recent report on Accreditation Action and Recommendations, it announced the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) had been granted full accreditation. The report reached the desk of Joseph T. DiPiro, PharmD, executive dean of SCCP, July 15.
“The integration process has been evolutionary,” said DiPiro, who was hired in 2005 with the challenge of bringing the two colleges together and creating a dynamic new entity leveraging the best practices of both. “We started with two historic, quality programs, not from scratch. Bringing together those distinct cultures and forming a new one, without losing what makes them special, has been a challenging but ultimately very rewarding process. Getting accreditation is an acknowledgment that we have done so successfully.”
Before a college enrolls students, it must meet strict criteria to be granted pre-candidate status, which includes a comprehensive report about the college’s planning and resources. Once students are enrolled, it is eligible for Candidate status and once the first class graduates, it is eligible for full accreditation.
The SCCP was granted pre-candidate in 2005 and enrolled its first 190-student class in the fall of 2006, 110 on the USC campus and 80 on the MUSC campus. At the next ACPE board meeting, in June 2007, it was granted candidate status. The first class was the Class of 2010, which graduated this past May, and the college was granted full accreditation at the next board meeting, in June.
“The accreditation of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy was a lengthy and complicated process,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of MUSC. “The fact that it was successfully concluded is a tribute to the many faculty and staff who worked so hard to bring these two great schools together. Both USC and MUSC can be proud of this accomplishment and the many more achievements that lie ahead.”
While the SCCP went through the accreditation process, the legacy colleges of pharmacy at USC and MUSC retained their existing accredited status so all students who enrolled prior to the integration could finish in the program (all USC students have completed the four-year program and ACPE has discontinued that accreditation by request; one MUSC student is still finishing, after which the university will request its status to be discontinued as well).
The decision to create the SCCP was controversial, but the boards of trustees and the administration of each university, led at MUSC by Greenberg and at USC by then-president Andrew Sorensen, believed it could be a visionary way to generate increased opportunities for academic quality through increased efficiencies.
“In July, the South Carolina College of Pharmacy reached an important milestone,” said Harris Pastides, USC president. “We can appreciate the boldness in the shared vision of presidents Sorensen and Greenberg. This first graduating class is a ringing endorsement of their leadership in this venture. What’s more, our administrations have provided a model of collaboration and streamlining that has proved invaluable in times of economic uncertainty.”

Friday, Aug. 13, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.