The (Monroe, La.) News-Star Editorial
July 29, 2008
ULM pharmacy renews success
The University of Louisiana at Monroe's flagship program, the College of Pharmacy, has received full accreditation through
The event marks a milestone for the state's only publicly supported pharmacy program, which suffered for years as the state cut higher education funding and resources. As the university struggled with difficult financial times, the national Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education dramatically increased accreditation standards.
The combination of funding dedicated to the health sciences, the acquisition of a new building for pharmacy and the hiring of Dean Lamar Prichard led to the college's successful accreditation effort. Yet, the ULM management team also should be congratulated for its key role in obtaining the funding and hiring the academic leadership to get the job done.
The college was evaluated on mission planning and evaluation, organization and administration, curriculum, students, faculty and staff, and facilities and resources. Tougher standards implemented in 2007 made the journey to re-accreditation even more challenging.
As an example, Pritchard said pharmacy students are now assigned instructors and immersed in real-world practice after just one year of study, as opposed to waiting until their fourth year.
Pritchard said the program has raised students' enthusiasm and retention of the knowledge gained in early years of study.
"They usually didn't see the big picture until that fourth year," he said. "But now they're seeing the need to learn all those early skills and why."
The college is one of the first programs to be evaluated against standards used in the new 2007 assessment instrument, Pritchard said. The accrediatation team visited the campus during the assessment, and gave its official report at the organization's June meeting.
ULM President Jim Cofer said the move to increased research activity, along with Pritchard's strong leadership, "was vital" in moving the program forward.
Pritchard was hired shortly after the university received a cautionary notice from the accrediting agency in 2004.
"He was the right person at the right place and at the right time," acknowledged Cofer. "He's been able to attract marvelous faculty."
Congratulations to the ULM family for this outstanding news. The jewel on the bayou has some added sparkle these days.