State of the College Address

Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH
Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH
Dean, UTHSC College of Pharmacy

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni,

The University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy is ranked 17th among 129 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States by US News and World Report. We provide the only ranked pharmacy program in the state of Tennessee. The College offers both PharmD and PhD degrees with the opportunity for students to pursue PharmD/PhD and PharmD/MBA degrees. Overall we enroll approximately 620 professional degree students and 60 graduate students. The PharmD program maintains an on time graduation rate that exceeds 94%, and a first time board pass rate exceeding 98%. Our graduates continue to have a powerful edge in a competitive market for residency and job placement.

During my first year as Dean at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, we have capitalized on our assets. One of our greatest strengths is our statewide presence, allowing us to offer an exceptional education program, drawing on a talented pool of students, faculty, and alumni.

As I travel across Tennessee getting to know alumni and appreciating the beauty of this state, I am impressed with our statewide support. In the last year, our alumni were recognized locally and nationally as successful business people, as innovators, and for their distinguished service to our profession. The College has provided nearly 44,000 hours of continuing education to more than 17,000 pharmacists throughout Tennessee and the nation. Alumni were generous with their financial support and time over the past year, endowing new student scholarships, raising over a quarter of a million dollars to name the Student Affairs Suite on the Memphis campus, and allowing me to visit with them at their practice sites including community pharmacies, health-systems and organizations such as BlueCross BlueShield. Both state and local pharmacy associations and societies have welcomed me with open arms, giving me the opportunity to present at several of their meetings across the state.

Our outstanding faculty and staff continue to grow in number and stature. A total of 4 new faculty and 4 new staff have been hired since March of last year. We continue searches for additional faculty and we are currently recruiting for Director of Admissions and Alumni Affairs and Coordinator of International Affairs and Experiential Education staff positions. Our Health Outcomes and Policy Research faculty transitioned from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences to the Department of Clinical Pharmacy in July to provide more opportunity for collaborative research. Faculty have increased their scholarly productivity and research funding, thus improving our NIH ranking. Additionally, many faculty were awarded internal seed grants to help generate research and funding to purchase needed equipment. The campus administration has been extremely supportive of the College, and we are extraordinarily grateful for funding provided by UTHSC and Plough Foundation to transform our good manufacturing practice (GMP) Facility to a state of the art enterprise. Meanwhile, faculty across the state continue to serve as leaders at the campus, state and national levels with numerous professional organizations. For example, during the last year, faculty and staff have been recognized with state and national awards for their achievements in education, student organization advising, research, practice and service to our profession. Our strong residencies continue to thrive in number, quality, breadth, and depth. The PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program added two new positions in Knoxville this year, while both PGY1 and PGY2 residents have been honored with national research awards and competitive research grants. I am continuously impressed how we, by working together, so effectively engage in all aspects of our mission areas.

Our student pharmacists are the foundation for all that we do. Our goal is to produce the top graduates, not only in the state of Tennessee, but in the nation. We are dedicated to giving our graduates a competitive advantage in the job market. To that end, we are becoming more student-centered by providing greater flexibility in campus choice, along with opportunities to earn additional certificates in medication therapy management, informatics and nuclear pharmacy. Beginning this Spring, during the experiential portion of our curriculum, students may choose one of three tracks to gain more focused experience in their chosen career path: 1) community practice/residency, 2) inpatient practice/residency and 3) graduate/dual degree. Our International Program is flourishing with the addition of a month-long experience in Gambia to the already impressive list of established experiences in 12 different countries. Students are offered PharmD/MBA degree options with both the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. To produce the best graduates, we must recruit the cream of the crop to our programs. While the unique opportunities outlined here will certainly draw outstanding students to the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, a new Direct Admission Program with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has been implemented as well. Exceptional high school students meeting rigorous admission criteria will be admitted to the College of Pharmacy as freshmen and will retain their admission status by satisfactorily completing pre-requisite coursework, achieving an acceptable PCAT score and completing the interview process. The Direct Admission Program will be expanded across the state to the University of Memphis this year. Our student pharmacists continue to astound us with their academic and professional accomplishments both individually and collectively through student organization outreach on both campuses. A complete list of all regional and national student awards, leadership roles and presentations is impossible to include here; however, our student pharmacists were recognized at the recent American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists meeting as 2012 Division A Chapter of the Year, they received the 2012 National Operation Immunization Award, produced the 2012 Most Informative PharmFlix Video, and our own Nick Capote is the 2013-2014 National APhA-ASP National President-Elect. Please join me in congratulating all of our students on their many outstanding accomplishments.

In summary, the College of Pharmacy serves the entire state of Tennessee as one college with two campuses in Memphis and Knoxville and a clinical education center in Nashville. Student pharmacists across the state are successful both academically and professionally. Our residency programs continue to be highly sought after and nationally acclaimed. Faculty are flourishing as educators, researchers and practitioners while serving as leaders throughout the state and the nation. Our alumni continue to lead the way in practice, innovation and service to the profession. I am grateful for the efforts of faculty, staff, students and alumni who have led the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy to this success. The last 12 months have been filled with hard work, dedication, and stretching ourselves to new heights of achievement. I appreciate all who have contributed to our productive and successful year, and I look forward to us working together to realize many more accomplishments in the future.

Contact Us

College of Pharmacy -

881 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-6036
Fax: (901) 448-7053

College of Pharmacy - Knoxville

1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, TN 37920
Phone: (865) 974-2100
Fax: (865) 974-2022

College of Pharmacy - Nashville

193 Polk Ave Suite 2D
Nashville, TN 37210
Phone: (615) 253-5600
Fax: (615) 532-3399