SEARCY, Ark. – The Harding University College of Pharmacy has received pre-candidate accreditation status and will seat its inaugural class this fall, President David B. Burks announced to students, faculty and staff in chapel Tuesday (1/15/08).
The Daily Citizen Harding’s College of Pharmacy will not open for another year because the university has not been able to find enough qualified faculty to begin, said Dr. David Burks, President of Harding University. The university has decided to delay its application to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education for another year, Burks said. While the university has succeeded in hiring nine faculty members, the college needs 15 qualified professors to begin. “We are committed to ensuring that the college provides the highest quality program possible,” said Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace, dean of the college. “In order to accomplish this, we believe that we need additional faculty in place at least six months in advance of our start date.” Burks was confident that Harding would be able to offer pharmacy next year. “I feel certain we’ll have everything in order by the fall of 2008,” Burks said. The university planned to start the Pharmacy College faster than most universities, and is now adjusting to the difficulties of finding qualified candidates. “In addition to having a pharmacy degree, to teach you have to have a residency requirement,” Burks said. “There aren’t many pharmacists who have residency requirements that are interested in teaching.” “Although the accelerated timeline did not result in a fall 2007 start date, the great deal of effort and groundwork invested provide a strong foundation as development of the program moves forward,” Hixson-Wallace said. “Our proposed College of Pharmacy had always been on an accelerated track,” said Dr. Jim Carr, executive vice president of Harding. “We planned to start much earlier than is normal for such a program. We will now revert to the more traditional path.” Harding will recruit the six needed professors the same way it found the first nine, contacting and networking to find qualified candidates, Burks said. Harding requires all of its faculty to be members of the Church of Christ and will continue to do so in the future, though it does allow some exceptions, Burks said. The policy has not hampered the momentum of the program’s start, he added. “We’ve been able to do it for every other program,” Burks said. “There have been shortages of qualified people in other programs like accounting and we’ve still found people.” As a result of the delay, the first class will begin with more than the 40 students originally planned for an early start. The university will start construction on the new health sciences center, where the pharmacy program will be housed, within the next 45 days. The 35,000 square-foot facility will be housed on Park Avenue across from Pryor Hall.