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College Spotlight: College of Pharmacy Continues to Make Student Success Its Top Priority



Pharmacy students will be “a part of the family” regardless of their chosen instructional site after completing their first nine months on the main campus in Memphis. (Photo by Thurman Hobson/UTHSC)

Access. Affordability. Accountability. These are three attributes that Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, dean and professor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy, believes set the college apart from other institutions. The highest ranked college of pharmacy in the state of Tennessee and as the 17th best College of Pharmacy in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report, is currently home to approximately 700 students. Since Dean Chisholm-Burns has been at the helm, research endeavors have increased significantly, now bringing in the most funding from the National Institutes of Health in the college’s history.

Founded in 1898 as part of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the pharmacy school was moved to Memphis in 1911. Today, the college is housed in state-of-the-art facilities at our major sites in Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville. Offering professional and graduate programs, all pharmacy students spend at least nine months of their education on the UTHSC campus in Memphis.

When it comes to access, the College of Pharmacy emphasizes that it has three campuses, but is one college. “We have something that appeals to everyone, regardless of their situation and this improves our accessibility,” said Dean Chisholm-Burns. “If you’re a city-oriented student, the Memphis campus may work best for you. However, if you prefer a more relaxed environment and smaller class sizes, the Nashville or Knoxville campus may better suit your needs.”

Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, dean of the College of Pharmacy (Photo provided by the College of Pharmacy)

“Regardless of which campus is selected by our students, they are part of the entire UTHSC College of Pharmacy family,” said Dean Chisholm-Burns. “We definitely have something for everyone.”

Affordability is a major selling point for the College of Pharmacy. To date, it is the most affordable pharmacy school in the state. In addition, it utilizes the “50-mile radius” program, meaning that any student within 50 miles of UTHSC is provided a highly discounted out of state tuition rate. “It is about providing affordable high quality education,” said Dean Chisholm-Burns.” Affordability makes it easier and possible for students to further their education.”

The success of the College of Pharmacy can be largely contributed to the accountability of administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. For instance, Doctor of Pharmacy students and graduates have one of the highest progression rates in the county and achieve greater than a 96 percent first-time board pass rate. “We pull out all stops to ensure the success of our student pharmacists and alumni,” said Dean Chisholm-Burns. “We not only want to make it the best experience for them now, but a great reflection for them in the future.

Looking toward the future, the college looks to keep pushing its mission of stellar education, and with this in mind, the college will implement a new state-of-the-art Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum next year “Our goal is to continue to evolve and provide extraordinary teaching, research and service,” said Dean Chisholm-Burns.