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New School Year, New Dean

By Lynda Welage, PharmD, FCCP, Dean, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, pharm@umn.edu

I’m very excited for this school year, my first as Dean of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Throughout my career (most recently as dean and professor at the University of New Mexico, and prior to that as faculty and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and associate director in the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research), I heard great things about the Minnesota pharmacy community. I am very excited to now be a part of it.

Over the past several months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with many of you and learning more about pharmacy practice in Minnesota. I am very eager to meet with more practitioners and hear your thoughts on the college and the practice in the state.

Over the next several months, I will travel around the state to meet as many people as I can. I was at MPhA’s Southeast Minnesota Pharmacist Night Extravaganzapalooza in Rochester on Oct. 12, and have tentatively scheduled an event in Duluth for later in the month. I will share the dates of other get-togethers as the details are confirmed. Please watch for an invitation soon in your inbox, and join us if your schedule allows.

One of my top goals as Dean is to work with you to develop new and enhance existing partnerships to further practice transformation and meet the health care needs of all Minnesotans, particularly those in rural and underserved areas. I’d also like to continue to build momentum in advancing our innovative models of education, and new discoveries and translational research.

Looking ahead, we at the college are excited to launch our new five-year strategic plan that includes these goal areas: education (professional and graduate), research, practice, people and diversity, outreach/community engagement/global, resources and alumni affairs. We are now working to develop and implement specific strategies and tactics to meet these goals.

We are also excited to be a part of the largest philanthropic initiative in U of M history, Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign. Our college-specific campaign focus is on our innovation and impact. You can learn more at www.pharmacy.umn.edu/alumni/give

I would also like to share that we recently welcomed another exceptional class of incoming students.

Our Class of 2021 is made up of 168 students – 60 students in Duluth and 108 students in the Twin Cities. The class has an average PharmCAS GPA of 3.4, which is typical of our high-quality students we accept each year. Approximately 77 percent are Minnesota residents, while others come from 17 states and 35 other countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Mexico, to name a few. This year, we again welcomed two students from China through a partnership program between the College of Pharmacy and several Chinese universities.

Additionally, our incoming class has a well-rounded education. Approximately 92 percent have Bachelor’s degrees with majors in more than 35 disciplines. Five students have a Master’s degree, and one already has a doctoral degree.

Our students were busy prior to matriculating into the College of Pharmacy. They have work experience as a pharmacy technician, soccer coach, dietary assistant, server, research assistant, lifeguard, medical scribe, nanny and more. Collectively, they have dedicated more than 300,000 hours to volunteer and extracurricular activities.

The Class of 2021 has much to offer each other, the College of Pharmacy and the profession of pharmacy. Please join me in welcoming them.

Once again, thank you for your kind welcome. I am honored to have been selected to serve as Dean of this great College of Pharmacy. I look forward to becoming part of the Minnesota pharmacy community.

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