Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 16, 2010

U-M, Grand Valley sign pharmacy college
admissions agreement

The presidents of U-M and Grand Valley State University on Thursday signed an agreement establishing a program that offers preferred admission into the U-M doctoral pharmacy program to a small number of promising Grand Valley freshmen.

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The College of Pharmacy will reserve up to eight positions annually in its four-year PharmD doctoral program for admittance of Grand Valley freshmen who complete a rigorous undergraduate program of pre-pharmacy coursework and other requirements. The initiative is called the Pharmacy Preferred Admission Program.

“This is an exciting example of two Michigan institutions of higher education working together to address mutual goals,” says Frank Ascione, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

“This program allows the U-M College of Pharmacy to tap into a new pool of in-state talent,” Ascione says. “At the same time, it creates opportunities for outstanding Grand Valley students who may not have considered this to be a possible career path.”

The agreement was signed by President Mary Sue Coleman and Grand Valley President Thomas Haas at a meeting of the Board of Regents in Grand Rapids.

Grand Valley State University does not have a pharmacy school. But it offers graduate-level programs in health-related fields that include nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, health science and health administration.

“This partnership further expands the breadth of health profession program offerings available to students by bringing together two premier institutions,” says Jean Nagelkerk, Grand Valley’s vice provost for health.

“As Grand Valley contributes to the development of the future pharmacy work force, this agreement will enhance our presence as a partner in Michigan’s growing health care community. It also benefits Grand Valley’s students, who will have access to one of the top pharmacy educational programs in the nation.”

The College of Pharmacy receives about 500 applications annually for 80 openings in its highly regarded PharmD doctoral program. Under the new agreement, up to eight of those positions will be reserved for Grand Valley students who successfully complete the Preferred Admission Program.

It is the first collaboration of its kind that the College of Pharmacy has formed with another university. The first group of participating freshmen will be admitted to the program in the fall of 2011.

“We don’t have an undergraduate program on the western side of the state. But this initiative allows us to work with Grand Valley to identify talented, motivated students from western Michigan who are eager to pursue careers in pharmacy,” Ascione says. “Grand Valley will identify those high-potential students, then we will work together to make sure they meet our high standards.”

Grand Valley students will be accepted into the program as freshmen. To remain eligible to enter PharmD, they must complete a program of pre-pharmacy coursework, maintain an appropriate grade-point average and achieve a score on the Pharmacy College Admission Test that is consistent with the College of Pharmacy’s admissions standards.

In addition, they must maintain regular contact with a pre-professional adviser, complete one year of paid or unpaid health-care work experience, volunteer for community service and “demonstrate the professional behavior expectations of competence, honesty, compassion, respect for others and responsibility.”

“This gives the students a program to follow, as well as the support they need to successfully complete that program,” Nagelkerk says. “It offers our students a seamless matriculation into U-M’s PharmD program, so it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

This is the second preferred-admission agreement between U-M and Grand Valley. A 2009 agreement enables selected U-M kinesiology students to enter Grand Valley’s master’s degree program in occupational therapy.