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Shepherd and Shenandoah sign pharmacy program agreement

Those participating in the pharmacy articulation agreement are (front row, l. to r.) Dr. Robert DiCenzo, dean, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy; Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, president, Shenandoah University; President Mary J.C. Hendrix; and Dr. Scott Beard, acting provost; back row, Dr. Gina Peacock, assistant dean, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy; Dr. Robert Warburton, acting dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Katie Sanders, director of admissions, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy; and Dr. Dan DiLella, chair, Department of Chemistry.

Shepherd University and Shenandoah University have signed an articulation agreement that will make it possible for students to attend Shepherd for three years and spend their fourth year at Shenandoah’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy finishing their bachelor’s degree while simultaneously earning their Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

The agreement will give students the ability to complete their B.S. in chemistry with a biopharmaceutical concentration from Shepherd through the classes they will take during their first year at Shenandoah.

“We will be working with students from Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania who can now look at Shenandoah as a place to complete their professional degree,” said Dr. Robert Warburton, acting dean of Shepherd’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Warburton said the new arrangement will give students the option of staying in the area to earn their Pharm.D. and Pharm.D./M.B.A. Warburton said because they will earn a bachelor’s degree, the Shepherd-to-Shenandoah program gives students more options.

“Before this articulation agreement was signed, students might have only stayed at Shepherd for two to three years to complete the courses required and then they would transfer to a pharmacy program, but they would not complete their baccalaureate,” Warburton said. “Completing this program and earning a baccalaureate provides them with the opportunity to not only earn their Pharm.D. degree, but also enter the M.B.A. and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) programs. It allows them in mid career to change because they would have an undergraduate degree, which they wouldn’t normally have. It gives them flexibility and options.”

Warburton sees an ability in the future to mix and match programs such as Shepherd’s master’s in data analytics and M.B.A., or Shenandoah’s M.P.H.

Under the agreement, Shenandoah will give priority admission to at least five students per year from Shepherd to pharmacy school as long as the students meet the requirements of scoring in the 50th percentile or greater on the Pharmacy College Admission Test, have a GPA of at least 3.0, complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better, and meet all other requirements.

“A Shepherd graduate was part of our first graduating class in pharmacy at Shenandoah University and this articulation agreement is a natural extension of the relationship we have been building with Shepherd since the opening of our school,” said Dr. Robert DiCenzo, dean of the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, which has nearly 400 students and was created in 1995 to respond to the growing need for pharmacists in the health care system.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Shenandoah,” said Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, Shepherd’s president. “We think very highly of Shenandoah, and having our students be able to cross-train, if you will, is going to be wonderful for both institutions.”

“The benefit for Shenandoah is that we can think about more cross-state partnerships,” said Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, Shenandoah’s president. “With Shepherd leading the way, we can think about how we can better serve not just Virginia, but West Virginia and beyond, and about broader partnerships that might include joint research opportunities or new programs together.”