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Changes in Pharmacy Practice Faculty 1995-2001

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Changes in Pharmacy Practice Faculty 1995-2001
Objective. To compare changes in United States pharmacy practice faculty demographics from 1995-2001 and to discuss the implications for junior faculty development.
Methods. Demographic data were extracted from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy institutional research system for academic years 1995-1996 and 2000-2001.
Results. In 2000-2001, pharmacy practice was the largest faculty discipline, 3.8 times larger than the next three disciplines. Junior pharmacy practice faculty occupied 65% of all junior full-time pharmacy faculty positions. Tenure track assistant professors decreased 4% from 283 to 271, and nontenure track assistant professors increased 58% from 427 to 677 (X = 20.0, p<0.05). In 2000-2001, 72% of all pharmacy practice assistant professors were nontenure track, up from 59% in 1995-1996. Women assistant professors in pharmacy practice outnumbered men by 2:1. Challenges faced by new faculty include balancing teaching, practice, and research demands; selecting a nontenure or tenure track and understanding its expectations; limiting teaching preparation time; developing productive writing habits; setting performance goals; managing time; and handling the mental and physical stress of academic life. Senior faculty must actively help new members appreciate the many positive aspects of academic life by sharing their strategies and success stories.
Conclusion. Schools and colleges of pharmacy relied heavily on increasing the number of nontenure track junior pharmacy practice faculty to meet increased clinical education demands.

Most new pharmacy practice faculty members identify the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) as their major comprehensive pharmacy organization. Although the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) supports the educational mission of pharmacy practice faculty, it is unable to meet their needs for practice and scholarly endeavors. Like the new pharmacy practice professorate, ACCP members are predominantly young (91% age ≤ 50 yrs) and have advanced training (79% have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree), 77% completed a residency and/or fellowship, and 24% are board certified (C. Fields, personal communication, July 25, 2001). The ACCP embraces the triad of pharmacy practice faculty responsibilities: practice, scholarship including original research, and teaching. It provides a clinical practice and scholarly forum demanded by many of the pharmacy practice professorate. The College has published guidelines and rationale for patient care activities and educational activities. A staunch advocate of research and scholarship, ACCP is a leading scientific society.

The mission and related services of ACCP closely align with advanced-trained clinical practitioners who hold faculty appointments. Primary practice locales reported by ACCP members in December 1999 included 14% in a college of pharmacy and 20% in a university hospital (C. Fields, personal communication, July 25, 2001). Another 20% and 7% reported their primary practice location as community and government hospitals, respectively. Because many faculty practice in university hospitals and elsewhere, a conservative estimate is that more than 20-30% of ACCP members are full-time faculty. Whereas the College has identified career development as a major need of its members, few resources address the specific needs of junior pharmacy practice faculty.

Today's imperfect health care delivery system, with its focus on costs and to some extent quality, challenges pharmacy practitioner educators to document their value. Health care delivery is stressful and, unlike in the past, rarely considered fun. At the same time, increasing numbers of students and entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) programs demand more time for both clerkship and didactic teaching. Simultaneously, the pressure to publish and obtain substantial external funding persists for tenure track pharmacy practice faculty. These demands and stressors lead to frustration and stress for junior faculty. However, by characterizing junior pharmacy practice faculty demographics and challenges, strategies for assisting their development as practitioners, educators, and scholars can be implemented. Only by working together and understanding the background of new faculty and their challenges will they and their school or college realize the long-term benefits of well-adjusted faculty members.

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