Regents Vote to Transfer Management of Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy on the campus of A&M-Kingsville to the Health Science Center
(COLLEGE STATION)—The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted today to transfer the management of the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy from Texas A&M University-Kingsville to The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center.
The decision to transfer management of the college, which is located on the campus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and slated to open in fall 2006, was made for a variety of reasons, including funding support and critical academic resources that the health science center can offer to support opening the school as scheduled in fall 2006.
“The Health Science Center has a number of critical resources necessary to initiate college of pharmacy programs more rapidly than otherwise would be feasible,” said John D. White, chairman of the Board of Regents. “The HSC is dispersed geographically over the State of Texas with programs already established in Corpus Christi, Kingsville and McAllen. These programs are part of the A&M System’s commitment to South Texas, which will provide a strong foundation for the pharmacy college to build on.”
“The Health Science Center has stepped up to the plate to make sure that we are able to fulfill the expectations of our students, state leaders and South Texans to open the college this fall,” said Robert D. McTeer, chancellor of the A&M System. “Our decision is also based on the expectation that in addition to formula funding, which is based on first-year students only, at least another $6 million will be appropriated to the college to cover the costs of educating the new students who will be enrolled during the 2008-2009 biennium,” said McTeer. “This will ensure that the college will have the dependable source of state appropriated funds required for Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval and national accreditation.”
“Including the College of Pharmacy within the Health Science Center is consistent with our mission, vision and original legislative mandates to address health-related needs and gaps in the health-related workforce in underserved areas in Texas,” said Nancy W. Dickey, president of the health science center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System. “Nationwide, pharmacy programs offered within health-related institutions like ours are highly successful in attracting, developing and retaining a diverse group of exemplary faculty, staff and students.”
“Although the Rangel College of Pharmacy will not be managed by Texas A&M University-Kingsville, its location on our campus will enable it to function in close partnership with the University, thereby enhancing and strengthening vital educational programs, outreach activities and research efforts for both institutions and throughout the Coastal Bend and South Texas regions” said Rumaldo Juarez, president of A&M-Kingsville. “It’s a win-win for both institutions.”
Faculty within the College of Pharmacy and HSC components – including the College of Medicine in College Station and Temple, Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas and Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston – will benefit from collaboration opportunities for basic science and translational research. In addition, the wealth of library resources the Health Science Center already has in place will serve to support both the educational and research missions of the college of pharmacy.
Other resources include structures and processes to facilitate scientific discovery with implications for drug development and technology commercialization. Fostering such research is a high priority for the A&M System, and close collaboration among the entities will greatly enhance these efforts. Health Science Center course offerings and faculty already have been identified to support the initial pharmacy curriculum while additional pharmacy faculty are being recruited. In addition, clinical partnerships and opportunities for pharmacy students and faculty are already in place in the Coastal Bend region, which will be critical in rapidly securing and documenting the pharmacy clinical sites required for accreditation of the school.
Dickey said that much work remains to be done in a short time to open the college. The process for interviewing and admitting students for the fall 2006 class will take place right away, as will preparations for the April 24-27 site visit required by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. In addition, the college of pharmacy must still obtain approvals from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the transfer of the college into the HSC. That board is scheduled to meet April 20 in Austin to act on both the transfer and the request for the Health Science Center to offer the doctoral degree in pharmacy.
The 77th Texas Legislature created the pharmacy college in 2001 and authorized tuition revenue bonds of approximately $14.5 million to finance the construction of a building to house the school. The building was completed in July 2005. The 78th Texas Legislature appropriated $306,250 in biennial funding to go toward the initial planning and curriculum development for the pharmacy program. A $13 million funding request was submitted to the 79th Texas Legislature for operational costs for the 2006-07 biennium, and although $10 million was included at one point in the supplemental appropriations bill, at final passage the funding was denied.
In 2004, the college submitted an application to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education for pre-accreditation status for the college, contingent upon meeting 30 accreditation standards, including the commitment of long-term financial support for the pharmacy program. In 2004, The A&M System Board of Regents committed $3.1 million to hire the initial cohort of faculty and prepare for full accreditation for the college, but the planned fall 2005 opening was delayed until fall 2006 due to a lack of appropriation of state funds for operations.
The Health Science Center will provide funding support for FY 2007 in order to stay on schedule to open the school in fall 2006. Expectations are that at least another $6 million in state funds will be appropriated to the College of Pharmacy by the legislature in addition to formula funding to cover the costs of educating the new students that will be enrolled in the 2008-09 biennium.