Frequently Asked Questions: UF College of Pharmacy class size reduction and St. Petersburg campus phase-out
Amid state and national trends showing a decline in the demand for pharmacists and increased emphasis on interprofessional team-based approaches to care, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy is embarking on a four-year plan to lower its student-to-faculty ratio as part of ongoing curriculum reform. To accomplish this class size reduction, the College has decided to phase out its Doctor of Pharmacy educational program at the St. Petersburg College campus in Seminole, Florida. The entering class of 2014 will be the final class, and the Pharm.D. program on that campus will cease when the 2014 class graduates in 2018.
Q: Why did the UF College of Pharmacy take this step?
A: The College recently announced its plans to implement a reformed curriculum beginning for students entering in fall 2015. The new curriculum requires a lower student to faculty ratio, and this was a driving factor in the decision to reduce the class size. Additionally, state and national trends have shown a decline in the demand for pharmacists. The UF College of Pharmacy’s decision to reduce the size of its student body was also made as a responsible approach for the profession.
Q: What will be the magnitude of the reduction in the class size?
A: We typically enroll 300 students per entering class. Beginning in 2015, we will target to enter 270 students, or a 10% reduction in the class size.
Q: Why did you select the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the St. Petersburg campus to phase out?
A: The St. Petersburg campus is not located on UF or UF Health property, whereas all other campuses are, a factor that contributed to its selection as a way to reduce class size. In addition, the College of Pharmacy’s new curriculum emphasizes expansion of laboratory-based coursework, which would have required significant investment in associated infrastructure at the St. Petersburg campus.
Q: What will happen to current and new Pharm.D. students on the St. Petersburg College campus?
A: All students, including the Fall 2014 entering class, will have the benefit of earning a UF Pharm.D. degree from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, while completing service and practice rotations in pharmacies and clinical settings in the region. Moreover, throughout the phase-out period, the UF College of Pharmacy will continue to demonstrate its sincere commitment to students and alumni through provision of quality education and support for career development. Our 218 students there are under the capable guidance of Carinda Field, Pharm.D., assistant dean and campus director, and other faculty.
Q: What changes can I expect during 2014-2015 academic year at the St. Petersburg campus?
A: There will be no changes. The St. Petersburg campus will continue with normal operations until the newly entering class has completed their Doctor of Pharmacy educational program in spring 2018. This phase-out means that starting in 2015 we will no longer be admitting any new students to this campus.
Q: What changes can one expect each subsequent year?
A: The only changes in future years for St. Petersburg students is that the total number of students on the campus will decline over time. This will not change the didactic experience, but over time will change the experience in student organizations. Faculty are working to identify unique approaches for students to have similar mentoring and leadership opportunities while the campus enrollment declines.
Q: Can students request to transfer to another campus?
A: The policy on making transfer requests in the College of Pharmacy will not change. This means that except in the case of unusual personal circumstances, it is not possible to transfer from your assigned campus. Transfer requests made simply because of the plan to phase out the St. Petersburg campus will not be granted.
Q: Can a student defer their admission this year until next so that they can start the new curriculum and be assigned to another campus?
A: If a student wished to wait for a year to begin their pharmacy education, they would have to reapply to the College of Pharmacy for admission to the 2015 class. Deferrals will not be accepted.
Q: Will the phase-out of the St. Petersburg campus, affect the College’s accreditation by ACPE?
A: No. The phase out of the St. Petersburg campus will not affect the UF College of Pharmacy accreditation. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has been informed of the plan to phase-out this campus and are also aware that the campus will continue to operate as normal until the last class graduates in Spring 2018.
Q: As a St. Petersburg Campus Student, how will the phase-out affect my ability to get a job upon graduation?
A: The College has a reputation of preparing high-caliber pharmacists at all four campuses. The program’s reputation is not campus-specific. Therefore, all students will continue to be equally prepared for jobs upon graduation.
Q: Are there plans to phase-out any other UF College of Pharmacy campuses?
A: No. The UF College of Pharmacy’s decision to reduce its class size was the primary driving force for the phase out of one of its campuses.
Q: Who should I contact if I have Additional questions?
A: Email additional questions to STPquestions@cop.ufl.edu. We will respond to emails, and we will continue to update FAQs as new questions are posed.