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Pharmacy college’s accreditation extended


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy will retain its accreditation following a late June meeting of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

University of Hawaii at Hilo administrators, including the college’s dean, John Pezzuto, expressed concern this spring that the college could ultimately be stripped of its accreditation in response to state legislators failing earlier this year to fund a permanent building for the program.

But, at a June 18-23 meeting, the Board of Directors for the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) opted to maintain Hilo’s full accreditation through June 30, 2015, on a provisional basis, Pezzuto reported.

“Full accreditation has been extended, but retention of this status is dependent on our ability to bring the college into compliance,” he wrote Wednesday in an emailed response to questions. “It is now up to us to provide a response on how we will bring the college into compliance.”

The college’s accreditation status will be considered again at the January board meeting of the ACPE, he said.

Pezzuto said he could not provide this week much more detail on the ACPE meeting or the college’s response, as he was out of town at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

“I am in the process of discussing these matters with the chancellor (Donald Straney) and others,” he said.

A call seeking further information from the ACPE was not returned Wednesday.

University Relations Director Jerry Chang said Wednesday afternoon that while administrators were relieved by the ACPE’s decision to renew the program’s

accreditation, achieving funding for a building will remain a top priority.

“We are pleased that the Accreditation Board recognized the quality of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy program, granting full accreditation, but it is still dependent on our ability to provide for a permanent building. We will again request legislative CIP (capital improvement project) funding for a new building next year to bring the pharmacy program into full compliance.”

Hilo’s College of Pharmacy, which opened its doors to its first class of students in 2007, achieved full accreditation from the ACPE in 2011. Accreditation is an important measure of a college’s ability to meet universally accepted standards, according to the ACPE website.

“The professional degree program of a college or school of pharmacy is granted initial or full accreditation if it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of ACPE that the program complies with accreditation standards, including the appropriateness of the program’s mission and goals, the adequacy of resources and organization to meet the mission and goals, outcomes which indicate that the mission and goals are being met, and the reasonable assurance of the continued compliance with standards,” the site reads.

The UH-Hilo program has earned and maintained its full accreditation, despite falling short on a single requirement: That it provide a permanent building for faculty and students. Pezzuto explained in May that the college had been allowed to achieve accreditation by being in “partial compliance” with ACPE’s standards, provided that the building standard be met within a reasonable amount of time.

Coming into the start of this year’s Legislative Session, it appeared as if the College of Pharmacy had built a strong foundation of support for the appropriation of funds for a new building, including garnering the full support of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who visited the campus and gave his assurances that he would work to get the funding.

Administrators were asking for $38 million to begin work on the new facility, for which designs were already completed in 2011 at a cost of $5.5 million to the state.

Among ACPE’s 30 standards that colleges must meet to acquire accreditation, Standard No. 27 deals with physical facilities.

“The college or school must have adequate and appropriate physical facilities to achieve its mission and goals,” the standard reads. “The physical facilities must facilitate interaction among administration, faculty and students. The physical facilities must meet legal standards and be safe, well maintained and adequately equipped,”

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.


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