1 Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) Research Briefs Characteristics of Social and Administrative Sciences graduate programs and strategies for student recruitment and future faculty development in the United States Salisa C. Westrick, Ph.D. a, *, Khalid M. Kamal, Ph.D. b, Leticia R. Moczygemba, Pharm.D., Ph.D. c, Michelle L. Breland, M.Ed., N.C.C., Ph.D. d, Pamela C. Heaton, Ph.D. e a Department of Pharmacy Care Systems, Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn University, 207 Dunstan Hall, Auburn, AL 36849, USA b Division of Clinical, Social and Administrative Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA c Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA d Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut, School of Pharmacy, Storrs, CT 06269, USA e Pharmacy Practice and Administrative Sciences, James L Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA Abstract Background: The rising demand of faculty in Social and Administrative Sciences (SAS) in pharmacy in the United States heightens the need to increase the number of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduates in SAS who choose to pursue an academic career. Objectives: To describe the characteristics of SAS graduate programs and graduate students and identify strategies for student recruitment and future faculty development. Methods: An Internet survey (phase I) with key informants (graduate program officers/department chairs) and semistructured telephone interviews (phase II) with phase I respondents were used. Items solicited data on recruitment strategies, number of students, stipends, support, and other relevant issues pertaining to graduate program administration. Descriptive statistics were tabulated. Results: Of the 40 SAS graduate programs identified and contacted, 24 completed the Internet survey (response rate [RR] ¼ 60.0%) and, of these, 16 completed the telephone interview (RR ¼ 66.7%). At the time of the survey, the median number of graduate students with a U.S.-based PharmD degree was 3. An average annual stipend for graduate assistants was $20,825. The average time to PhD degree completion was 4.57 years, and approximately 31% of PhD graduates entered academia. Various strategies for recruitment and future faculty development were identified and documented. Conclusions: Findings allow SAS graduate programs to benchmark against other institutions with respect to their own achievement/strategies to remain competitive in student recruitment and development. * Corresponding author. Tel.: þ ; fax: þ address: (S.C. Westrick) /$ - see front matter Published by Elsevier Inc. doi: /j.sapharm
2 102 Westrick et al. / Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) Additional research is needed to determine the success of various recruitment strategies and identify potential new ones. Published by Elsevier Inc. Keywords: Graduate program; Recruitment; Student development; Graduate student; Pharmacy administration; Social and administrative sciences; Future faculty Introduction Currently, only 10% of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students in Social and Administrative Sciences (SAS) Pharmacy programs in the United States are U.S.-trained pharmacists. 1,2 U.S. PharmD graduates are attractive candidates for SAS graduate programs because of their knowledge about the U.S. health care system and contemporary pharmacy practice. 3 Challenges in recruiting PharmD graduates into SAS graduate programs include a lack of financial incentives 2-4 and poor understanding of the relevance of SAS graduate programs and careers. 3 Another barrier is the length of time to complete graduate school, 2,3 with SAS PhD programs averaging about 4.7 years to complete. 4 Additionally, recruiting nonpharmacy graduate students can be challenging because of a lack of awareness among other disciplines about the purpose of SAS graduate programs. With an increasing number of U.S. colleges and schools of pharmacy, and an increased emphasis on SAS-related courses in pharmacy curricula, 5,6 the need for SAS faculty has also increased. 7 Therefore, SAS graduate programs should consider including and/or placing more emphasis on the development of future faculty as part of their graduate programs activities. Although it is known that SAS graduate programs use various strategies in their recruitment and future faculty development, this information has not been systematically documented. Objectives The objectives of this research were to (1) describe characteristics of U.S. SAS graduate programs and enrolled graduate students, (2) identify recruitment strategies for U.S. pharmacy and nonpharmacy graduate students, and (3) identify strategies used to develop future faculty members among U.S. SAS graduate programs. Methods A mixed-mode, cross-sectional study was conducted. Phase I (June-August 2011) used an Internet Survey Instrument (Qualtrics Labs, Inc) to capture information about the characteristics of SAS graduate programs and their graduate students. A questionnaire developed by Farley et al 4 was used as guidance when the phase I questionnaire was developed to collect information about type of degree offered, enrollment level, student characteristics, funding level, and graduation patterns. Phase II (August-September 2011) used a semistructured telephone interview to follow up with key informants who were directors of graduate studies or department chairs/heads. Indepth information related to strategies for graduate student recruitment and preparing future faculty was obtained during the interview. The study protocol received exempt status by the investigators Institutional Review Boards. A total of 40 SAS Masters (MS) and/or PhD programs in the United States were identified from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Web site. Among the 40 programs, a total of 11 offered an MS degree (27.5%), 11 offered a PhD degree (27.5%), and 18 offered both MS and PhD degrees (45.0%). Twelve programs (30%) were in the Southern region; 11 (27.5%) were in the Midwestern region; 9 (22.5%) were in the Southwestern and Western regions; and 8 (20%) were in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions. Contact information of the key informants was obtained from their programs Web sites. An invitation and the link to the phase I online survey instrument with 1 follow-up request were sent to key informants. For phase II, an invitation, with 2 follow-ups, was sent to phase I participants requesting to schedule a telephone interview. The interview questions solicited information related to recruitment strategies for PharmD, international, and domestic students and resources available for future faculty development. Interview notes were written at the time of the interviews. A qualitative analysis was performed independently by 2 investigators to identify themes underlying the strategies. During a consensus meeting, the investigators compared
3 Westrick et al. / Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) results, resolved any discrepancies, and agreed on the names of themes. Finally, information gathered from phases I and II was used to qualitatively explore potentially effective strategies. To identify potentially effective recruitment strategies for U.S.-based PharmD students, the number of graduate students with a U.S.-based PharmD degree was used as an indicator to differentiate programs that had a high enrollment of graduate students with a U.S.-based PharmD degree from those that had a low enrollment. High and low enrollments were determined based on the distribution of student enrollment. Second, strategies used by the high PharmD enrollment group were compared with those used by the other group. Similarly, to identify potentially effective strategies in preparing future SAS faculty, 2 groups of graduate programs were identified, those with a high percentage of graduates who began their career in academia and those with a low percentage of graduates in academic careers. Finally, strategies used to prepare future faculty between these 2 groups were compared. Results Response rate and Nonresponse bias investigation Twenty-four programs completed the phase I survey (response rate [RR] ¼ 60.0%). Of those, 16 completed the phase II interviews (RR ¼ 66.7%); each interview took about 20 minutes. The potential for nonresponse bias was investigated by comparing the characteristics of the participating programs (24) with the characteristics of the population (40). The participating programs did not represent the population with regard to the type of degree offered (c 2 ¼ 11.4; P!.01) and their locations (c 2 ¼ 20.4; P!.01). Specifically, programs that offered both MS and PhD degrees and programs located in the Southern region were overrepresented. Characteristics of graduate programs and enrolled students Of the 24 programs with representation in this study, 75% offered both MS and PhD degrees and 41.6% were located in the Southern region (Table 1). The most common types of benefits offered to graduate assistants included tuition waivers (95.8%) and health insurance benefits (83.3%). An average annual stipend for graduate assistants was $20,825 ($11,000-$32,000), with an average number of hours worked/week Table 1 Characteristics of U.S. graduate programs in SAS (N ¼ 24) Variable n (%) Graduate degree offered MS only 2 (8.3) PhD only 4 (16.7) MS and PhD 18 (75.0) Combined PharmD and graduate programs offered Formal PharmD/MS 5 (20.8) Formal PharmD/PhD 7 (29.2) Both PharmD/MS and PharmD/PhD 3 (12.5) programs None 9 (37.5) Geographic region South 10 (41.6) Southwest and West 8 (33.3) Midwest 4 (16.7) Middle Atlantic and New England 2 (8.3) Tuition waivers offered to graduate assistants Yes 23 (95.8) No 1 (4.2) Health insurance offered to graduate assistants Yes 20 (83.3) No 4 (16.7) Reduced fees offered to graduate assistants Yes 4 (16.7) No 20 (83.3) (12-20 hours). Further, SAS graduate programs enrolled more full-time students than part time in both MS and PhD degree programs (Table 2). Regarding the type of prior degree, the median number of students with a foreign/international pharmacy degree was 6.5, compared with 4 with a nonpharmacy degree and 3 with a U.S.-based pharmacy degree. The median numbers of graduate teaching and research assistants were 4 and 5, respectively. During fall 2008 to summer 2011, the median number of PhD graduates was 6 and the average time to complete the PhD degree was 4.57 years (standard deviation ¼ 0.61). Among the graduates, 31% began a career in academia, 26% joined a pharmaceutical company, 9% started a postdoc position, 8% worked with a governmental agency, and 26% obtained positions in other areas. Strategies for recruitment and preparing future faculty Several recruitment methods were used by SAS graduate programs to attract PharmD students
4 104 Westrick et al. / Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) Table 2 Number of graduate students by enrollment status, prior degree, and assistantship appointment in spring 2011 (N ¼ 24) Variable Median (Min-Max) Number of students enrolled in MS program a Full time 6.5 (2-25) Part time 2 (1-5) Number of students enrolled in PhD program b Full time 11 (3-25) Part time 1 (1-28) Number of students by prior degree type U.S.-based pharmacy degree 3 (1-12) Foreign/international 6.5 (1-22) pharmacy degree Nonpharmacy degree 4 (1-14) Number of students employed Teaching assistant 4 (1-15) Research assistant 5 (1-21) a Only participating programs that offered MS programs were included in the analysis. b Only participating programs that offered PhD programs were included in the analysis. from their own institutions (Table 3). Most respondents (n ¼ 10) indicated that a blend of formal and informal graduate recruitment methods were used in their programs, whereas 6 programs did not use any formal recruitment activities. Additionally, specific strategies that were perceived as successful included offering combined degree programs (PharmD/PhD and PharmD/MS), engaging students in research, enrolling students in honors programs, and having a personal connection with students. Two programs indicated that offering attractive stipends and tuition waivers was a successful strategy. For recruiting PharmD students from other institutions, respondents used methods such as outreach programs, networking through professional meetings, and advertising including word of mouth, but the success of these methods was unclear. Most programs (n ¼ 10) indicated that recruitment strategies for international students were limited to word of mouth and the program s Web site. Ten programs offered teaching-related activities, which included teaching certification programs, teaching seminar/workshops, or one-to-one mentoring of students interested in an academic career. Completion of teaching-related training was a PhD requirement for 2 programs. Informal activities were also offered including teaching opportunities, exposure to disparate research projects, grantwriting workshops, and networking during professional meetings. Potentially effective strategies in recruitment and preparing future faculty Recruitment strategies of the 5 programs with high (4-6 students) and 5 programs with low (0-1 students) enrollment of graduate students with U.S.-based PharmD degrees were compared; no differences were identified. Both groups reported using similar strategies including involving PharmD students in research activities, holding seminars/ workshops related to career choices for their students, and sending brochures to other pharmacy schools. Faculty development strategies used by 4 programs with high (O50%) and 4 programs with low (!20%) percentages of PhD graduates who entered an academic career were compared. Teaching certificate programs were greatly emphasized by programs with high graduate placement in academic institutions. One program in this group required student participation in a teaching certificate program and their delivery of in-class lectures. Although similar teaching certificate programs may be available among programs with a lower academic career focus, taking advantage of this opportunity was not emphasized nor mentioned during the interview. It appeared that teaching-related opportunities provided to students were informal and seemed to be left for their advisors to decide. Discussion Graduate assistants stipends and program duration are important factors determining students decisions to enroll in graduate programs. On graduation, PharmD degree holders have the immediate opportunity to earn as a pharmacist (average salary of $109,380). 8 These PharmD students may have loans to pay back, and further education requires additional financial hardship. Additionally, on completion of their PhD degree, if they enter academia, they may earn less than a pharmacist. Hagemeier and Murawski 2 found that salaries from careers requiring a PhD eventually surpassed that of the community pharmacist (aged about years), but over their lifetime, the person still loses between $212,271 and $563,682 in potential earnings. In their model, they recommended reducing the time to the PhD degree to 3 years and increasing the annual
5 Westrick et al. / Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) Table 3 Strategies used to recruit students to SAS graduate programs (N ¼ 16) a Strategies used to recruit PharmD students from the same institution Research opportunity Personal engagement Junior faculty engagement with potential candidates (3) Personal connection b (2) Professional conferences and meetings (eg, AACP Wal-Mart Scholars program) (2) Mentoring Research initiatives Engage students in research b (independent study, grant opportunities, summer fellowships, rotations, internships) (10) Discussion on research (in class, during lunch breaks, or research day) (3) Research electives (2) Graduate seminar invitations Faculty initiated Lecture on research careers Department chair/head promotes graduate program Other media Web site Letters to final year students contacts to students Combined degree program PharmD/PhD; PharmD/MS b (6) Honors program b (2) Financial assistance Graduate stipend c (2) Strategies used to recruit PharmD students from other institutions Faculty initiated Networking/professional meetings (5) Formal outreach visits to nearby pharmacy schools/colleges Guest lectures Others Department brochures (3) Web site (2) Word of mouth (2) Alumni Strategies used to recruit international students Web site (9) Word of mouth (5) Outreach programs Honors program Alumni Strategies used to recruit students from other disciplines Web site (6) Word of mouth (3) Outreach program Recruitment dinner Brochures a Numbers in parentheses are frequencies of responses (O1). Those without an ensuing number indicate only 1 response. b Perceived by respondents to be a successful recruitment strategy. c One program reported a stipend of $30,000 and tuition waiver.
6 106 Westrick et al. / Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 9 (2013) graduate student stipend to $30,000 to $40, Similar research found that improving these 2 factors would encourage PharmD students to consider graduate degrees. 9 The investigators noted that much improvement in graduate students stipends is needed and recommended that qualified candidates take advantage of Loan Repayment Programs to reduce the loan burden. Additionally, one method that may help reduce the time to degree completion is to offer dual PharmD/ PhD programs. Students will complete some of the didactic graduate coursework during their PharmD program and proceed more quickly into research during their PhD education. 10 Engaging PharmD students in research projects was viewed positively by many graduate programs. More formal and consistent exposure to research was found to increase the students perceptions of the benefit and their ability to conduct research as well as encourage them to pursue graduate degrees Hence, it may be beneficial for SAS programs to formalize and increase research engagement with PharmD students at their institutions. These research opportunities can be offered during the academic year or summer semester or can be offered as a final capstone research project Generating interest in academia as a career may also encourage PharmD students to pursue graduate study. To provide the complete picture of an academic career, faculty members could develop more academic-based Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations, promote the AACP Wal-Mart Scholars program, or promote university-level teaching-related programs. Because encouragement by a faculty member had great impact on their likelihood of attending graduate school, 9 SAS faculty members are encouraged to actively identify and recruit PharmD candidates from their institution into their graduate program. Regarding fostering future faculty, emphasizing a formal element of teaching activities could help increase students interest in an academic career. Various formal and informal activities included enrolling in a university-level teaching certificate program, attending teaching seminars, completing a teaching practicum, engaging in teaching activities in PharmD curriculum, and observing faculty members in their courses. Graduate faculty should take advantage of programs that are readily available in their institutions and routinely recommend them to their graduate students. Given the potential for nonresponse bias, statistical results may have limited generalizability. Strategies recommended in this study can and should be adopted by SAS graduate programs, and perhaps, future research should systematically investigate the effectiveness of these strategies. Also, researchers should assess the academic job market in SAS and examine qualifications among those who secured the positions. The number of PhD graduates against the number of open faculty positions at the assistant professor level should be evaluated and included in future studies regarding program structure and student recruitment. Moreover, future studies should conduct an investigation from both PharmD and non-pharmd students perspectives. In this way, a comprehensive understanding of reasons why students pursue advanced training and an academic career can be developed. Conclusion This study reported characteristics of SAS graduate programs in Pharmacy and identified strategies for student recruitment and future faculty development. Findings allow SAS graduate programs to benchmark against other institutions with respect to their own achievement/strategies to remain competitive in student recruitment and development. Additional research is needed to determine the success of various recruitment strategies and identify potential new ones. Acknowledgments Preliminary results of this study were presented at the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting, March The authors thank the other members of the AACP-SAS Graduate Program Committee, namely Drs Rajender Aparasu, Susan Blalock, Kevin Farmer, Kim Plake, and Almut Winterstein for their input and guidance. Additionally, the authors thank Dr Heidi Luder for her thoughtful contribution. Lastly, the project described was supported in part by award number KL2RR to Dr Moczygemba from the National Center for Research Resources. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources, National Cancer Institute, or the National Institutes of Health. References 1. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
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