Michael T. Rupp, Ph.D., Dennis J. McCallian, Pharm.D., Sondra J. Peters, MBA and Dennis K. McAllister, B.S.
Midwestern University - Glendale (MWU) debuted its four-course entrepreneur track curriculum during the Spring 2003 quarter. Of the four courses, one is a requirement—the three-credit hour Pharmacy Practice Management course. Students wishing to complete the entrepreneurism track must take three elective courses: Human Resource Management, Marketing Professional Services, and Pharmacy Ownership. After successful completion of all four courses, students will be awarded a certificate of recognition.
"Creation of the entrepreneur track has been championed internally by several key pharmacy administration and pharmacy practice faculty," said Michael T. Rupp, Ph.D. Rupp is a professor of Pharmacy Administration and Executive Director of MWU's Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice (CAPP). . "There has also been advocacy from our dean and department chair, support from our curriculum committee, and strong encouragement from the practice community with whom we interact, especially progressive independents and several chains," he continued. Prof. Rupp, Prof. Dennis J. McCallian, Pharm.D., Prof. Sondra J. Peters, MBA, and Prof. Dennis K. McAllister, B.S. will teach the entrepreneur track courses. McCallian, in particular, brings years of ownership experience to the program. For years, he owned and operated a-state-of-the-art pharmacist care practice in Indiana in addition to teaching at Purdue University.
When asked why the entrepreneur's classes had not been offered in the past, the professors cited a "lack of appreciation among faculty and administration of the need for, and value of, entrepreneurship in pharmacy practice in all practice settings."
"Clearly, there must be championship from within the faculty, and at least modest support from administration," said Rupp. "Beyond that, students must have an appreciation for how entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and attitude can create professional opportunities and improve the quality and prosperity of their professional lives." Rupp also cited faculty misperceptions about entrepreneurship versus ownership as another impediment. "We believe another barrier is the misperception that entrepreneurship is necessarily synonymous with ownership. It is not. There are numerous examples of successful pharmacist entrepreneurs—and intrapreneurs—who have no ownership interest in their organizations. Conversely, there are many - too many - pharmacy owners who are entrepreneurs in only the most superficial sense of the term. Entrepreneurship is about creativity and the spirit of innovation, not simply equity ownership. As a result, it is usefully applied by anyone who wishes to broaden the scope of their professional lives. Thus, the inclusiveness of our approach has probably helped generate support for entrepreneurism here at MWU-CPG."
When asked if the very strong salaries available to young staff pharmacists may dampen then interest in assuming the responsibility of ownership, the MWU professors reported they felt the high debt load many students now face upon graduation may have the more chilling effect. The MWU professors also said they felt most students "do not recognize either the level of commitment that ownership requires (cost) nor the autonomy that is enjoyed by independent community pharmacists in how they live their professional lives (benefits). These are considerations that we attempt communicate clearly and realistically in our curriculum," they responded.
Midwestern's program is self-funded for now, but is considering corporate support.
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