Sue Warrick Doederlein
by Tom Parisi
Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago have reached an agreement that will guarantee admission of talented NIU students into the UIC College of Pharmacy, one of the nation’s premier pharmacy programs.
The degree-affiliation agreement is believed to be the first of its kind at NIU. Under the program, which will first appear in the 2009-2010 catalog, 10 places will be reserved each year for qualifying NIU students seeking admission to the UIC College of Pharmacy.
Established in 1859, the UIC College of Pharmacy stands as the oldest academic unit of the University of Illinois. The college is ranked among the nation’s top pharmacy programs (including by U.S. News and World Report) for scholarship, curriculum and the quality of faculty and students.
“This agreement truly represents a win-win for both universities,” NIU Provost Raymond Alden III said. “It helps both institutions cement their relationship and will allow NIU to recruit top students who from an early stage have their sights set on entering a highly desirable professional program. UIC’s College of Pharmacy is among the nation’s very best.”
UIC officials are equally excited to be working with NIU.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with Northern Illinois University with the purpose of training exceptional pharmacists for the state,” said Jerry Bauman, dean of UIC’s College of Pharmacy. “It is a great example of how public universities can cooperate in educational programs, and I hope it may serve as a template for others.”
Qualifying NIU students will be able to choose between the UIC pharmacy programs in Chicago or Rockford. In direct response to the continuing shortage of pharmacists in Illinois, the UIC College of Pharmacy recently created its Rockford regional program. The first students will be admitted there in 2010.
"This partnership should complement our new regional program in Rockford, where NIU students can track directly into the PharmD (doctor of pharmacy) program there, or the Chicago campus if they choose,” Bauman said.
Details of the new agreement between the two universities continue to be fine-tuned, but UIC will provide a program liaison on the NIU campus to guide students pursuing admission to the College of Pharmacy.
“NIU students will have opportunities to meet and interact with faculty and staff members in the UIC College of Pharmacy,” said Sue Warrick Doederlein, associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LA&S).
“We’ve been delighted in the past with the success of our pre-pharmacy students who choose and who are chosen by the UIC College of Pharmacy. This agreement further enhances that success,” Doederlein added. “I think it’s fair to say this will make NIU an institution of real choice for students who want to do their pre-pharmacy education at a state university.”
NIU students seeking to take part in the UIC College of Pharmacy program will be required to meet academic and extracurricular qualifications.
They will enter the affiliation program after completing three semesters of full-time coursework at NIU and an onsite interview at UIC. Students then must meet all academic requirements to be retained in the program, complete a bachelor’s degree at NIU within five years and take the Pharmacy College Admission Test before being accepted into the UIC College of Pharmacy.
Students seeking more information should contact the LA&S advising office at (815) 753-0114.
NIU currently offers a pre-pharmacy curriculum, typically sought out by students majoring in biology, chemistry or health sciences. The curriculum allows students to meet pre-pharmacy requirements for most graduate programs.
“NIU students can still pursue the traditional route, but in addition to that, a select number will have a more assured pathway into UIC’s program, as long as they meet the requirements,” said Ken Gasser, an NIU biological sciences professor and LA&S pre-professional adviser for biomedical programs.
“We’ve been successful in sending NIU students to pharmacy programs,” Gasser said. “This will enhance our efforts and our recruiting.”
Provost Alden added that he hopes to duplicate the degree-affiliation format in other academic areas.
“We’ll look for other opportunities,” he said. “We can use the pharmacy program as a model for future arrangements with other professional schools.”