Navigating the Path to Careers in Academic Pharmacy Administration

Brian L. Erstad, Sharon L. Youmans, M. Lynn Crismon

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this commentary is to discuss the qualifications, responsibilities, and keys to success for pharmacy faculty considering a department (or division) chair (head) or dean (including assistant or associate dean) position. The perspectives are those of a department chair, vice dean, and past dean of colleges of pharmacy with extensive experience in pharmacy administration. The qualifications for these administrative positions vary by institution, particularly with respect to the institution's focus on research. Because the dean is the chief executive officer of a college of pharmacy, previous administrative experience is almost always a basic requirement for the position. For associate/assistant deans and department chairs, previous experience as a faculty member is a typical minimum requirement and may include experience as a department vice chair or director of a unit within the department or division. The dean has a fiduciary duty to university administration, as well as to other external and internal stakeholders, to educate and graduate competent pharmacists and to operate within budget. Associate/assistant deans often have responsibility for specific functions of the college, such as student or professional affairs, and it is common for deans to delegate authority, responsibility, and accountability to associate/assistant deans. Department chairs have a unique perspective with respect to college activities because they must not only think about the “big picture” when considering issues with other college administrators but must oversee the implementation and monitoring of strategic initiatives through the faculty and staff who report to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100046
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Administration
  • Faculty
  • Leadership
  • Pharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacy


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