Traditionally, 10-year anniversaries are recognized with gifts made from aluminum or tin, which symbolize strength and resilience. A more modern approach is a gift of diamonds, which represents durability.
Dr. Michael Bartlett (left) and Dr. Svein Øie (right)
While the 10-year celebration of the College of Pharmacy’s Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) does not require gifts, the descriptors are aptly representative of the program that has evolved. This evolution can be directly attributed to the commitment and perseverance of college leaders and faculty who value the importance of an undergraduate education in pharmaceutical sciences.
Dr. Svein Øie, the brainchild behind establishing the CoP BSPS program and the College of Pharmacy Dean from 2000-2018, began discussions with Dr. Michael Bartlett, University Professor and Associate Dean for Science Education, Research and Technology, in the fall of 2010. Dr. Bartlett worked diligently and collaboratively to develop the curriculum and assemble faculty, and the first class was held in the fall of 2013. Dr. Øie intended that the B.S. degree would recapture that part of pharmacy that dealt with the discovery, development, preparation, and quality assurance of medications which was de-emphasized when pharmacy transitioned to the all PharmD prgram. The BS program, therefore, allows the College to offer the full range of pharmacy education whether at the undergraduate, professional or graduate levels. Students who earn the BSPS degree, which is housed in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences at the College, gain an understanding of how drugs are researched and developed; how pharmaceuticals interact with the human body; how dosages are formulated, manufactured, and tested; and how the basic sciences play a role in the development of modern therapeutics. Since the program’s inception, 180 UGA students have graduated with the degree. Post-graduate options include careers in industry or pursuits of advanced degrees. According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, the job outlook in Pharmaceutical Science is “very good” with salaries averaging $104-120,000.
Currently, Dr. Gurvinder Singh Rekhi is the director of the BSPS. Though many CoP faculty members teach in the program, lead instructors include Dr. Deborah Elder, Professor and Interim Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate and Professional Education, Dr. Wided Missaoui, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Rekhi. Leslie Standridge is the program’s advisor.
According to Dr. Bartlett, “Our graduates have been able to use this undergraduate education to pursue many different opportunities, so it has demonstrated itself to be a versatile degree. About 60% of our graduates go on to graduate or professional schools. We have had students pursue almost every biomedical program possible with our strong pedagogy in pharmaceutical sciences.”
He continued, “The other 40% have gone directly into industry. There is a robust and growing pharmaceutical and biotechnology presence in Georgia, and our program has become a key supplier of employees to these companies. Our students are much better prepared to support drug discovery and development as compared to any other degree. The teaching lab that we have is organized to provide our students with hands on experience in drug development that is simply not found anywhere else.”