In 2014 the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) acted on the need for strategic development in the areas of research and education by creating an Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies position (ADR). . This position is held by David Ross, PhD, who also serves as the Chairman of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The SSPPS has a rich history with a strong record of research as it has been ranked in the top 3 for NIH funding per PhD faculty member of Schools of Pharmacy for the past 5 years. In 2014, it was ranked as 5th highest in NIH funding and in total grant funding by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
Within the first year, the ADR has created an advisory committee comprised of researchers from both Departments. Members are Rajesh Agarwal, David Bain, Anne Libby, John Carpenter, Jared Brown, Manisha Patel, Rob MacLaren, and Peter Anderson. Also created was a Director of Research Administration position held by Danae Booth which oversees all aspects of the research enterprise. With the oversight of the advisory committee, the ADR has put into place a seed grant program, small equipment grants, and funds for sabbatical leave and visiting scientists. An inaugural school-wide research retreat was held in August to stimulate cross-departmental collaboration with the goal of increased translational research by the school.
Another initiative that the ADR has undertaken is to develop a research mentoring program for the school. Starting in January 2015, all junior faculty members will be assigned a junior level (from another department) and senior level (from their own department) mentor. Expectations are that, at a minimum, quarterly meetings will occur and that a document will be included with the annual performance review of the mentee which describes the outcomes of the year’s meetings. In addition to the mentoring program, a new monthly Research Strategies workshop will go into effect in October. The workshops will address technical writing skills needed for grant and article submissions. Grantees will also have the opportunities to have a writing professional to review grant proposals prior to submission for specific feedback.