LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will begin a search for a new dean of the School of Pharmacy. Kenneth Audus has announced he will not seek reappointment at the conclusion of his current term, which ends in June 2019.
“We are so appreciative of the work Ken has done for the university, the school, and really, the people of the state of Kansas,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “He’s been at the forefront of efforts that created meaningful change in access for individuals in rural Kansas while also working to advance the profile of the school as both a leader in pharmacy education and research.”
Audus, who has been a member of the KU faculty since 1986, began his tenure as dean in 2004. He previously served as chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, a position he held since 1998. Audus earned his Pharm.D. from KU and also held a postdoctoral position here.
When he started as dean, about 40 percent of pharmacists in Kansas were over 50 years of age. There was also a nationwide pharmacist shortage. Kansas needed more pharmacists and needed more graduating pharmacists to seek jobs in rural areas.
Audus and his administration began a grass-roots effort to build support among working pharmacists in Kansas to expand the KU Pharm.D. program. The state’s pharmacists contacted their legislators and worked alongside the school to secure state funding for a new building at KU’s Lawrence campus and creation of a satellite campus in Wichita.
The new building allowed the program to expand from 105 Pharm.D. students per year to a maximum of 170 students a year. The satellite campus in Wichita allowed for 20 of those students from each class to be housed there. The Wichita campus also allowed the school to more successfully recruit students from rural areas of the state with the idea that upon graduation, many of them would seek employment in or near their hometowns.
The strategy worked. When the new pharmacy building opened in Lawrence in 2010, six rural counties had no pharmacy. Today, only two rural counties, Chase and Wabaunsee, are without a pharmacy.
Recent accolades for the school also include success in research and among the students. The school is currently ranked fourth in the nation for research funding through the National Institutes of Health. The 2018 graduating class also posted a 100 percent pass rate on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam.
Lejuez has sought volunteers and nominations for members on a search committee to guide the selection of the next dean of pharmacy. He has asked Michael Branicky, professor of electrical engineering & computer science and past dean of the School of Engineering, to lead the committee. The group will soon begin meeting to refine the position description and identify opportunities to recruit candidates to apply for the dean of pharmacy position. Members of the committee:
Dean of Pharmacy Search Committee
- Michael Branicky, committee chair, professor of electrical engineering & computer science, School of Engineering
- Brian Barnes, associate dean of pharmacy, academic affairs
- Taylor Burch, alumnus, Eli Lilly & Company
- Jeff Chasen, associate vice provost, Office of Integrity & Compliance
- Rick Dobrowsky, professor of pharmacology & toxicology
- Bob Emerson, associate dean for the Wichita campus and clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, Wichita
- Joe Heidrick, assistant dean for experiential education
- Peter Kleindl, graduate student and graduate research assistant
- Jeff Krise, associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry
- Karen Moeller, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and vice chair for education, KU Medical Center
- Marily Rhudy, alumnus and executive vice president at The Conafay Group, Washington, D.C.
- Tiffany Shin, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, Wichita
- Linda Smith, undergraduate student, Wichita
- Val Stella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
- Barbara Timmermann, University Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
- Sandy Urish, administrative assistant, School of Pharmacy Dean's Office
- Jenny Mehmedovic, Provost Office support staff, Center for Faculty Development & Mentoring.