Q&A with Interim Dean Bruce Mueller
U-M Pharmacy: What are your immediate priorities for your term as interim dean of the College of Pharmacy?
Dean Mueller: My first priorities are to continue our safe and measured research re-engagement efforts and ensure that we have an effective fall semester for all of our students. I’m proud that the College has led the way in the University’s first two research re-engagement pilot waves. We will continue to enact health and safety protocols that allow our researchers to resume their vital work.
The College’s faculty and staff have spent the last months making ensuring that we will deliver an outstanding fall semester for our students. We’ve come up with tactics to preserve the sense of community our students are used to and have adapted our curricula to fit a variety of formats. No matter what the fall brings, U-M Pharmacy students can expect a personal, world-class education from the leaders and best.
U-M Pharmacy: What is the College doing to keep students safe this fall?
Dean Mueller: The fall semester will look and feel very different due to the challenges of COVID-19, and will bring with it new protocols and strategies that are necessary to keep our community safe.
The University's Maize and Blueprint website provides comprehensive information about the implementation plan, guiding principles and status. It will be updated regularly as more details are finalized.
I want to stress that major changes in conditions could mean a need to adjust parts of our plan. We will remain agile and ready to adapt as circumstances change.
U-M Pharmacy: What’s happening with the College’s new building?
Dean Mueller: The start of construction is delayed, but the Provost assures us that the new building is a high priority and when the University gets its arms around all of the back to campus issues, we will resume with a thorough project review and go before the Regents for final approval. At that point, the construction process will begin. In addition, we were briefed that site preparation will begin shortly.
U-M Pharmacy: What is the College doing to address diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Dean Mueller: As is true for all schools and colleges at Michigan, we have a five-year diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan, and we have made substantial progress in achieving the objectives and action items we set forth in creating the plan. This is the last year of the plan, and we are already beginning to create our next five-year plan. These efforts reflect the strength of the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and to being a leader in this among all pharmacy schools.
We are particularly proud of our Pharmacy Scholars Program, which this year was completely virtual! This program prepares students to apply to pharmacy school and exposes them to the field of pharmacy.
We are committed to an inclusive and equitable climate, and regularly evaluate our climate and address issues and concerns that the survey reveals.
U-M Pharmacy: What is the process for hiring a permanent dean of the College?
Dean Mueller: Interim Provost Susan Collins will assemble a search committee and institute a national search process. My goal is to keep moving the College forward so that when the new dean is named, they will already have great momentum.
U-M Pharmacy: How can alumni help you meet your immediate priorities for the College?
Dean Mueller: Alumni are a tremendous part of what makes a Michigan Pharmacy education special. The student experience would not be the same without their continued support. I ask that alumni let us know about internship and job opportunities, mentor a student, serve as a preceptor, and consider supporting our safe return to campus through a donation.
Dean Mueller: Like many students, I enjoyed biology and chemistry and tried to find careers that would be a match. I narrowed it down to pharmacy or becoming a fisheries biologist or game warden because I enjoy the outdoors. I suppose that instead of a white coat on my job I could be wearing waders!
U-M Pharmacy: What is the first thing you plan to do post-COVID?
Dean Mueller: Visit my family in Wisconsin. We have a very close family and while video meetings are nice, they don’t replace hugs and home cooking!
U-M Pharmacy: We understand you have a lifelong love of fishing. What’s your most memorable fish?
Dean Mueller: When I moved to Michigan, I actually started fishing on the professional walleye fishing circuit for a couple of years. My fishing partner, Wayne Van Dyke, was the better fisherman of the two of us. Wayne and I fished all over the Midwest in tournaments and did pretty well, even winning the 2012 state championship. The first tournament I won was on the Detroit River in 2010 where I caught an 8.5-pound walleye with only minutes left on the last day. We won by a few ounces!