The University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, the public flagship university of the state and one of the world’s preeminent research universities, seeks a Dean for the College of Pharmacy to provide overarching leadership in pharmacy education, research, and clinical practice.

Since 1876, the nation’s first College of Pharmacy (CoP) at a public university has been a pioneer and recognized leader in pharmacy education and scientific research. The college benefits from being a relatively small and tightly-knit community with access to the rich resources of a world-renowned university and health system. With 19 top-ranked schools and colleges and annual research expenditures of $1.62 billion, U-M's research capabilities and accomplishments span nearly every field of science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, and the humanities. Michigan Medicine includes the top ranked hospitals in Michigan which are also some of the most prestigious in the U.S. The CoP and its PharmD and PhD programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation; the CoP ranks 3rd on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best pharmacy schools in the U.S. The CoP’s PharmD curriculum employs innovative teaching approaches such as team-based learning and recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized Michigan Medicine’s clinical pharmacist managed hypertension control program as best in the nation. The team also received the 2021 Pinnacle Award from the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.

The successful dean candidate will have a thorough understanding of the dynamic healthcare and higher education environments, and implications for the future of education, research and pharmacy practice. The dean will have a track record of meritorious research, be a seasoned leader with experience at an academic institution who will work closely with faculty, staff, and administrators to foster excellence in teaching and learning; research and scholarship; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); and outreach and service. The dean will be a person of the highest integrity with a collegial style that engenders trust and will have exemplary communication skills. Applicants must have a PharmD and/or PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in a discipline consistent with the overall mission of the CoP.

The dean will be expected to further elevate an exceptional CoP as it moves into its next chapter and into a new state-of-the-art physical space. The next dean will oversee the development of and transition to a new building which will be transformative for the college. The college has made a serious commitment to advancing DEI; these efforts will be well supported by the dean who will further the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty to better reflect the college’s student body. The dean will nurture strategic alliances across the university and with Michigan Medicine to support innovative collaborative research, educational, and pharmacy practice opportunities for faculty and students. The dean will also play a critical role in increasing the visibility of, and support for, the college within the university and beyond. 

The University of Michigan has retained Isaacson, Miller, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Inquiries, nominations, CVs and cover letters will be treated confidentially and should be directed to the firm as indicated at the end of this document.


The University of Michigan has a long and distinguished history. It was founded in 1817, 20 years before the territory became a state and 45 years before the Morrill Act of 1862 established the modern, public land-grant university system. It was one of the first public universities in the nation, and throughout its 200-year history, it has maintained the highest levels of education, scholarship, and research. The university sustains top programs in the arts and humanities, social sciences, biomedical sciences, business, law, and engineering, and is the home of one of the largest and most distinguished academic medical centers in the world. The main campus is located in Ann Arbor, 35 miles southwest of Detroit, with regional campuses located in Dearborn and Flint. Today, the university has one of the largest alumni networks, with over 640,000 total alumni around the globe.

The university has grown to include 19 schools and colleges on the Ann Arbor campus covering the liberal arts and sciences as well as most professions. The Fall 2021 enrollment of undergraduate, graduate and professional students surpassed 50,000 for the first time in the university’s history. Based on the Fall 2020 count, the university has 3,202 tenured or tenure-track faculty. Lecturers, clinical faculty, research professors, librarians, and archivists add 4,465 to the Ann Arbor campus academic staff.

U-M has a total FY2022 budget of $10.7 billion which includes operating revenues from state appropriation, tuition, research grants and contracts, gifts, and other sources reaching $4.7 billion for the Ann Arbor campus, with the Michigan Medicine revenues adding $5.7 billion. In addition, the university has an endowment of $12.5 billion, among the largest in the nation.

U-M has ranked No. 1 in research volume among public universities for nine consecutive years, with total research expenditures at over $1.62 billion for the fiscal year 2020. No other public university spends more on research, which makes it possible for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research experiences.


Pharmacy was first taught at the U-M in 1868 in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. A School of Pharmacy was established in 1876, the first in a U.S. state university and one of the first in the nation. In 1916 the School was renamed the College of Pharmacy and is today an integral part of the world-renowned U-M Hospitals and Health System. The CoP is located on the central Ann Arbor campus, minutes from a major life science institute, a top-ranked teaching hospital and medical center, and a comprehensive range of nationally-ranked schools, college departments, and institutes.

  • Mission of the College of Pharmacy

    The mission of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy is to prepare students to become pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who are leaders in any setting. The college provides a quality education that effectively integrates critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills. Research in the pharmaceutical, social and clinical sciences and its translation into health care is a key component of our mission. The college achieves its mission by striving for excellence in education, service and research, all directed toward enhancing the health and quality of life of the people of the state of Michigan, the nation and the international community.

    The 2018 strategic plan outlines how the CoP seeks to advance innovative and collaborative research; create and sustain educational and career development programs; expand and enhance infrastructure and educational offerings; and embed the values of DEI in all aspects and functions of the U-M CoP. In fulfillment of this strategic plan, the CoP has reinstated its bachelor’s program, started a master’s program in Integrated Pharmaceutical Sciences, secured promise of a new building from the university, and implemented a five-year DEI strategic plan.

  • Faculty and Staff

    The CoP community includes 165 employees, including 34 tenure track faculty, 30 clinical faculty, and 78 staff. The college is organized into three departments: Clinical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The CoP faculty are highly collaborative both within and outside of the college. Their research spans the entire spectrum of drug development from discovery to clinical testing to implementation. Staff are known for their teamwork and innovative approaches to safety, processes, and communication.

  • Educational Programs

    The CoP offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Master of Science in Integrated Pharmaceutical Sciences, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences, as well as post-doctorate opportunities in all departments. The average annual enrollment in the PharmD Program is 335 and in the PhD programs, is 85. A component of the PharmD curriculum is the requirement of students to complete a research project, a unique feature of the U-M CoP. Experiential learning comprises 30% of the PharmD curriculum; students rotate through a range of settings that include hospitals, community pharmacies, chain pharmacies, industry, and the FDA. The college has been continuously and fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) since 1949 with the most recent visit being in 2020.  

  • Finances

    The CoP is in solid financial standing with a FY 2022 general fund budget of $21.1 million. The college’s endowment is $163 million. The financial aid program of the CoP is the best of any pharmacy school in the U.S. and has awarded between two and three million dollars in direct student support for each of the past four years.

  • Alumni, Development and Community Outreach

    The CoP’s 4,000 alumni provide a rich network for student mentorship and support. An Alumni Board of Governors and the Dean’s Advisory Committee, consisting of leading industry, academic, and government officials, provide guidance on curriculum and strategic direction for the college.


Reporting directly to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of the U-M, the dean will work in close collaboration with senior officers of the university and the deans of the other 18 schools and colleges. The deans of the health sciences schools serve together on the Health Sciences Council and generate linkages across the health sciences, including management of the Center for Interprofessional Education which supports integrated multi-disciplinary models for health-related education, research, and clinical practice.    

The dean oversees a senior associate dean, two associate deans, three department chairs, and four assistant deans. Additional direct reports include the Chief Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and directors of Pharmacy Advancement & External Relations, and Administration.

The most competitive candidates for the Dean of the College of Pharmacy should possess the ability and experience to successfully address the opportunities listed below:

  • Balance Culture with Growth

    The CoP’s culture is defined by collaboration, collegiality, transparency in communication, and close relationships between faculty, staff, and students. Notably, the college faculty are tightly linked across tenure, clinical, and research faculty lines; indeed faculty voted to include clinical and research professor track faculty as governing faculty over ten years ago. Students are well supported, including holistic support for Doctor of Pharmacy students through a Pharmacy Phamily: starting in their P1 year, students join a “Phamily” that includes P2, P3, and P4 students along with a faculty member who provides mentoring, advice, and social outings.

    In the face of an increasing number of pharmacy colleges and a declining number of applicants nationwide, the incoming dean will work to bolster the student pipeline by elevating the college on the national stage through marketing and promotion, while carefully guarding the college’s cherished culture. The CoP is also keenly focused on increasing the diversity of the profession, by attracting more students and faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in pharmacy and ensuring that all members of the college community feel welcomed and supported. As the CoP considers possible future growth, the next dean will need to work to preserve the special cultural aspects of the college and secure adequate faculty, infrastructure, and clinical placements to support this growth.

  • Oversee the Transition to a New Building

    In May 2019, the CoP received a commitment from the university to build a $121 million, 130,000 square foot building on central campus minutes away from the medical center. This transformative space will include flexible, active learning-style classrooms and laboratories, along with associated support spaces, faculty and administrative offices, and student-focused gathering areas. Additionally, the new building will allow for limited growth in entering class sizes while maintaining the rigorous curriculum and research opportunities. Construction was planned to begin in 2020 but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new building project is now underway, first with a reevaluation of costs and a reconsideration of design, based on recent lessons learned from and new realities that have arisen during the pandemic. 

    The college’s original contribution to the building has been paid. The incoming dean will oversee any changes to the scope of the project and related fundraising, the actual construction, and the move into the new building, which is now anticipated for Fall 2025.

  • Champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

    U-M is committed to DEI. Implementation of its DEI strategic plan and progress on that plan is documented each year in the annual Progress Report. In alignment with this work, the CoP is wrapping up its first five-year DEI plan and is in the assessment phase this year. The college, through efforts guided by its Chief Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and others, has made significant progress. Underrepresented minorities comprise 9% of the PharmD and PhD student bodies, which are both majority women. The CoP is strengthening relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and has established a summer program for underrepresented minority students. Additionally, the college has created a reporting system, implemented universal implicit bias awareness training, and moved forward an anti-racism initiative to support students, faculty, and staff in difficult conversations about race. A curriculum review is ongoing to address inclusivity and how aspects of diversity appear in the curriculum. Next year, the CoP looks forward to preparing its next five-year DEI plan, to be championed by the incoming dean.

    It is essential that the dean is an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing DEI and is interested in advancing the CoP further in these efforts. This dean has the additional opportunity to have an impact nationally in the efforts to increase the diversity of students entering pharmacy schools and pharmacy faculty.

  • Support High-Impact Research and Clinical Discoveries

    The dean will work with college leadership and faculty to support the further advancement of high-impact research and clinical discoveries, in line with U-M’s goal as a major public research university. The CoP has an incredibly talented faculty, many of whom are prominent scientists and clinicians, with access to excellent research facilities and technology. The next dean will bring significant experience in supporting the growth of research and expansion of clinical discoveries and will work to cultivate opportunities for students to be engaged in these activities through partnerships across campus and with industry. There are unique collaborative and funding opportunities across campus; the dean will support faculty in pursuing these funds and ultimately getting products into the field that make a real difference.  

  • Cultivate Linkages and Collaborations

    The CoP is a high-functioning and nimble unit within a large highly ranked university that includes a world-class medical center. This setting offers numerous opportunities for partnership. Collaboration across the university is valued and encouraged by the provost. The deans across the university and within the health sciences are collegial and sustain a long list of collaborative activities across their units. The next dean will be a leader who prioritizes collaboration and seeks to develop more strategic alliances for the college. Innovative partnerships with industry and community engagement are areas of potential collaborative growth for the incoming dean to explore and develop.

  • Promote and Advocate for the College

    There are opportunities to broadcast the groundbreaking work of the CoP and its faculty more prominently. The college is one of the smaller units at the university. There are opportunities to increase promotion of the college, and to increase awareness of the college’s programs in certain regions of the country. The next dean will play an important role in increasing the visibility of the college on campus and nationally.

    Similarly, the dean will advocate for the needs of faculty and students at the university level and beyond, with donors and national organizations. Due to the support of generous alumni and friends and thriving research programs, the CoP has been able to award more than two million dollars in direct student support each year for the past four years. There is further potential for engaging faculty in the promotion of their work, clinical advancements and research findings, particularly with alumni, donors, and industry.


Applicants must have a PharmD and/or PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in a discipline consistent with the overall mission of the CoP. Furthermore, the applicant’s research credentials must merit an appointment at the rank of full professor with tenure at the University of Michigan. The following qualifications represent the broad set of skills and personal attributes deemed important for success as the next Dean of the College of Pharmacy. While no candidate will embody every quality, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal assets:

  • A visionary and strategic leader who can advance the standing of the CoP and position it for continued success;
  • Experience at a research-intensive academic institution, conducting research and/or guiding others in growing their research programs;
  • Evidence of effective management of an organization’s capital and fiscal resources; 
  • A proven track record in leading successful fundraising and philanthropy;
  • An understanding of the clinical practice of pharmacy;
  • Empathetic and impartial listener;
  • A transparent communicator who builds consensus and conveys clear direction;
  • Proactive promoter and champion of DEI;
  • An advocate for the college within the university among other health science deans, and with external communities, including alumni, donors, prospective students, and national pharmacy associations;
  • An innovative thinker who will support collaborations across colleges within the university and with industry partners;
  • Ability to recognize, recruit, and retain talent;
  • Ability to develop and communicate a vision for the future of pharmacy.


The University of Michigan has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist the Dean of the College of Pharmacy Search Advisory Committee in its identification and review of candidates. Inquiries, nominations, CVs and cover letters should be submitted in confidence to:

Natalie Leonhard, Partner
Amy Segal, Partner
Stephanie Leong, Senior Associate
Olivia Correll, Search Coordinator

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic university community committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. Potential applicants who share this goal are encouraged to apply.

Listing Row

Friday, October 15, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021