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Raabe College of Pharmacy under probation after failing to meet ACPE standards

ONU's Raabe College of Pharmacy is currently classified as "accredited with probation" by the ACPE because they failed to meet standards associated with their IPPE curriculum. (Northern Review photo/ Grant Pepper)

Ohio Northern's Raabe College of Pharmacy, which boasts a 99 percent job placement rate and has been named a “Top 2 Midwest College” by U.S. News & World Report, was notified on Feb. 1 by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) that their accredited status would be changed to “accredited with probation” until they made changes to certain curriculum requirements, Dean of the College of Pharmacy Steve Martin said on Thursday.

This is the first time that the pharmacy college has gone under probation, according to data on the ACPE’s website.

The ACPE, who is recognized by the U.S. Department on Education as the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy, placed the Raabe College of Pharmacy on probation for their “partial or non-compliance with Standard 12,” according to an ONU press release about the status change.

Standard 12, under ACPE legislation, deals with the Pre-Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (Pre-APPE) program, which is applied in ONU’s Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) curriculum. This curriculum is aimed to give students a certain number of hours of practice-related activity and for it to be delivered in a variety of different ways.

When the ACPE changed the hour standards for the curriculum in 2016, ONU submitted their new plan to adapt to the changes. The ACPE accepted their plan, Martin said, but asked that the experiences be implemented sooner than ONU had planned.

“They wrote back to us and said that the plan is fine, but we have to implement those more rapidly,” Martin said.

The ACPE wanted ONU’s current P4 and P5 students to have some of the new experiences, while ONU had planned on the current P3 class having them. At that point, the board “has lots of things it can do,” Martin said. They chose to place ONU’s college on probation until they implemented those new experiences for the P4 and P5 students.

Martin said that the college has already identified a plan that will allow them to meet those requirements and that the plan will be flexible and student-friendly. At the beginning of their senior year, before rotations, students will take a couple of weeks to have additional IPPE experiences. Martin said that he has already been in communications with the ACPE and that this change should fix the problem.

However, the ACPE board only meets twice a year and will not meet again until June. This means that even though the new plan might seem acceptable today, ONU will not be certain of its validity until their accreditation status is examined again in four months. Martin is confident that this plan will pass, however, thereby allowing the college's current probationary status to be lifted.

“We’re confident that the ACPE will find us fully compliant with the standards and remove that probation language,” Martin said.

Because the board does not meet again until June, however, ONU will have to bear probationary status until at least that time.

Despite the change in status, Martin believes that the reputation of ONU’s pharmacy college will supersede any negative attention pertaining to the situation

“Certainly, we wish that we didn’t have to wear that probation badge for the next four and a half months,” Martin said. “But truly, it has no impact at all on what we do here. I think we still provide an outstanding experience that exceeds most colleges of pharmacy in the country.”

Martin also noted that the probation occurred because of a glitch in a relatively minor aspect of the college’s total curriculum, and pointed to the graduates visiting campus on Thursday -- namely Brian Douglas Hoey, chief executive officer of the National Community Pharmacists Association, who gave a lecture to pharmacy students -- as a testament to the college’s historic reputation.

“I think it does nothing,” Martin said of the newly acquired probationary status. “We have an outstanding college, we’ve been in business 134 years. All you have to do is look at some of the graduates we had on campus today and you see the amazing outcomes that we have.”

Martin said that he spoke with faculty and staff about the accreditation status change earlier this week and that he plans to inform all pharmacy students of the issue in the coming days.

The Raabe College of Pharmacy is now one of just three pharmacy colleges in the United States to be “accredited with probation,” according to the ACPE’s website. There are 141 colleges listed on the site, including seven in Ohio. Of the seven pharmacy colleges in Ohio, ONU’s is the only one currently under probation.