School of Pharmacy introduces new dean and associate dean
William “Billy” Hughes, PhD (left), new dean, and Eric J. Mack, PhD, new associate dean for academic affairs, have been asked to lead the LLU School of Pharmacy.
Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy graduated its first PharmD class this past May.
Now the School is poised to enter a new growth phase as it becomes an established school among nearly 100 schools of pharmacy nationwide, the second Seventh-day Adventist school of pharmacy in the world and the first in the United States, and an integral part of the Loma Linda University campus.
To help in this process, a new dean and associate dean for academic affairs were recently named and have assumed leadership.
Taking on the role of new dean is W. William Hughes, PhD, who was most recently director of educational support services for Loma Linda University. Dr. Hughes is also a professor in the School of Science and Technology and associate professor in the School of Medicine.
Eric J. Mack, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will provide new leadership as associate dean for academic affairs for the School.
“The first thing we want to do,” says Dr. Hughes, “is to thank Dr. [Avis] Ericson [former administrative dean] for her efforts in starting a new school, recruiting a strong faculty, and building a curriculum in a very short timeframe.”
Drs. Hughes and Mack believe her efforts were critical in bringing the School to this important point in its development.
“We’re now in the process of maturing a strong infrastructure for the School,” Dr. Hughes explains, “which will sustain it through the coming years.”
Initiatives include the following: begin a dialogue with the Faculty of Graduate Studies to create a PhD program in pharmaceutical sciences; collaborate with the LLU School of Medicine in developing a Center for Drug Discovery and Development; develop an important role in disaster preparedness on campus; cooperate with student services to establish relationships and programs aimed toward recruiting Adventist students; and foster an active retention program.
“We’re rapidly moving to create more student scholarships,” Dr. Hughes continues. “We’ve brought in a full-time development and major gifts officer for that reason.”
Jim Pinder, MBA, recently joined the School of Pharmacy staff in that capacity.
Department chairs and program directors have been given new responsibilities that include budgetary oversight and curriculum development for their areas.
The possibilities of creating dual degree programs with other Schools on campus will be explored, as well as a variety of other collaborative efforts including research and teaching.
In the area of recruitment, Drs. Hughes and Mack see a need for early career education aimed at elementary and high school students about the role of pharmacy.
“We’re finding that many of our pharmacy students choose the field as first-year undergraduates,” Dr. Mack points out. “You may hear students say they want to be a doctor, nurse, or dentist, but I doubt you will hear very many of them at an early age say they want to be a pharmacist.”
In the School of Pharmacy, one important area for growth Dr. Hughes recognizes is “building bridges with other educational institutions and communities.
“For instance,” he elaborates, “we need to work closely with our fellow Adventist colleges, as well as educational institutions in Southern California, to create a natural and logical progression from their preprofessional programs to the LLU School of Pharmacy.”
Dr. Hughes also would like to see more residency and fellowship opportunities established with local entities, such as Loma Linda University Medical Center and other medical facilities in the surrounding communities.
Finally, Dr. Hughes would like to give praise to the students and faculty of the LLU School of Pharmacy.
“Our students and faculty have weathered the changes in the School with understanding, support, and excellence,” he concludes. “My thanks to everyone.”
Dr. Hughes graduated from Loma Linda University with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1973. In 1974, he completed a master’s degree in biological sciences from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California. He returned to LLU and graduated with a PhD in biological sciences in 1978.
The following year he spent as a postdoctoral research associate in the department of geophysics, School of Physics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in Great Britain. From 1979 to 1991, he rose from assistant to full professor of biology at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Since 1991, he has served as associate professor of pathology and human anatomy for the LLU School of Medicine.
Beginning in 1992 and continuing until the present, Dr. Hughes has been an adjunct professor, teaching environmental toxicology in the environmental studies program for the University of California–Extension, Riverside.
From 1993 to 2002, he served in multiple roles for the LLU School of Allied Health Professions—as program director for off-campus programs and basic science education, as well as professor of basic science and associate dean.
From 2002 to 2004, Dr. Hughes was dean of science and mathematics for Valley College, in San Bernardino. From there, he returned to LLU to become director of educational support services.
Eric J. Mack, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has been at Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy since 2004.
A native of Portland, Maine, Dr. Mack received his bachelor of science in pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island, and his PhD in pharmaceutics from The University of Utah.
He has held faculty positions at the University of Houston; Northeastern University, in Boston; and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Pharmacy, also in Boston.
Dr. Mack has been a licensed practicing community pharmacist and is a strong advocate for community pharmacy. He currently serves as liaison for the board of the Inland Empire Pharmacists Association, the local chapter of the California Pharmacists Association.
He is chair-elect for the student services personnel special interest group of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
Dr. Mack’s research interests include novel drug delivery systems, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and the scholarship of teaching.
By Larry S. Kidder, MA