Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. and Oluwaranti “Ranti” Akiyode, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy at Howard University
Higher Ed

Kean University and Howard University Partner on Pharmacy Doctorate Pathway

Kean University students now have a faster path to earning a doctoral degree in pharmacy under a new dual degree agreement with Howard University that is designed to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to enter the healthcare field.

Signed this week during Kean’s ongoing Black History Month celebrations, the accelerated degree program provides qualified students at Kean the opportunity to begin studying at Howard, one of the nation’s most prestigious historically Black research universities, during their senior year.

Ultimately, participating Kean students will obtain both a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Kean and a Doctorate of Pharmacy, or Pharm. D., from Howard in Washington, D.C. in seven years, one year faster than through traditional pharmacy academic programs.

“This landmark agreement with one of the preeminent historically Black universities in the nation is a momentous step in fulfilling Kean’s mission as New Jersey’s urban research university,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “It will bring students from diverse backgrounds into this critical field. As a minority-serving institution, Kean shares profound similarities and deep-rooted values with Howard. We look forward to learning from this partnership and are committed to strategically aligning with other institutions to optimally support and elevate our students’ experiences and opportunities.”

Representatives of Howard are expected to visit Kean in April to begin recruiting students for the program.

Kean Board of Trustees Member Bertha Little-Mathews, a community organizer in Union, emphasized the profound impact of the agreement on Kean students and their communities.

“Kean is not just continuing, but significantly advancing its crucial role in promoting equity, while also reinforcing its position as an anchor institution for Union County and beyond,” Little-Mathews said. “We are already seeing the strong community impact of Kean’s transformation as a research institution and look forward to seeing it grow even further in the years to come.”

Under the articulation agreement, Kean students in the chemistry program can apply for the program in their sophomore year. Once admitted, they’ll enroll in the first year of pharmacy school at Howard during their senior year at Kean.

After successful completion of their first year at Howard, Kean will accept the Howard credits and award the student a B.A. in chemistry. Students will then progress through Howard’s Pharm. D. program, and receive their Pharm. D. degree after successfully completing the requirements.

Kean University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Birdsell, Ph.D., highlighted the exceptional opportunity presented by the agreement, noting that it not only paves a pathway to a career in pharmacy but also offers Kean students the privilege of experiencing one of the nation’s most distinguished Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“As Kean ascends to new heights as a research institution, our commitment is not just to identify, but to forge partnerships that provide unparalleled benefits for both our students and our researchers,” Birdsell said. “This program is a pioneering initiative that will undoubtedly set a benchmark for future collaborations.”

Keith Bostian Ph.D., associate provost for science and technology at Kean, lauded Howard’s Pharm.D. program as exemplary in its field and said there will be stringent admission criteria, including a minimum GPA as well as testing and interview requirements.

“We are excited by this addition to our science and professional program offerings at Kean,” Bostian said. “Admission to this program is not merely rigorous; it is exceptionally selective, reflecting the immense value and unparalleled opportunity it presents to our students.”

Heather Stokes-Huby, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Chemistry and Physics in the Dorothy and George Hennings College of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Kean, said student feedback to the concept so far has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“A lot of students want to enroll in pharmacy school, and this program cuts a year off the expected time from college enrollment to earning the Pharm. D.,” she said. “The agreement broadens the array of science careers available to Kean students, and demonstrates Kean’s dedication to its students’ success.”

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