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Three pharmacy faculty to leave Wilkes this summer

16-Mar-2008: At the end of the spring semester, the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and Nursing at Wilkes University will lose three key faculty members in pharmacy.

After finals, Dr. Sheila Kang, assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice, will move to Chicago with her husband, who recently finished his fellowship at Geisinger Medical Center in Gastroenterology. Kang is currently negotiating a position with a school in Chicago.

Kang joined the Wilkes community in August 2005 and teaches the second half of the infectious diseases course. She also has an internal medicine clerkship rotation at Mercy Scranton Hospital.

"It's nice when you do a lot of mentoring and get to know [the students] as more than just students. Three years is definitely enough time to be able to develop a relationship with students in the class," said Kang. "I have no idea what kind of program I'm going to end up at when I get to Chicago, but I think the students that we have here are very professional and very mature. I think it'll be hard to find students like this again."

"She has been a great advisor over the years and has always been there when I needed someone to talk to. It didn't matter if it was about school or my personal life; she was always there with an open ear, and of course some helpful advice. Even just passing in the hallway, I always knew that I'd get a smile," said Nicolas Fisher, P3 pharmacy student.

Kang is the advisor to one-sixth of the pharmacy class of 2009. Her advisees called their team the Kangaroos. "The best way I can think of it, is that it is almost like losing a parent. She's always been there for our team, looking after us with a careful eye and making sure that we were getting through the program fine and taking time out from her busy schedule when we needed someone to talk to. And now that she's leaving, it will be hard to get the same relationship with our new advisor," said Fisher.

In addition to Kang's departure, on June 1, Dr. Nicole Culhane, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice, and Dr. Jim Culhane, associate professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will begin new careers with the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (COND), which is located four miles north of downtown Baltimore. At COND, they will assist newly appointed Dean, Dr. Anne Y. F. Lin in the process of bringing the new School of Pharmacy to life. Lin was the founding chair of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and Nursing at Wilkes University.

According to the COND website, the new School of Pharmacy "will be the first one established on the campus of a women's college in the United States." The school is currently seeking accredidation and hopes to welcome its first class in fall 2009.

The Culhanes were on board when Wilkes began developing its own School of Pharmacy in August 1997. Nicole is currently a practicing clinical pharmacist at Nesbitt Memorial Medical Center and also helped develop a post-doctoral pharmacy residency program with colleague Eric Wright. She was the recipient of The Outstanding Faculty Merit Award and the American Association of College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year two times each. At COND, Nicole will act as the Director of Experiential Education in the Department of pharmacy Practice.

"I'll miss a lot of things, especially my colleagues and students," said Nicole. "I will always look back at my time at Wilkes with fondness and gratitude."

Caitlin Flaherty, P3 pharmacy student, will be affected by the Culhanes' departure. "As my advisor, Dr. Nicole Culhane has offered much guidance and is someone I admire. Dr. James Culhane is a great professor. He has always made class an enjoyable experience. It will be very difficult to replace such great professors and mentors."

Dr. Jim Culhane departs Wilkes to assume the role of Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at COND. During his time at Wilkes, he received multiple awards, including the Carpenter Outstanding Teacher Award for the 2007-2008 year and the American Association of College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award three times.

"This is the job that I've always wanted to haveā€¦ You start off in a position, you grow and develop professionally and personally, and you get to a point when you realize you're ready for that next challenge and step," he explained. "I've always thought that I would always like to be chair of a department like this. The opportunity came when Dr. Lin called me and asked if I would be interestedā€¦ and I said 'absolutely.' It's an exciting opportunity for me to do this.

"Wilkes University Pharmacy school will not be the same without the Drs. Culhane. I have learned so much from them throughout my years here. Not only have they taught me valuable knowledge about topics pharmacy related but have been very instrumental in motivating me to do better and always push to do better. I will miss them very much but wish them well with all of their future endeavors," said Morgan Kuhns, P3 pharmacy student.

Eryn Briggs, P3 pharmacy student, agreed. "I feel that the Culhanes will be two very difficult people to replace. I've learned things from both of them that I'll carry with me throughout the rest of my professional career. Dr. [Jim] Culhane is one of the most engaging professors I've ever had, and I looked forward to classes in which he was going to be teaching in. "

With three members departing from the pharmacy faculty, Dr. Edward Foote, chair of Pharmacy Practice, and Dr. Arthur Kibbe, chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will have to work to fill the positions over the summer. Foote is currently recruiting for Kang's position and has described the faculty members as being "very valuable" to the department. Human Resources will assist Kibbe in the search for someone to fill Jim's position.

"We wish them nothing but the best," said Kibbe.

Source: Wilkes Beacon

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