By Whitney Tarpy
University of Mississippi
Donna Strum, whose nationally respected career has spanned professional practice, academics and administration, has been named the new dean of the School of Pharmacy and executive director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi.
A three-time graduate of the pharmacy school, Strum served as interim dean and executive director since July 1, 2021. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning trustees approved the official role move on Thursday (Feb. 17).
“I am honored to lead one of the best pharmacy schools and research enterprises in the nation,” Strum said. “We have a strong foundation of excellence on both our Oxford and Jackson campuses and throughout our vast network of alumni, preceptors and professional community.
“I look forward to building on this success as we continue to support an inclusiveness and diverse environment. We’ll work on advancing our missions through innovation and collaboratively enhance our impact on public health.”
As dean, Strum will oversee the growing educational opportunities for the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs at the nationally ranked pharmacy school. She will guide the five research centers within RIPS, including the recently added National Center for Cannabis Research and Education, and help facilitate industry partnerships and research funding, as the school brought in more than $19.2 million in external funding last year.
“Dr. Strum is an accomplished and respected scholar with a national reputation in pharmacy,” said Noel Wilkin, UM provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “She has distinguished herself as a trusted and respected leader and administrator, and I am confident she will be able to help the nationally ranked School of Pharmacy achieve even greater success.”
Before her interim role, Strum was appointed as the university’s associate provost in 2017, where she oversaw a wide variety of faculty, student and administrative matters, including academic budget, student retention and human resource issues.
After eight years on the faculty for the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, she returned to Ole Miss in 2008 as chair and professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration.
During her stint as chair, she assisted in restructuring the graduate curriculum, as well as helping the department win the university’s Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education award.
She was recognized with the 2015 Duncan Neuhauser Award from the Academy for Healthcare Improvement and the school’s 2016 Faculty Instructional Innovations Award for her role in creating and implementing the teaching tool Educating Pharmacists in Quality, or EPIQ. The resource trains pharmacists and student pharmacists to measure and improve quality in pharmacy care.
Strum graduated from the university with her bachelor’s in pharmacy as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacy administration.