USC School of Pharmacy faculty and staff recently heard from the dean about his vision for the school’s future.

Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD, professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, and John Stauffer Decanal Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences, gave the address during the school’s semi-annual town hall event on March 28 on the Health Sciences Campus.

Papadopoulos described the plans to renovate the fourth floor of Seaver Hall into a new 6,348-square-foot student center, with recreational space, a quiet study lounge, flexible-use meeting space, and office space for admissions, career counseling and student affairs staff. The new student center, to be named for the pharmacy school’s former dean, John A. Biles, and his wife, Margaret, is estimated for completion in June 2020.

The school has also acquired rights to use the third floor of Seaver Hall, which will be repurposed into dedicated office space for a group of School of Pharmacy faculty focused on computational drug design and clinical trials, he said.


School updates

Melissa Durham, newly appointed assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, speaks during the school’s semi-annual Town Hall meeting. (Photo/Linda Wang)

Papadopoulos welcomed more than 20 new faculty and staff members, previewed the school’s new online career center, talked about campus security and ongoing beautification efforts, and highlighted upcoming school-wide wellness initiatives.

He reviewed the budget for the school’s growing academic enterprise, which includes a new undergraduate program added two years ago that now has 46 enrolled students. In total, the school has more than 1,100 students across 15 degree programs, he noted.

He also provided an overview of the budget for the school’s pharmacy enterprise, which includes USC Pharmacy, USC Health Center Pharmacy, USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy, USC Verdugo Hills Professional Pharmacy as well as Keck Medicine of USC Specialty Pharmacy.

“The programs are expanding at every level and we are really doing quite well,” he said.  The school’s endowment has reached $45.7 million, he added.

Melissa Durham — an associate professor of clinical pharmacy who was appointed assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in February — shared her background and gave an overview of the vision for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program, which covers faculty, staff and students in each of the school’s 15 degree programs.

“Our work in diversity, equity and inclusion applies to everyone here, whether you identify with an underrepresented or marginalized group or not,” Durham said. “This is about culture change that allows everyone to show up as their whole self to work and participate as their whole self.”

The town hall meeting series, which includes a question-and-answer portion, is led by USC School of Pharmacy leadership once per semester.

“We have to make sure everybody here feels safe, in the right environment, and really it’s their place,” Papadopoulos said.

— Michele Keller

Faculty and staff participated at the school’s semi-annual Town Hall meeting. (Photo/Linda Wang)