February 15, 2017
By Sydney DuPriest
Pharmacy administration professor John Bentley became the chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy at the beginning of the spring semester.
Bentley received his Ph.D. in pharmacy administration from the UM School of Pharmacy in 1998 and began working as an assistant professor in the department upon graduating. He completed a BSPh at Drake University in 1993, and in 2011, he received his Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Donna West-Strum, the previous chair, became one of the university’s two associate provosts for academic affairs on Jan. 1.
“John’s leadership and vision for our department combined with his drive and attention to detail has made him the ideal person to continue and grow the strong reputation of our group,” said Erin Holmes, professor in the pharmacy administration department.
The Department of Pharmacy Administration studies the cost, access and quality of pharmaceutical products and services. Key issues include pharmaceutical marketing, patient and provider interactions, health outcomes, and the evolving role of pharmacists in delivering quality health care.
Bentley has received numerous awards for his research and teaching, including the 2016 UM Faculty Achievement Award, the Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the university’s graduate school, and the School of Pharmacy Student Body’s Friend of the Student Award. He will reduce some of his teaching hours and will continue to conduct research.
“There is no doubt that John was the absolute right pick for this position,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Pharmacy administration has a history of exceptional leadership, and John upholds that with his experience, his work ethic and his ability to listen to his colleagues.”
As a longtime member of the pharmacy administration department, Bentley holds a set of core values he learned when he was a student, such as treating everyone with respect, valuing the perspectives of others and the importance of civil discourse.
“We work very collaboratively and try to foster a great deal of respect and mutual support amongst our faculty and graduate students,” Bentley said. “We try to create a culture where it’s OK for people to challenge each other. Our department gets along very well, but that doesn’t mean that we always agree with each other. It was fostered in me as a young faculty member that disagreements are about the matter at hand and never about the person.”
Bentley said the department has been so well managed that his primary goal is to build upon its success. The pharmacy administration department won the 2016 Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education Award and has a rich history of faculty teaching, service and research awards.
“This is such a great group of highly motivated people that I don’t want to be in their way,” Bentley said. “They’re going to do good work, and I want to facilitate that success.”
The confidence goes both ways; all department faculty voiced support for Bentley’s transition to chair.
“John has been a pillar of the Department of Pharmacy Administration for many years,” said Lori Ward, assistant professor of pharmacy administration. “We know that he will continue to be a great example and lead our department to greater heights.”