Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the SOP

Below, you will find our school's DEI initiatives.

Student sitting in the desk in Jackson.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, we believe that the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in our school, research centers, and society will strengthen the health and well-being of our communities. As such, we are dedicating committees, programs, health events, and other activities representing our school's various backgrounds to bring forth an inclusive culture and better health outcomes.

SOP Equity in Action Plan

Read more about our five-year plan!


The mission of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is to improve health, well-being and quality of life of individuals and communities by educating students, practitioners and scientists, conducting research, and engaging in service.

This mission can only be accomplished if all members of the School of Pharmacy community are able to learn and work in an inclusive environment. It is my belief that diversity, equity and inclusion are best accomplished and embraced when it is a part of what we all do. The School of Pharmacy Equity-in-Action plan will help guide the SOP as our Diversity and Inclusion Committee begins its work but will also provide the framework for other parts of the SOP to include DEI in their efforts. One of our core values is social responsibility – “We value respect for the diversity of people with whom we work and those we serve; the importance we place on our local, state, national, and global communities; and our concern for the welfare of humanity and the environment, as evidenced in the way we serve others.” Implementation of this plan will allow us to truly live out our values.


The School of Pharmacy Equity-in-Action plan is a dynamic and living document; it will also be connected to the next SOP strategic plan so the two plans will be in alignment. This Equity-in-Action plan addresses pre-professional, professional (Pharm.D.) and graduate students, as well as staff and faculty (including preceptors).

The University of Mississippi Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan

The University of Mississippi continues its commitment to excellence and making a positive difference in society through higher education. Pathways to Equity stands as our institutional guidepost for addressing and advancing our institutional mission through centering on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our complex institutional history, coupled with our rich culture of students, faculty, and staff striving for inclusive change, has led us to the solidification of this institutional plan. Pathways to Equity works in concert with the university’s strategic plan to leverage university-wide, college/school-level, and departmental transformative initiatives that cultivate a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus.

With Pathways to Equity, the University of Mississippi aspires to achieve the following statements by the conclusion of this plan.

  1. The University of Mississippi consistently and comprehensively articulates diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential in fulfilling the mission, vision, and values of the institution.
  2. The University of Mississippi is organizationally and culturally equipped with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to continue advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. A campus climate is fostered that ensures all individuals are valued, supported and feel a sense of belonging at the University of Mississippi.
  4. The University of Mississippi has decreased disparities across underrepresented groups in the enrollment, retention, and graduation rates at undergraduate and graduate levels.
  5. The number of underrepresented groups employed at the University of Mississippi is increased to reflect a talented and diverse workforce at all organizational levels, especially tenure-track faculty, managerial positions, and executive leadership positions.

Guiding Principles

The development of this plan requires us to address individual, social, organizational, and systemic factors that create and sustain inequities that prevent all members of our community from fully participating and thriving. We view this as central to the mission of the University of Mississippi. As we embark on this journey together, we must commit to the following shared principles:

  1. Equity-mindedness– We embrace the institutional responsibility and agency to actively address the challenges and disparate outcomes at all levels of our community. This requires us to be data-informed and connect best and promising practices to generate high-impact change for underserved groups in our community.
  2. Institutional Accountability – We must ensure efforts outlined throughout Pathways to Equity are acknowledged in the established systems of recognition, performance, and accountability. It is vital that we work to account for the advancement of these goals in our ideas of success, merit, and reward. Further, we must account for, honor, and recognize faculty, staff, administrators, and students in their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. Transparency – In our execution of Pathways to Equity, our success is predicated on a highly accessible and collaborative process that actively involves university stakeholders working as virtuous partners. To that end, we will consistently, publicly, and broadly share our intended actions, goals, and measurable impacts of this plan.
  4. Innovation – Actualizing diversity, equity, and inclusion will require us to deeply examine and rethink our policies, practices, and procedures at the University of Mississippi. Each unit and individual across campus is invited to offer new thoughts, ideas, and perspectives as we thoughtfully consider ways to make our institution more equitable and inclusive through an intersectional lens. This disposition will create a community of learning, growth, and development as we collectively engage in this complex work.
  5. Alignment of Critical Resources – During this planning process, we have navigated a global health pandemic that has shown the vulnerabilities in our systems that disparately affect underserved and under-resourced communities. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, we must not falter in our commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Instead, we must recognize that our commitment to equity is even more important today than ever.


The following goals represent the University of Mississippi’s commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These overarching goals represent interconnected priorities that are applicable to UM broadly, from our comprehensive divisions, down to individual teams. We aim to have all units see meaningful alignment of these goals with their work. We will ensure UM embraces the transformative nature of diversity, equity, and inclusion across all levels of the institution, addressing challenges to DEI at every corner of our institution by combining contextual understanding with internal and external expertise.

  1. Advanced Institutional Capacity for Equity
    Infrastructure, Information, Systems, Education and Processes
  2. Cultivate a Diverse and Equitable Community
    Recruiting, Retaining, Advancing and Succeeding
  3. Foster an Inclusive Campus Climate
    Support, Value, and Belonging

The School of Pharmacy Equity-in-Action plan is designed to guide our new initiatives over the next five years in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Metrics targeted in the next one-to-two years are noted as “short-term” metrics, whereas those that will be completed in three-to-five years are noted as “long-term.” Other metrics will need to be consistently done throughout the five years and will be noted as “continuous.”


The planning committee comprises the members of the 2022-23 SOP Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the 2023 UM SOP/AACP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institute team.

DEI Committee Members

  • Paul Boudreau
  • Meagan Brown
  • Billy Brown
  • Alexcia Carr
  • Sherrie Gussow
  • Katie McClendon
  • Joh’nis Randall
  • Leigh Ann Ross
  • Jameika Stuckey
  • Yi Yang
  • Ryan Yates

EDI Institute Team

  • Meagan Brown
  • Alexcia Carr
  • Crystal Chancellor
  • Laurie Fleming
  • Kris Harrell
  • Jameika Stuckey
  • Noa Valcarcel


The School of Pharmacy Equity-in-Action plan will address the recruitment of faculty, staff, and students, the preparation of student pharmacists to provide care for patients and populations of diverse backgrounds, optimal student learning in experiential education, and SOP climate to ensure support for all members of the SOP “Phamily.” The plan also will formalize systems so that these and other efforts around DEI are included in our governance and administrative structures. Some of these efforts will align with and/or depend on the implementation of the University of Mississippi Pathways to Equity efforts.

STRATEGIC ACTIVITY I: Improve recruitment of members of underrepresented groups among faculty, staff, and students.

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will improve recruitment efforts to increase the number of members of underrepresented groups in the school. We will implement the required training for members of search committees and admissions committees. We will evaluate and revise recruiting materials and methods (including social media) used in our pre-professional, professional, and graduate programs so they better represent the SOP and support other recruitment efforts. Given the need to strengthen the pharmacy profession pipeline, especially among underrepresented groups, we will build on current partnerships and develop new partnerships to host recruiting activities that expose prospective students and their parents to pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. Given our research enterprise, we will also evaluate, implement, and enhance opportunities for prospective students to participate in summer activities and other high-impact experiences. To further attract students to our programs, we will also assess current scholarship offerings to recruit underrepresented Mississippi students.

Areas Responsible: Assistant dean for student services – Oxford, associate dean for administration, associate dean for research and graduate affairs, director of development, manager of marketing and communications, department chairs

Resources Statement: Some funds are available from a partnership with Walgreens, which may be able to be used for some activities and efforts. Additional fundraising and/or internal financial resources will likely be necessary.

Diverse and Equitable Community

  • Presence of 100% participation (within the past two years) in UM diversity and inclusion search committee training among faculty and staff search committee members (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Presence of 100% participation (within the past two years) in UM diversity and inclusion search committee training among Student Admissions Committee members (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Evaluation of recruiting materials for faculty, staff, and students (pre-pharm/Early Entry, Pharm.D. and graduate) (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Adoption of revised recruiting materials and practices for faculty, staff, and students (pre-pharm/Early Entry, Pharm.D. and graduate) (Baseline: N/A; long-term)
  • Number of recruiting events and activities targeting underrepresented groups (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Diversity of student (Early Entry, Pharm.D., M.S., Ph.D.) applicant pool (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Evaluation of current opportunities and feasibility of additional or revised high-impact experiences offered to prospective students (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Draft pilot of new/revised high-impact programs, including budgetary resources (Baseline: N/A; long-term).
  • Implementation of high-impact programs offered to prospective and/or current students as feasible (Baseline: N/A; long-term)

Strategic Activity II: Prepare students to provide care for diverse populations.

The SOP Curriculum Committee conducts course reviews of required courses in the SOP curriculum. We will include questions in the course reviews to further understand what topics and issues are addressed and then close any gaps identified. Additionally, we will offer DEI trainings and development to students, faculty (including preceptors) and staff with an overall aim to reduce health disparities in patient care and research.

Areas Responsible: Curriculum Committee, CE, Lecture, and Alumni Affairs Committee

Resources Statement: The School of Pharmacy hosts multiple invited speakers throughout the year. It is not expected to change the number of speakers but instead the topics of presentations.

Institutional Capacity

  • Presence of questions related to DEI topics on course review rubric (Baseline: none; short-term)
  • Number of new or revised curricular offerings that expand student knowledge, skills, or attitudes related to DEI topics in Pharm.D. curriculum (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Number of internal and external presentations (including named lecturers and continuing education programming) and training offered, hosted or promoted to students, faculty, and staff on DEI topics (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Number of attendees (students, faculty [including preceptors], and staff) at internal and external presentations and training offered, hosted, or promoted by SOP (Baseline: N/A; continuous)

Strategic Activity III: Ensure pharmacy practice experiences provide optimal environments for student learning and support.

As part of Strategic Activity II, some DEI training and development activities will be open to preceptors, but we will also offer DEI training specifically for preceptors regarding learning environment, climate, and bias in health care and experiential education. We will also make sure preceptors are aware of SOP policies and procedures for issues that arise in the clinical learning environment and that both sites and preceptors are committed to an inclusive environment. Should students have issues in the clinical learning environment, we will make sure the incidents are investigated and resolved when possible. We will also evaluate and revise required learning activities in introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences so as to promote student learning with regard to caring for diverse populations.

Areas Responsible: Director of experiential programs and experiential affairs

Institutional Capacity

  • Number of DEI training offered for preceptors (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Percent of preceptors who participate in DEI training (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Presence of new DEI/cultural competence activities in introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (Baseline: current activity in APPE needs updating/refining; none in IPPE; short-term)

Inclusive Campus Climate

  • Presence of a system to collect reports from students (direct report from students or via other complaint mechanisms) with concerns and then resolve issues and communicate (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Student education of system(s) to report concerns on rotations (Baseline: N/A; long-term)

Strategic Activity IV: Assess and address the SOP climate to support members of the SOP “Phamily.”

UM conducted a campus climate study in fall 2019. Upon receipt of SOP results, we will review SOP-specific findings from the UM Campus Climate Study, as well as develop a plan for additional climate assessments among SOP students, faculty and staff. Depending on these findings, we will develop further plans to address the concerns identified.

Areas Responsible: associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement and SOP Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Inclusive Campus Climate

  • Comments, feedback, and scores from students, faculty, and staff on climate assessments (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Number of additional assessments, including focus groups, to gather feedback (Baseline: N/A; short-term)
  • Presence of additional efforts to improve SOP climate (Baseline: N/A; long-term)

Strategic Activity V: Align SOP processes to promote and integrate DEI efforts.

The SOP will soon begin to develop its next strategic plan. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee and strategic planning committees will work together to ensure that Equity-in-Action goals are incorporated into the SOP strategic plan. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will also work with the dean to develop charges for each SOP committee that will accomplish the above strategies to ensure the success of the Equity-in-Action plan.

Areas Responsible: Diversity and Inclusion Committee, associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement, and dean

Institutional Capacity

  • Presence of DEI efforts in SOP strategic plan (Baseline: current strategic plan; continuous)
  • Presence of DEI charges in SOP committees (Baseline: N/A; continuous)
  • Completion of DEI annual charges in SOP committees (Baseline: continuous)

More Information

The Preferred Admission Program provides prioritized admission to the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy for pre-pharmacy students who excel in their academic performance at participating Mississippi institutions of higher learning. The program allows students to complete pre-pharmacy requirements closer to their desired location before enrolling in professional program at the UM, as well as creates partnerships with other Mississippi universities to train quality pharmacists for our state.

Participating Institutions

Alcorn State University

Jackson State University

Millsaps College

Mississippi College

Mississippi State University

Tougaloo College 

CVS Bilingual Scholarship: Interested in community practice, and preference is given to students with experience working with underserved populations and Spanish-speaking students.

Walgreens Diversity Scholarship: Involvement in activities promoting diversity and serving minority populations, and plans to pursue a community pharmacy career path.

Walgreens Multilingual Scholarship: Use multilingual ability in the community or at outreach events, and plan to pursue a career path in community pharmacy.

PRUDENT Scholars Program: This scholarship program supports rural Mississippi students in the pharmacy profession, with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusivity, which are key to how the School and institution serve Mississippi.

STEMS REU Scholarship: This scholarship allows a student to participate in our summer undergraduate research experience.

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is committed to encouraging diversity in its student body and to graduating professionals dedicated to the delivery of compassionate pharmaceutical care to all segments of the diverse population in their community. The school’s goals are developed to ensure that this commitment is manifested in all aspects of student life so that students are provided access to educational opportunities and social programs that are free from bias. The School of Pharmacy expects that all students, faculty, and staff will be treated fairly without regard to race, age, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital, handicap, or veteran status.

Disability Services

Pharmacy students seeking reasonable accommodations with verified disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) should contact the Office of Academic and Student Affairs. The School of Pharmacy will work in conjunction with the Office of Student Disability Services to ensure reasonable accommodations are met.

To view the University of Mississippi’s official policies and procedures for students with disabilities, please visit sds.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7128 for voice phone or 662-638-0379 for video phone.

Students on both the Oxford and Jackson campuses may use disability services on the Oxford campus.


Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies

Report a Bias Incident

Student Support

Title IX

Donna Sue West Strum

Why DEI matters?

The School of Pharmacy is dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion throughout pharmacy education, research and the profession. As dean of the School of Pharmacy, I am deeply committed to ensuring the collective and ongoing initiatives that are outlined in our action plan are woven into the school’s mission. We want our school to continue supporting a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. The school, university, profession and public health as a whole will benefit from a thriving diverse community and the elimination of health disparities.

Donna Sue West Strum

Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Executive Director of the Research Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor of Pharmacy Administration, and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences