At the end of 2017, Dean J. Chris Bradberry, PharmD, announced his upcoming retirement after nearly 15 years with the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. In early 2018 Amy Friedman Wilson, PharmD’95, was named as interim dean. Wilson recently discussed her new role.
What positions have you held at the University or school level? Can you tell us about how they have prepared you for this new role?
I have been fortunate to have a number of leadership opportunities during my time at Creighton. For 10 years, I served as the director of the Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. In 2009-2010, I was selected to complete the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s (AACP) Academic Leadership Fellows Program, which provided a wonderful opportunity to gain skills and experience in higher education administration. I joined the Office of Academic and Student Affairs within the school in January 2015, serving first as assistant and then associate dean of Academic Affairs. Each opportunity I’ve received has allowed me to gain additional experience that will assist me in taking the lead following Dr. Bradberry’s retirement.
What will your major responsibilities and priorities include as interim dean? Do you have a first initiative?
On May 1, I will assume Dr. Bradberry’s role in the school. I have had the good fortune to be able to spend time with Dr. Bradberry over the past two months in an effort to make the transition as smooth as possible. I am appreciative of all the input I have received from faculty and staff and am confident that by all of us working together, things will continue to move forward.
There are lots of “first initiatives” that I want to focus on. Operationally, all programs are up for accreditation visits in the next couple of years. I am confident that our occupational therapy, pharmacy and physical therapy programs will be very favorably reviewed by their individual accrediting bodies, but I realize the amount of time and effort the school will need to devote to this process over the next several months to ensure we are telling our stories. In addition, I am very excited about the health sciences opportunities for Creighton in Phoenix. We have had great experience and success with our interprofessional education (IPE) programs on campus, and the chance to replicate this model in Arizona offers so many benefits to our program, the school and the University.
What part of this job are you looking forward to the most?
In my roles in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with all the programs in our school. I look forward to having more of an opportunity to interface and lead the great work of our school during this time of transition. I am also looking forward to spending time both meeting and reacquainting myself with our alumni. As an alumna myself, I know how important feeling connected is and I want to be ensure that all of our alumni feel that connection and realize the valuable role they play in our school.
As you begin your role as interim dean on May 1, what you would like School of Pharmacy and Health Professions faculty, staff and students to know?
First of all, I want everyone to know how honored I feel to have been given this great responsibility. I am so fortunate to have such great faculty, staff, students and alumni who are invested in making our school the success it is. All of you are the reason I feel confident that we have a bright future ahead of us. I know we can do great things together.
Can you tell us about your goals for the school? Is there anything that keeps you awake at night?
The higher education and health care landscapes are changing, and we are not immune to this. We need to be responsive to these changes to stay relevant and continue our tradition of excellence. Leading our school to ensure continued stability and growth opportunities in each of our programs keeps me awake at night but knowing the quality of our programs and the excellence and commitment of our faculty and staff helps me to sleep. The Phoenix initiative will be a transformative opportunity for our school and University. I am excited to see what the future holds for us in the Southwest.
As an alumna, can you tell us what you think makes Creighton University the place to be educated or work?
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a true-blue Bluejay. Every day that I have been at Creighton, as a student or a professional, has been a privilege to me. Creighton is a very special place, but even more so in my opinion, a very special way of approaching life. I choose to come here every day because it gives me a chance to live the mission of Creighton. Seeing my colleagues each day living this mission and doing the best they can for our students makes me even more proud and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the school as interim dean.
Wilson has been married to her husband, Andrew, for 18 years. They have two children: Nick, an eighth grader headed to Creighton Prep this fall, and Caroline, who is currently in fourth grade. The Wilsons are members of the St. Wenceslaus Parish and school communities in Omaha. A typical busy family, they balance work with soccer, drama practice, music lessons, slumber parties and Wilson’s role as leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. The Wilsons are Bluejay basketball fans and have embraced the BIG EAST, although they still miss the annual treks to Arch Madness and the Missouri Valley Tournament in St. Louis.
As Wilson takes on the role of interim dean, an acting assistant dean, Kelly Nystrom, PharmD has been identified to step in while she is in the dean’s office. Connect with Wilson via email at amywilson [at] creighton [dot] edu.