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New CPHS dean brings passion and innovation

Wendy Duncan
Wendy Duncan

“I’ve been in pharmacy all my life,” says Wendy Duncan, new dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Duncan is the daughter of a pharmacist who ultimately became a professor of pharmacy and founding dean of the School of Pharmacy at Memorial in Newfoundland. She was born when her father was working on his master’s degree in pharmacy at the University of Toronto, and was drawn to the profession at a young age. Following in her father’s footsteps, Duncan developed a passion for academia and pharmacy education.

During her first year of pharmacy school Duncan enrolled in a political philosophy class that further enhanced her interest in education.

“The professor led me to think critically about my education and challenged me to take part in changing it,” remembers Duncan.

Drake’s newest dean shared that when she became a faculty member she set out to develop and use different teaching methods.

“I didn’t like lectures as a student, and I don’t like to lecture,” says Duncan. “I want to help students actually prepare for practice.”

Duncan uses problem-based learning methods in her courses, and today is a noted expert in curriculum development. While serving as the vice president of academic affairs and dean of pharmacy at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Duncan facilitated an academic strategic planning process that resulted in curricular transformation. The new curriculum integrated disciplines to better develop student abilities in communication, critical thinking, and lifelong learning. Duncan was attracted to a similar dedication at Drake.

“Drake has an excellent reputation in terms of its innovative approaches,” she says, “which is one of many reasons I’m excited to be here.”

Duncan plans to start her Drake journey by learning about the University’s culture and the dreams and aspirations of the faculty and staff. She says she’s excited about Drake’s strategic plan and the College’s role in it.

“One of things that brought me here was meeting President Maxwell and Provost Jones,” says Duncan. “They have passion and vision. With leaders like that, Drake is definitely on the right path.”