Dean Renae Chesnut to retire with Associate Dean and Windsor Professor of Science Chuck Phillips stepping in as interim dean

After more than three decades of unwavering commitment to Drake University including the last eight years as Dean, Renae Chesnut will step down from her deanship on January 31, 2024, completing an administrative sabbatical until her official retirement on December 31, 2024—during which time she will support the launch of a new academic program currently in development.

With Dean Chesnut stepping down, Associate Dean and Windsor Professor of Science Chuck Phillips has been named interim dean of the college. The University has initiated a national search for the next dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. A new dean is expected to be named in the spring of 2024 with a start date of July 1, 2024.

“As Dean Chesnut begins the next chapter of her life, she leaves behind an indelible mark on Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences,” said Drake University Provost, Sue Mattison. “She has mentored, guided, and positively impacted thousands of students who have graduated from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences under her tenure, many of whom have gone on to become local and national leaders in their fields. Her impact on the pharmacy and health science profession will be felt for generations.”

A legacy of innovation, leadership, and transformative change

Dean Chesnut holds a remarkable four degrees from Drake University, including a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy, a Master of Business Administration, and Specialist and Doctor of Education degrees. Prior to her deanship, Dean Chesnut was a faculty member and the College’s associate dean and served as the University’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative for 16 years.

She was named dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2016. Since then, she has led several initiatives, including the establishment of new academic programs:

Other major accomplishments during her tenure as Dean included the creation of several new student scholarships and awards, revenue-generating partnerships, and the development and renovation of various facilities to support the College’s expanding programs. Dean Chesnut’s thoughtful approach to expanding the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has resulted in stronger, more comprehensive, and high-quality curricula that not only prepare students to excel in their chosen fields but also help meet the increasing demand for quality healthcare professionals.

Learn more about Dean Chesnut’s career at Drake.

Stepping up as interim dean

Beginning Feb. 1, 2024, Chuck Phillips will serve as interim dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Phillips currently serves as the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Assessment and Windsor Professor of Science at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In his more than 30 years at Drake, he has served as Department Chair, Director of Assessment, and Assistant Dean for Assessment. He has also chaired the College’s self-study for the past three accreditation cycles and has held significant leadership roles in College and University faculty governance.

Phillips obtained his Pharm.D. degree from the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy and his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He has more than 30 years of teaching experience in courses related to research methods, statistics, and evaluating medical literature. He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and presentations, has given numerous invited presentations, and has published three book chapters.

“We thank Professor Phillips for his continued dedication to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and know that the college will continue to flourish under his leadership as interim dean,” said Mattison.

Learn more about the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.