Core Areas and Strategies

The strategies in Catalyst for Change are all consistent with the University’s broader mission, and there are important points of intersection around teaching innovation, thematic research focus, knowledge mobilization, external engagement, inter-disciplinarity and access. Where possible, we will work with our UBC colleagues to connect our respective capabilities, relationships and resources for collective advantage.

People and Place 

1. Strengthened culture, governance and operational infrastructure 

We will continue to support and strengthen culture, governance and operational infrastructure to underpin our priorities. We understand from feedback that there are opportunities to promote Faculty cohesion in our working practices and identity, to improve transparency in decision making, and to optimize support resources. This is a strategy that will touch all of us, and we will target action and change in areas in which we believe there is greatest scope for meaningful impact. 

2. Recruitment, mentorship and professional development 

We will continue to invest in recruitment, mentorship and professional development to reinforce a culture of lifelong learning and to build a team of faculty members and staff that can achieve both personal and collective success. The focus will continue to be on excellence. There are skills demands that we must bridge through hires in distinct areas. We know that leadership and professional development is a priority across the Faculty, and we will build on the early success of initiatives such as the Faculty Mentoring Program. Our aspirations and agenda make this strategy an imperative, and the need is reinforced by the upcoming retirements of several longstanding colleagues.

3. Integrated approach to underserved communities 

We will take an integrated approach to support expanded access to both education and healthcare within underserved communities. Pharmacists play a particularly important role in healthcare delivery in rural and remote communities, and we therefore have a real opportunity to support the development of education, research and practice for improved patient outcomes and experience. Reinforcing UBC priorities, we know that there is mutual benefit in creating close connection with all communities across the province, and we are deeply committed to enhancing our interface with Indigenous populations. In particular we see opportunities to improve our support of applicants, students and practitioners from underserved communities. 

4. External, alumni and cross-UBC engagement 

Collaboration is a theme that runs across all of our strategies, and we will place even greater focus on external, alumni and cross-UBC engagement. The planning process has confirmed that our partners welcome interaction, and we will respond to the demand for the Faculty to act as a facilitator of change across the sector. As a relatively small Faculty, we also recognize that strategic collaborations enable us to extend our capacity and reach, and we will continue to foster relationships with industry partners, the healthcare sector, peer institutions and other faculties at UBC to help create these opportunities. 

5. Positioning and sustainability 

We will seek explicitly to bolster the positioning and sustainability of the Faculty. We need to enhance our visibility, both internally and externally, and we must successfully navigate current and future fiscal pressures. This strategic plan provides a platform for communication, for relationship building and for revenue generation through education programs, research funding, knowledge mobilization and philanthropy. 


1. Program development to enable clinical career trajectories 

Building upon the successful E2P PharmD implementation, we will extend and enhance our programs to align with shifting and increasingly diverse career trajectories, and to meet the changing needs of employers across the sector. As the scope of pharmacist practice continues to expand and healthcare innovations such as team-based care become firmly established, we need to ensure that our graduates are equipped to succeed in and help shape this evolving landscape. We will work with sector partners to renew our advanced pharmacy training model. This will include development and implementation of an advanced level programing in a similar context to the outgoing Graduate PharmD program. We must also bolster our continuing education offerings to support continued excellence and the advancement of the scope of practice.

2. Program development in foundational science 

We also have an opportunity to play a role in preparing students for careers in the life sciences more broadly. Our intent is to strengthen our pharmaceutical sciences programming at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels, leveraging the breadth and depth of our faculty expertise. A renewed focus on foundational science training requires greater synergy between our education and research portfolios, and this, in turn, will yield broader mutual benefit. 

3. Strengthened student communities 

Consistent with UBC’s commitment to student experience, we will sustain our efforts to create more vibrant and connected student communities across the academic portfolio. We will enhance both recruitment activities and support services to ensure that we build and sustain strong, diverse cohorts of students who thrive in our programs and who then go on to make varied, valuable contributions to society as practitioners, professionals and citizens. 

4. Program evaluation and continuous improvement 

We will continue to build on our developing expertise in program evaluation and continuous improvement, with a focus not only on curriculum and teaching models, but also on the support requirements of our programs. Such practices are imperative in view of the extent of change externally and internally, and we know that they are a priority for the sector partners that employ our graduates, as well as for accreditation.


1. Focused research themes 

We will build coherence through four research themes: 1) health outcomes; 2) molecular and systems pharmacology; 3) nanomedicine; and 4) pharmacy education, that deliver excellence and impact in areas of societal need. Aligned with the institutional direction at UBC, these clusters provide an important platform for focus, collaboration and faculty recruitment. They create the capacity for the Faculty to work synergistically with partner faculties and institutions that have the scale to enable concentrated research depth in the major themes. They also afford the opportunity to enhance our capabilities in team science, promote personal leadership, and communicate effectively the strengths and contributions of our faculty members. 

2. Core research facilities and systems 

To support our reaffirmed commitment to research excellence, we will strengthen core facilities and support in areas that will make the most difference for our faculty members. In particular we will seek to augment existing capabilities in information technology (research IT), analytical sciences, statistics and imaging, as well as in services that facilitate grant development. It is important that we leverage efficiencies through integrated investment with existing and new partners where possible.

3. Knowledge mobilization 

Consistent with UBC and provincial focus, we will make knowledge mobilization a more integral component of our research enterprise. Encompassing entrepreneurship and commercialization, this strategy represents an opportunity for us to extend the impact and effectiveness of our research output, to sustain connections with alumni and to find ways of working more closely and effectively with industry. Our students are crucial agents of knowledge mobilization, and we must strengthen connections across our research and education activities to ensure that this capacity is fully leveraged.


1. Optimization of the pharmacist role 

We share the conviction of most constituencies that pharmacist integration in healthcare delivery is a crucial component for improved patient outcomes, and we will build on our existing commitment to the optimization of the pharmacist role. The Pharmacists Clinic is making important contributions in this domain, and will remain a key vehicle for supporting the evolution of pharmacist practice. 

2. Integrated models of care 

Building from our efforts to support an expanded scope of pharmacist practice, we will leverage our relationships and experience in practice innovation to accelerate change in areas that are fundamental to both optimal patient care and health system sustainability: inter-disciplinary team-based delivery in the primary care environment; transitions of care; and technology-enabled care. Pharmacists can play a pivotal role in each of these, leading and sustaining change through their unique knowledge and skills and highly respected position across the sector. 

3. Strategic practice partnerships 

We will foster strategic practice partnerships predicated on improved patient care through innovation. Partnerships with the BC Ministry of Health, health authorities, hospital and community pharmacy, other healthcare providers, patients, communities and industry together help establish an environment that promotes and supports collaboration, strengthening our capacity to effect change. They also help build the day-to-day connections that enable us to embed practitioners across our education and research programs for the collective advantage of patients, learners, practitioners and the Faculty.