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Dean Renae Chesnut receives national awards

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Dean Renae Chesnut received two national awards from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) at their annual meeting July 21—25 in Boston. As Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS), Dean Renae Chesnut received the inaugural Sustained Contribution to Administrative Practice in Pharmacy Education Award and the James Robertson, Jr. Leadership Excellence in Student Services Award.

The inaugural Sustained Contribution to Administrative Practice in Pharmacy Education Award was awarded to Dean Chesnut because of her many years of service and the creation of the Association’s Administrative Services Section, which is a forum for pharmacy education faculty and staff.

The James Robertson, Jr. Award is given to an individual who has exhibited an excellence in leadership, especially within the field of student services. Chesnut’s efforts are not seen only on Drake’s campus. Nationally, she makes efforts to increase diversity within the profession, aims to enhance students’ success, and often assists with professional development.  Both awards she won applaud Chesnut’s commitment to pharmacy education.

Dean Chesnut has been at Drake for 25 years now and in that time has served in many positions. She has served as director of student services, assistant dean, associate dean, and of course, is now Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She has played a significant role in many initiatives in the CPHS including implementing a Master’s in Athletic Training (AT), an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program and the pre-professional programs for the same focuses. Chesnut has also been the inaugural chair for both the Association’s Student Affairs Committee and the Administrative Services Section.

Many of those in the CPHS say Dean Rene Chesnut is quite deserving of the recognition. Provost Dr. Sue Mattison, who also holds tenure as Professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has praised Chesnut. Writing in a letter of support for the Sustained Contribution award, Mattison states that Chesnut’s “commitment has been key to the outstanding success and reputation of the Drake University PharmD program, graduating pharmacists who achieve recognition in every facet of professional practice.” Dr. Mattison described Dean Chesnut as “an extraordinary leader” who always has a “positive outlook and genuinely kind personality, which contributes to her success as a leader”. She attributes much of the College of Pharmacy and Health Science’s success to Dean Chesnut, “[Chesnut] knows each pharmacy student personally, and through her sincere caring and interest in their academic and professional careers, has built a network of alumni whose generous support of the program and the University is felt daily.”

When asked about her receiving this recognition, Dean Rene Chesnut said “it is a great honor to be recognized with these awards since I know many of the other pharmacy educators in the country who have received them or will be receiving them –  I feel humbled to have my name among theirs.” As an advocate for student services, she gives students this advice- “to step out of one’s comfort zone and take advantage of new opportunities”.

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