‘U’ Pharmacy students share praise for Dean Dalton’s time at Michigan

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 3:27pm

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James T. Dalton, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy dean, has been chosen as the next executive vice president and provost for the University of Alabama. Dalton will officially step down on July 1 and start his new role at Alabama on August 1, after approval from the UA Board of Trustees. According to an email, Interim Provost Susan M. Collins will develop a plan to appoint an interim dean and Dalton will work with them to ensure a smooth transition.

Dalton holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate in pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry from Ohio State University. He worked as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Tennessee and served as an associate professor, professor and chair at OSU. Dalton was also the vice president of preclinical research and development and chief scientific officer of GTx, Inc. Recently, he was elected into the National Academy of Medicine.

Since being appointed as dean in 2014, Dalton has revised the Pharmacy School’s bylaws to expand the voting rights of clinical faculty, launched a new master of science and bachelor of science in pharmacy program, helped the college receive full Accreditation for Pharmacy Council of Education accreditation and approved $121 million for a new Pharmacy School building, among many more accomplishments, according to the email. 

2020 Pharmacy School alum Kimberly Pais said Dalton’s role in helping the Pharmacy School get approval for a new building shows how he is always thinking about the future of success.

“Dean Dalton has really worked to push our school forward,” Pais said. “I think he’s always looking toward the future and one of his biggest projects too is the fact that he worked really hard to try to get the College of Pharmacy a new building … I think he worked really hard to advocate for the Pharmacy School and try to get that into process. One of the biggest skills that he’ll bring to Alabama is trying to push them forward and bring new ideas to the campus.”

University President Mark Schlissel expressed his congratulations to Dalton on Twitter.

In an email sent to Pharmacy students, Dalton said he valued his time at the University of Michigan and will remember Ann Arbor fondly.

“I didn’t foresee a second ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to arise,” Dalton said. “But please know that I value our many shared successes, recruitments, promotions, graduations and moments of pride and happiness that come from working in the best College of Pharmacy in the world. You all will forever have a place in my heart.”

Dalton’s reputation among Pharmacy students was positive, according to 2020 Pharmacy School alum Vineet Pradhan. He said Dalton advocated for students and he believes this skill will be useful during his time in Alabama. 

“Along with knowing what to do and knowing the right people to talk to, he’s a great person to work with,” Pradhan said. “He’s great with students, he understands students’ perspectives and he’s personally invested and interested in students’ success and I think that’s something that’s gonna give him a leg up when he starts that new role.”

During his time at the Pharmacy School, Dalton was involved in student organizations and was an advisor for a pharmacy family. Pharmacy senior Raul Ghib was a member of Dalton’s pharmacy family, an advising group for Pharmacy School students consisting of a single student from every class level. Ghib shared how Dalton went above and beyond to help him achieve his academic dreams in entrepreneurship and pharmacy.

“I want to become an entrepreneur and (Dalton) has this background,” Ghib said. “He's offered me many chances to interact with entrepreneurs… in the field of pharmacy.… He's set up meetings for me, and he's also allowed me to look into specific courses, for instance, at the Ross School of Business that I could benefit from, in order to have a better understanding of what entrepreneurship is all about. I felt like I knew very little of what it meant to be an entrepreneur (but) with his guidance, I was actually able to go far and beyond my expectations.”

Pradhan shared how the support from Pharmacy School leadership during the transition to online classes helped him have peace of mind with the situation. He reflected on how Dalton’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was well handled. 

“When all this COVID stuff was actually starting, it was tough for every school across the country to figure out what to do; to (get) students to graduate on time, (to make) sure for people doing pharmacy school and medical school rotations (that they) make sure people get their hours in and (have enough) sufficient (hours) to graduate,” Pradhan said. “Looking back on the situation, it could’ve been a lot more stressful if Dean Dalton and the rest of the pharmacy school leadership wasn’t making sure students knew exactly what was going on ... I think Dean Dalton in particular led in (that) way.”

According to Ghib, Dalton has exceeded his expectations in every aspect of being a dean of the Pharmacy School and he believes he will bring these skills with him to Alabama. 

“I believe (he), as a vice president, will meet all the expectations and go far beyond what they would expect of him as a vice president, as he has gone beyond his expectations as the dean of College of Pharmacy at University of Michigan,” Ghib said. “He's made great connections with people outside of the University and he's maintained a great reputation for our college … He does not look at your status, he does not look at your level of education. He takes you as his equal and he talks to you as an equal. He just kind of gives you that level of confidence that you need in order to succeed in your career.”

Summer Managing News Editor Jasmin Lee can be reached at itsshlee@umich.edu.