UK pharmacy dean stepping down

The dean of the University of Kentucky's College of Pharmacy is stepping down to return to teaching, the university announced Wednesday.

Dr. Kenneth B. Roberts, who has led the college since March 2000, will return to teaching and will help spearhead fund-raising and development efforts for the college in preparation for the opening of its new building sometime next year, said Jimmy Stanton, UK's spokesman.

In addition, UK Provost Kumble R. Subbaswamy will recommend Roberts for the college's Earl P. Slone professor for pharmacy practice, Stanton said. The position is a prestigious endowed professorship named after the former dean of the Louisville College of Pharmacy who merged the school with UK in the first half of the 20th century.

Subbaswamy praised Roberts' work in helping to foster quality graduates and research efforts.

"I can certainly understand his desire to step away from the regular duties of a dean after nearly 20 years, but I am glad he will help over the next year with much-needed fund-raising for the college before returning to the classroom," Subbaswamy said in a statement.

He said he would appoint an interim dean after talking with the college's faculty and begin a national search for a new dean in the fall.

Roberts leaves the dean post as UK enters the final stages of constructing a new pharmacy academic and research building that is expected to have 280,000 square feet. It will include two 235-seat auditoriums, classrooms, a teaching laboratory, patient-assessment rooms and 19 small-group study rooms.

Some of Roberts' new focus on fund-raising will be aimed at helping to outfit the building, Stanton said.

"After nearly 20 years of leading pharmacy schools at major public universities, I am looking forward to returning to the classroom, participating in research and continuing the development role which has been the hallmark of my deanship," Roberts said in a statement.

During Roberts' tenure as dean, the university began constructing in 2003 a 20,000-square-foot Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology manufacturing facility at UK's Coldstream Research Campus. In addition, Roberts is credited with helping to triple endowment funding for the college.

Sought-after research funds increased from $4.5 million to nearly $14 million over the last nine years, according to the college's Web site.