Pharmacy faculty a model for diversity

Pharmacy student

A Monash pharmacy graduate working in a hospital

Students from a wider range of backgrounds than ever before are attending one of Australia’s leading pharmacy and pharmaceutical science schools, according to recent enrolment figures.

The Monash Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has smashed the University’s target of participating students from low socio-economic (SES) backgrounds, with more than 44 enrolling in 2012, bringing the total to 131 of 743 undergraduate students.

Students from low socio-economic status backgrounds are more likely than other students of equal academic potential to experience financial difficulties and other educational disadvantage that limit their access to and readiness for higher education.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Social Inclusion) Professor Sue Willis said according to 2012 preliminary enrolment figures, 17.6 per cent of all undergraduates in Pharmacy are from low SES postcodes.

“Monash has set itself a target to increase low SES undergraduate participation from 12.4 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent by 2020,” Professor Sue Willis said.

“This target is in place to ensure that the increase is uniformly spread across all fields within the University.”

Faculty Manager of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Marian Costelloe, said she was delighted that the Faculty achieved such a significant increase this year and surpassed the benchmark of 16 per cent.

“Our campus is truly an international community committed to diversity and producing health care and pharmaceutical industry leaders from every corner of our society,” Ms Costelloe said.

“We must now focus on the retention and success of these students.”

Professor Sue Willis said in order to show progress towards Monash University’s 2020 target, the University needs 15.5 per cent of our commencing undergraduates to be from low SES backgrounds by 2015.

“We also need to ensure that those students are retained and succeed. It is pleasing that the University is on target, with commencing enrolments having achieved 13.8 per cent this year,” Professor Sue Willis said.

“Most faculties have improved their access since we began on this path so it’s important to celebrate their success while acknowledging that we still have a long way to go.”