ADEA Toolkit Facilitates Diversity in Recruitment and Retention

Dentistry Today


The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has released a toolkit aimed at bolstering the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, including historically underrepresented racial, ethnic, and marginalized groups.

“We all know the benefits of diversity and inclusion,” said Karen P. West, DMD, MPH, ADEA president and CEO. “Research points to the positive impact that diverse faculty have on educational quality, the campus climate, and educational outcomes.”

The release of the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit (FDT) and the accompanying Facilitator’s Guide come at a time of heightened scrutiny into racial inequalities in the United States and abroad, the ADEA said.

“Throughout dental education, we must make a meaningful commitment to abolishing systemic racism and discrimination and embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice as never-ending goals,” said West.

“Although by no means the sole answer to the tough questions we face, the ADEA FDT is another tool in our arsenal. It will assist us in developing inclusive and purposeful practices that support the recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented and marginalized faculty and a diverse student pipeline from which to develop academic leadership,” West said.

The toolkit includes best practice highlights for recruitment and hiring, with guidance on faculty searches and how to evaluate candidates. It also offers best practices for retaining a diverse faculty including tips on mentoring, professional development, and promotion.

The ADEA FDT also includes a section on barriers and challenges to successful recruitment and retention as well as an examination of biases and myths. It is a living document, ADEA said, accessible online, that will be updated periodically.

“Our hope is that the model programs highlighted throughout the toolkit will stimulate further investigation and piloting of programs by dental schools and allied dental programs in order to assess the transferability of these best practices and models to academic dentistry,” West said.

The ADEA FDT is a result of the convening of the ADEA Faculty Diversity Development Work Group, a cross-section of ADEA members from dental schools in the United States and Canada and allied dental education programs.

The toolkit’s development was guided by the ADEA Office of Access, Diversity and Inclusion, led by Sonya G. Smith, EdD, JD, ADEA’s chief diversity officer. It is dedicated to Jeanne C. Sinkford, DDS, PhD, and Leo E. Rouse, DDS, whom West called “not only extraordinary leaders but good friends and sound advisors.”

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