Online Program Prepares Dentists for Academic Careers

Dentistry Today


Penn Dental Medicine and the Academy for Advancing Leadership (AAL) have partnered to develop an online, asynchronous certificate program for part-time and transitioning faculty members in dental and allied dental education. The initiative, Fundamentals of Clinical Education, is designed to calibrate and orient new faculty as predoctoral, postgraduate, and allied dental educators.

Slated for a spring 2019 release, the program comprises five modules covering crucial topics in clinical education, the partners report, including the critical presence and value of clinical faculty, the landscape of dental education, diversity and inclusion, communication, feedback and teachable moments, and student assessments and evaluations.

According to the American Dental Education Association, more than half of all dental school faculty in 2015-2016 were part-time, and 35% of new faculty came from private practice. The program is “a bridge between the private practice of dentistry and those who are moving into academic positions,” said Karl Haden, PhD, AAL president.

“Fundamentals of Clinical Education fills an unmet need to help those transitioning to or interested in academic careers understand the roles and responsibilities of the oral health educator,” Haden said.

The program aims to equip clinical faculty members with the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to be effective educators and valuable team members at their institutions. To be offered through Penn Dental Medicine’s online learning platform, the program also provides an at-your-pace learning experience taught by faculty from Penn Dental Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh.

“There are so many different aspects to building a strong clinical faculty, and we are pleased to help develop this as another resource in that process,” said Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine. “While each dental school faculty is unique, there are universal qualities to effective teaching and interaction with students, and those lessons can be an invaluable tool for those entering the field.” 

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