The Pankey Institute Welcomes Dr. James C. Kessler, Chairman of Edu.

Dentistry Today


On October 1, 2010, Dr. James C. Kessler, previous Chair of the Division of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma, assumed responsibility for the Department of Education at The Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education in Key Biscayne, Florida.  Dr. Kessler replaces Dr. Irwin M. Becker as Chairman of Education.

“We are very excited to have attracted such a high caliber educator with extensive experience in continuing postgraduate education,” says Dr. Barry S. Segal, Chairman of the L. D. Pankey Dental Foundation. “Not only do we get a top lecturer at the height of his career but also an expert clinician who has a passion for private practice. His desire to come to the nonprofit Pankey Institute is a real tribute to the Institute’s long history as a standard bearer in continuing dental education.”

“I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to continue the rich tradition of educational excellence for which the Pankey Institute has always been recognized. I am looking forward to working with and learning from The Pankey Institute’s extensive visiting faculty as the Institute enters its 40th year,” says Dr. Kessler. “At the core of successful comprehensive practice are behaviors that engender patient trust and appreciation. The Pankey Institute’s faculty and courses are still the dentist’s best resources for developing an optimal behavioral foundation, as well as clinical skills for advanced practice. We’re going to continue helping dentists grow in all aspects of dentistry, giving them the confidence to treatment plan and deliver advanced restorative cases, and developing closer collaboration with specialists and dental laboratory technicians. There are two goals at the top of my list, first is staying in communication with the Institute’s students and alumni, and second is instilling in our students the passion for lifelong learning. I want to thank the Pankey Staff, Dr. Irwin Becker, and the entire Pankey Learning Community for already making me feel so welcome. I could not be more excited and thank you for this opportunity.”

In October, Dr. Kessler will hold his first Pankey Faculty Enhancement Program. At this meeting, he will outline his vision for the Pankey curriculum. Lead faculty in the Pankey Essentials courses will present course enhancements and new course manuals that have been developed over the last year with input from Dr. Kessler and the Institute’s Provost Committee. As a group, the Visiting Faculty and Foundation Advisors will examine trends in continuing dental education and the future of Dentistry. All will then be treated to a full day of learning, as Dr. Gary Genard, founder and President of the Dental Communications Group, conducts a “Mastering the Art of Dental Presentations” workshop.

Dr. James C. Kessler (Jim) earned his D.D.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1977. He entered practice as an associate and taught part time in the department of endodontics at the University of Oklahoma, as well as teaching in the General Practice Residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital. When offered a position to teach full time in the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics, he joined the faculty and taught for the next seven years attaining the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. Continuing his career in academics, Jim accepted an appointment at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine as a tenured Associate Professor in the Crown and Bridge Department. At South Carolina, he lectured in advanced laboratory techniques, ceramics, fixed prosthodontics, and occlusion.

After ten years in dental education, he transitioned into private practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he remained for the next eighteen years. There, he continued to remain active in teaching, lecturing to groups of dentists, dental laboratory technicians and students. In addition he was active in three study clubs, including the Tulsa Seattle Study Club. In 2007, the opportunity presented for Jim to return to dental education. He was named the Herbert T. Shillingburg Professor of Fixed Prosthodontics and Chair of the Division of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.

Dr. Kessler co-authored a textbook with Dr. Herbert T. Shillingburg and has been a contributor to other textbooks, as well as published articles in the dental literature. He has presented over 300 lectures to dental and dental laboratory groups, residencies, and study clubs across the United States, Canada, Europe and parts of Asia.

He is a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, American College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Academy of General Dentistry, and Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry. He was the 2004 President of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, currently serves on its Foundation and Finance Committees, and has provided the Academy with over 20 years of service.

Founded in 1970, The Pankey Institute ( is a nonprofit organization in Key Biscayne, Florida, dedicated to helping dentists master advanced technical skills, improve behavioral skills, and nurture a positive philosophy towards life and practice. It was the first institute of its kind, commencing postgraduate classes in Miami, Florida in September of 1972. It remains among the most prestigious in the world, attracting dentists from 44 nations. Over 21,000 dentists and specialists have attended its courses and now serve millions of patients worldwide.