Ann Arbor, MI — December 10, 2012 — “It was a superb meeting,” said Sheree Duff, chair of the School of Dentistry’s Alumni Society Board of Governors as she talked about the fall Board meeting that featured 11 School administrators, department chairs, and program directors giving updates on activities and initiatives as well as answering questions from Board members.
“We all left with a strong sense of commitment from everyone that they continue to care deeply about student learning and providing the resources that prepare them for the future,” she added.
Dean Peter Polverini briefed the group about the search process, saying that five candidates were invited for interviews, which were completed in early December. The Dean Search Committee will forward the names of three individuals, unranked, to U-M Provost Phil Hanlon by year’s end. An announcement is expected early next year.
Dr. Stephen Bayne, chair of the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics, said the U-M School of Dentistry is so highly regarded nationwide and worldwide, that more than 200 names were submitted to the Search Committee for consideration before five were invited to Ann Arbor for interviews and presentations to faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
In response to a question about possibly building a new dental school, Polverini said he will encourage the new dean “to put major renovations, or possibly building a new facility, very high on his or her list of priorities.”
Major renovations are needed to the predoctoral clinics, said Dr. Stephen Stefanac, associate dean of Patient Services.
“Our current cubicle design does not easily allow us to teach clinical dentistry in a modern fashion,” he said, noting that the cubicles are small and were built at a time when cabinets used to store student-owned instruments was important and dental equipment was smaller.
Stefanac said there was no planning for “four-handed dentistry, computers and monitors, and space for equipment such as digital-impression taking devices, and CAD-CAM machines. We are also limited in our ability to accommodate wheelchair transfers and caregivers in many of our cubicles.”
Stefanac said he has been working with an architect specializing in dental clinic and operatory design who has created a plan to reconfigure clinic space to meet the needs of contemporary clinical teaching. A mockup of the new operatory design will be built in the Foundation Clinic for faculty, students, and staff to evaluate before a final decision is made.
Oral Surgery Clinic
Dr. Joseph Helman, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry, agreed there is a need for a new or completely renovated oral surgery clinic at the dental school.
“We have had to defer any action on that because of the economy the past few years,” he said. “The cost of renovations might be as high as $5 million,” he said.
Polverini said U-M has a new process that assigns priorities to renovations and the construction of new facilities. “I’ve been assured that our School is high on the list of ‘High Priority’ projects,” he said, adding, “we cannot speculate when the priority projects will receive funding approval.”
Admissions and Academics
The U-M School of Dentistry continues to be highly-regarded in dental education, according to Dr. Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for Academic Affairs.
“We received 2,168 applications for the Dental Class of 2016. We interviewed 300 and then offered admission to 108 of them,” she said.
Murdoch-Kinch said the School begins receiving applications in early July. “When students apply, we notify them how to access information at a secure Web site that gives them updates about the status of their application,” she said.
Launched in the summer of 2010, the revised curriculum gives students the opportunity to explore more career path options, enhances collaboration, and offers more exposure to scientific knowledge they will need in providing patient care.
As chair of the Curriculum Committee, Murdoch-Kinch said the School’s core focus “continues to be excellence in dentistry.” Polverini agreed, adding, “we strive to do better in all areas of our mission — clinical and classroom education, research and discovery, patient care, and outreach.”
North Campus Research Complex
The School of Dentistry also has a presence at the University’s North Campus Research Complex, Board members were told.
Dr. Paul Krebsbach, chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, recently moved his laboratory to the former Pfizer facility on the northeast side of Ann Arbor as a part of the University of Michigan Biointerfaces, a group of interdisciplinary biomedical researchers from the School of Dentistry, the Medical School, the College of Engineering, the School of Pharmacy, and the College of Literature, Arts and Sciences.
“With so many people in so many different areas working together in this facility, we think there is significant potential for new discoveries that will ultimately benefit the public in many different areas,” Polverini said.
Spreading the Good News
Duff (BSDH 1980), whose term as chair expires next summer, said the information provided by the School’s leadership “allows us, as Board members, to spread the good news about the University of Michigan School of Dentistry when we talk to our peers and even students who may be considering a career in dentistry or dental hygiene.”
Members of the Board of Governors, who appear in the photo, are (seated, left to right): Ms. Kathleen Early, Dr. Janis Chmura Duski, Dr. Michael Cerminaro, Ms. Sheree Duff (chair), and Dr. Sondra Moore Gunn. Back row: Dr. Carl Pogoncheff, Dr. Kerry Kaysserian, Dr. Frank Alley, Dr. Jerry Booth, Dr. Scott Schulz, Dr. Reggie VanderVeen (chair-elect), Dr. Mike Palaszek, Dr. Jeff Smith, and Dr. Wayne Olsen.
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care, and community service. General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the School to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan. Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia, and public agencies. Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide. For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.