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First-year of Strategic Plan brings important improvements

Ann Arbor, Mich., Aug 16, 2016 -– The School of Dentistry has completed the first-year action plan set out in its 2015 Strategic Plan and is moving forward with another group of ambitious goals for the next phase.

An update by the Strategic Planning Committee documents the steady and significant progress underway to implement “Michigan Dentistry: Leading the Future,” which was released in January 2015.  The multi-year plan was formulated and is being implemented with input from alumni and students, faculty and staff across the school.

A vision statement and goals were created for each of five domains – People, Education, Research and Discovery, Patient Care, and Responsible Growth and Sustainability – related to the school’s mission. Within each domain, actions and success measures were created for the plan’s first year, fiscal year 2016, and beyond.

The planning committee and domain leaders have held nearly 40 meetings and hosted additional events with students, faculty and staff.  The school-wide collaboration generated a series of actions designed to meet the goals of the plan. Here’s a summary of some of the actions finished in each domain in the first year, along with upcoming work:

• People Domain: An effort to increase the diversity of students enrolled in the incoming class resulted in a significant increase. The Profile for Success summer program for undergraduate minority students considering a career in dentistry was reestablished, and an endowment fund was started. The school completed a strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion as part of a campus-wide DEI initiative. A school-wide Climate Study was completed and work has begun on implementing the top recommendations, which focus on increasing diversity among students, faculty and staff; increasing resources to foster an inclusive environment; and creating structures to improve communication across the school. Up next: Develop and implement a cultural sensitivity training program for the school’s community.

• Education Domain: This domain focused on promoting and measuring critical thinking skills used by students during the course of patient care.  The curriculum was audited to ensure that these skills are implemented and assessed across all disciplines. The Pathways program was reviewed and a restructure proposed based on student, faculty and staff feedback.  Up next: Designing an integrated curricular model for instruction and assessment of student learning in the biomedical and foundational sciences, along with faculty development workshops. A restructuring of the Pathways program is currently underway.

• Research and Discovery Domain: A schoolwide mentoring plan was established to help assistant and associate professors obtain outside funding within four years of their initial appointment. Up next: Advance research with continued collaboration, cooperation and resource-sharing, while improving the integration of research into education and patient care.

• Patient Care Domain: Patient satisfaction and wait times for appointments for new patients were key targets for this domain. Surveys showed improved satisfaction ratings by patients seen in the VICs and a decrease in the time new patients wait for an appointment. Up next: Continue work on the development of the website, and implement a marketing plan to draw more patients from the university community.

• Responsible Growth and Sustainability Domain: Surveys showed that respondents have a better understanding of the school’s budget and overall financial status. To improve transparency, the school’s annual financial summary is now annually posted on the U-M Dentistry website.  Up next: Continued communication with stakeholders about various aspects of the budget, including selecting and acting upon tactics that increase revenue and control expenses.

For a more detailed look at what’s been completed and what’s next in each domain, go to the Strategic Plan web page.  It includes links to the school’s climate study, budget, curriculum audit and other related materials.

Visit the UMichDent YouTube channel to see the “What is the Strategic Plan?” video.