This work introduces a series of papers developed to explore the case for change in dental education. Three issues facing dental education are (a) the challenging financial environment of higher education, making dental schools very expensive and tuition-intensive for universities to operate and producing high debt levels for students, which limits access to education and restricts career choices; (b) the profession's apparent loss of vision for taking care of the oral health needs of all components of society and the resultant potential for marginalization of dentistry as a specialized health care service available only to the affluent; and (c) the nature of dental school education itself, which has been described as convoluted, expensive, and often deeply dissatisfying to its students. The theoretical rational for this work is that developing dental faculty from solely clinicians to academicians will allow for the curricular change so needed in dental education. Furthermore, it is curricular change that can lead to changes in the oral health profession.My work first explores the scientific nature of research into dental education to determine its ability to advance the profession. This study found that while there has been a small increase in the amount of rigorous dental education research in the past 10 years, it remains a small percentage of the overall research completed in the field. We then researched the effect of pedagogical training for dental clinicians and discovered predictors for those faculty members more likely to alter their methods to be more student centered. Our narrative research into faculty resistors (those unwilling to change) allowed us to identify themes that can alter our approach to future faculty development. And finally, we researched the effect of modern pedagogy on a course in the dental school curriculum. This research allowed us to justify curricular changes that improve efficiency and student performance.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Biology



Date Submitted


Document Type





dental education, faculty development, education research, dental curriculum



Included in

Biology Commons