Mentoring of Dental and Dental Hygiene Faculty: A Case Study
School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, 1011 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078, USA.Journal of dental education (Impact Factor: 0.97). 03/2011; 75(3):291-9.
Given the predicted shortages of dental faculty in the United States, it is important to retain faculty members. Mentoring could play a crucial role in this context. The objectives of this case study were to explore how a six-year mentoring program in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry changed faculty members' perceptions of support from colleagues and their mentoring expectations. In addition, we sought to determine how junior versus senior faculty members and mentors versus mentees differed in their perceptions of faculty roles, their self-perceived competence, and their awareness of departmental expectations at the end of the program. Data were collected with self-administered surveys from twenty-five of the thirty-six faculty members in this department in 2002 (response rate: 69 percent) and from thirty-seven of the fifty-four faculty members in 2008 (response rate: 69 percent). The results showed that the perceptions of support from colleagues improved significantly over the six-year period. During the same time period, mentoring expectations increased. In 2008, junior faculty members as compared to senior faculty members remained less positive about their role as faculty members, felt less well prepared for their professional life, and were less aware of departmental expectations. In conclusion, a departmental mentoring program resulted in improved support from colleagues and increased expectations concerning mentoring experiences. However, future targeted interventions are needed to address the identified differences between junior and senior faculty members. Recommendations for faculty mentoring efforts are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: There is a need to explore approaches in faculty development that will foster change in actual teaching practices. The literature suggests that there should be more deliberate use of theory in faculty development research. This study addressed this gap in the literature by exploring social learning theory in the context of communities of practice and applying this theory to a dental hygiene faculty development program. The purpose of the study was to determine if participation in a community of practice helped dental hygiene clinical instructors implement new teaching strategies by providing ongoing support for their learning. In addition, the study explored whether the level of participation in the community changed over time. A retrospective self-assessment questionnaire consisting of four open-ended questions was administered to a group of clinical dental hygiene instructors at the end of the 2010 academic year. The narrative data were analyzed thematically using qualitative methodology. The results indicated that participation in the community of practice helped clinical instructors make effective changes in their teaching practices by optimizing social learning opportunities. The responses also revealed that instructors became more comfortable participating in discussions as they identified with other members of this unique community.
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ABSTRACT: The College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago has reorganized its predoctoral curriculum to better integrate biomedical, clinical, and behavioral sciences using a systems-based framework. The resulting D.M.D. curriculum features small-group discussions of patient scenarios that include orofacial, systemic, and professionalism learning objectives. Small-group learning is closely coordinated with laboratory, pre-patient care, and patient care experiences. Accordingly, the college has also reorganized its faculty roles to eliminate discipline-based silos and to better ensure program coherence. The new organizational structure is designed to improve coordination among faculty course teams that develop and administer individual courses, several units that provide curriculum resources and support services, and the curriculum committee, which is charged with governance of the curriculum as a whole. In addition, the new structure employs a system of reporting and planning relationships to ensure continuous monitoring and improvement of the curriculum. This article describes six principles that guide the new faculty roles structure, defines the various faculty roles and their coordinating relationships, presents diagrams depicting the organizational structures for curriculum governance, administration, and support, and discusses mechanisms for faculty support and continuous curriculum improvement.
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