About 250 allied dental program directors, guests, and corporate sponsors met for the 38th Annual Allied Program Directors’ meeting June 11-14 at the Sagamore Resort on Lake George, NY. This conference continues to attract both experienced and less experienced allied dental directors and is a major learning and networking opportunity. Keynote speaker Prof. Pamela Zarkowski, Executive Associate Dean at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, brought valuable insight to the challenges facing allied dental education and changes that will be occurring.
This year’s theme for the meeting focused on change in allied dental education. Dr. Marc Frankel and Ms. Judith Schectman facilitated an all-day workshop that addressed changes facing professionals in academic health disciplines identified from a preconference survey and industry trends. Directors were able to determine their individual style during times of change and were able to apply this information to a case study in team dynamics and leadership.
Specific concurrent presentations then followed, looking at where dental hygiene and dental assisting education has been and where they should be going. Session facilitators were Prof. Kathi Morr, Pennsylvania College of Technology, for dental hygiene and Dr. David Preble, Robert Morgan Education Center, for dental assisting. Prof. Tami Grzesilkowski presented a model for a BSDH degree completion program within a community college structure.
Additional components of the conference included specific discussion groups on issues pertinent to program directors. Topics related to clinical calibration, student evaluation systems, curriculum management, facilities planning, use of portfolios, quality assurance, distance learning, issues in student counseling, and incorporating alternative therapies into the curriculum. Discussion group facilitators had the opportunity to report out and share significant issues and directions. In addition, all registered participants had the opportunity to attend two of the 12 lunch/breakfast and learn presentations this year. An additional workshop for programs being site visited in 2005-06 was sponsored by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
With the increase in new programs and new directors in recent times, the Planning Committee requested the addition of a preconference workshop entitled “Coping Skills for New Allied Dental Directors,” designed specifically for new directors. The program, scheduled on Friday, was attended by over 40 new directors, far exceeding the expectations of the planning group. Feedback from a survey asking preregistrants to prioritize their top three issues/concerns served as the focus of breakout discussion groups. The top priority issues for new directors fell into six categories: personnel, accreditation, management, curriculum management, team building, and competencies. Initial feedback was very positive.
This conference was generously sponsored by the following corporate sponsors: A-dec, American Eagle Instruments, Inc., Brasseler USA, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Dentsply Professional and Dentsply Pharmaceuticals, Discus Dental, Inc., G. Hartzell & Son, Inc., Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Company, Oral-B Laboratories, Omnii Oral Pharmaceuticals, OraPharma, Inc., Patterson Dental Supply, Inc., Philips Oral Healthcare, Inc., Procter & Gamble Company, Sunstar Butler, Inc., Ultradent Products, Inc., Waterpik Technologies, Young Dental/Athena Champion, and Zimmer Dental. Corporate sponsors in attendance had the opportunity to meet with directors during the Corporate Meet and Greet session.
Next year’s conference is scheduled for June 10-13, 2006 at the Eaglewood Resort, Itasca, IL. Information about this meeting will be posted to the ADEA website in the late fall/early winter. The Program Directors’ Conference will be preceded by the Allied Dental Leadership Conference, June 7-10, at the same location.