Bulletin of Dental Education

ADEA/AAL Institute for Allied Health Educators: Expanding Course Offerings and Building on Success

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The American Dental Education Association/Academy for Academic Leadership Institute for Allied Health Educators (ADEA/AAL IAHE) was launched in 2007 in partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry (UMKC SOD) to provide professional development to dental hygiene and dental assisting faculty along with other allied health educators. The ADEA/AAL IAHE prepares faculty for successful academic careers and helps participants refine teaching skills that will enhance the quality of their interactions with students while facilitating confidence, job satisfaction, and professional growth.

Originally an annual onsite program held at UMKC SOD, since 2009 the ADEA/AAL IAHE has been provided online utilizing UMKC SOD’s Blackboard and Wimba technology platforms. Two independent and complementary programs are offered each year: “Teaching Foundations in Allied Health Education” in January and “Advances in Educational Methods for Allied Health Educators” in June. In October 2011, the ADEA/AAL IAHE will add a new program titled “Building on the Basics.” This will be a blended-learning experience with a three-day onsite workshop at UMKC SOD and a follow-up online session.

More than 250 allied faculty have participated in the ADEA/AAL IAHE to date. Dental hygiene faculty comprise more than 90% of all participants. They have given rave reviews to the instructors—UMKC SOD’s Dr. Cindy Amyot and Dr. Pam Overman, and Dr. Christy Fellers of Milligan College in Tennessee—as well as to the curriculum, which has evolved to include best practices in teaching and learning, managing courses, using portfolios for student assessment, making use of technology in the classroom and clinic, planning academic career paths, working with struggling students, and confronting academic dishonesty. For the “Building on the Basics” program, October 7-9, 2011 onsite at UMKC SOD and online on October 19, brand new sessions will include:

  • Planning for tenure
  • Designing online courses
  • Exploring cultural diversity
  • Managing curriculum
  • Practicing test construction
  • Engaging different learning styles

In a recent interview, Dr. Overman reflected on the evolution of the ADEA/AAL IAHE and the advantages of a blended-learning program such as the new ADEA/AAL IAHE “Building on the Basics” course in October: “In the past three years, the January and July phases, delivered online using both synchronous and asynchronous educational methods, have created a learning community. The participants have become much more adept at using the technology. I am sure that is in part a reflection of our learning how to mentor participants, but I also see the increasing abilities in our participants. Participants LOVE the ability to make this work with their busy schedules.

“Even though past participants in ADEA/AAL IAHE programs have rated these online courses highly, they have also told us they value the opportunity to come together for a short, intensive face-to-face learning session when we can explore some new topics and build on our previous learning.” Holding “Building on the Basics” at UMKC SOD also offers the advantage of having Drs. Amyot and Overman at their home campus, with access to all of the facilities and technology resources of the school. This allows the program to pass along the savings to participants: the October course tuition is only $695, a genuine bargain for three days of workshops and 26 CEUs.

Another attractive aspect of the October program is the involvement of the participants. As Dr. Overman stated, “We are definitely wanting to use the participants as part of the program. We will let them tell their stories of how they have used the knowledge and skills they have gained. My favorite aspects of the ADEA/AAL IAHE involve those ‘aha!’ moments that make it worthwhile. Through the years, we have had many 'aha!' moments in our sessions, and we’ll be building on those in October.”

Several times Dr. Overman emphasized the following point: “Even though the October program builds on our previous programs, it is NOT required that you have participated in the January and June courses to get ideas and insights out of the October program. In fact, this would be a great workshop to start with, since you can build your network of colleagues face-to-face and then continue that friendship online in January and June of 2012.”

Complete information about the ADEA/AAL IAHE October program, including registration forms, is at the AAL website: http://www.academicleaders.org/IAHE_home.cfm. AAL Managing Director George Weinstein can answer questions and provide group discount details at gweinstein@academicleaders.org or 404-350-2098.

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