Bulletin of Dental Education

The ADEA Future of Advanced Dental Education Admissions (ADEA/FADEA) Project

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Recent changes in the reporting of National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) scores have placed a focus on the postdoctoral admissions process. Advanced education program directors face new challenges in screening applicants and selecting the best candidates for their programs.

Now ADEA has initiated the ADEA Future of Advanced Dental Education Admissions (ADEA/FADEA) Project, which will offer guides and tools to navigate the postdoctoral dental education admissions environment. The goal of ADEA/FADEA is to identify the best ways to review, compare, and select candidates for advanced dental education programs. It will identify best practices in admissions and assess the value of all inputs into admissions decision making (including not just test results, but also grades, letters of evaluation, class rank, and personal qualities).

The project's first activity is a survey of postdoctoral program directors that is being fielded now. The survey collects data on current admission practices and perceptions about the value of existing and possible new factors in the process. The survey has just been sent to the program directors of all accredited advanced dental education programs. The deadline for completing the survey is April 9.

"I am very pleased and proud to be part of the ADEA FADEA project, to address an issue that is so vitally important to the advanced dental education community and the dental education community at large," said Dr. Todd E. Thierer of the University of Rochester Eastman Department of Dentistry, ADEA Vice President for Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs. "It is crucial that as many program directors as possible respond to this survey so that we can have as much information as possible in generating the best strategies for applicant assessment. I know this is something we are all strongly committed to and look forward to sharing the results with you in the near future."

Next will be a meeting of stakeholders on May 18, 2010. Participants will represent ADEA Council of Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs (COHAEP), which vigorously supports this effort; dental specialty organizations; the American Dental Association (ADA), which is currently considering its own role in testing for postdoctoral admissions; students; residents; and dental school deans. At the meeting, they will engage in deeper discussion and clarification of the postdoctoral admissions process.

Initial ADEA/FADEA findings will be presented in fall 2010, through both a second in-person meeting with stakeholders and communications with the broader dental education community. (Be sure to check www.adea.org/fadea for new information and announcements.)

Findings may take the form of:

  •  Descriptions of best practices. 
  •  Recommendations for new or modified admissions models. 
  •  Potential changes to ADEA PASS, the common application portal for applicants to advanced dental education programs, voluntarily participated in by 80% of all programs. Changes could be realized beginning with the 2012 application cycle (opening spring 2011) and continue in the 2013 and 2014 cycles. 

Findings and best practices will be further developed at the next ADEA Summit on Advanced Dental Education, expected to take place in fall 2011.

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