It is no surprise to dental admissions personnel that there are few American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in dental school. I graduated from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry with my D.D.S. degree in 2003 and have worked with many AI/AN pre-health professions students since.
First, a short survey. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Students should always come to class prepared. Students can learn much from one another, often more than what I teach. The best use of my time is challenging students to think and problem-solve in the classroom.
Remember overhead projectors and mimeograph machines? In reflecting on the past 30 years in allied dental education, I can say one thing for certain: there is very little I do today that I was doing 30 years ago. Some of us still stand up front and lecture to our students about infectious diseases, professionalism, instrument selection, and pathological conditions, but many more of us are assigning readings, creating discussion forums, and asking students to critically reflect on these same concepts.
Every one of us who has something to do with the selection of dental school applicants dreams about students who are smart, educated, ethical, focused, generous, selfless, compassionate, mature, and culturally sensitive, with high social and emotional intelligence, good communication skills, excellent hand-eye coordination, perception ability, a hunger to learn, a healthy dose of self criticism, and the ability to walk on water....
At Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
(CUCDM), it all starts with the white coat ceremony, an event
recognizing incoming students as professionals and future
colleagues. This ritual shows respect for students from day one and
truly sets a tone of collegiality for the CUCDM experience,
inside and outside the classroom and clinic.