ADEA CCI Liaison Ledger

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Cynthia C. Gadbury-Amyot

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While all ADEA CCI Liaisons share a passion for innovation, very few come to this work having had the experience of pioneering an educational innovation. Not so Cindy Amyot. Dr. Amyot joined the team of ADEA CCI Liaisons two years ago at the request of her dean. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) already had several dental school faculty working with ADEA CCI, but as the university's Director of Distance Education and Faculty Development, Amyot was especially well positioned to inform other faculty about ADEA CCI initiatives. She also brought some extra savoir-faire to the table, having previously faced the challenges of bringing about change on her campus.

Ten years earlier, Amyot's son, an 8th grader, came home from school with several long-term assignments that required students to integrate their knowledge across the curriculum and present their learning in portfolios. At the time, Amyot was a professor on the faculty of UMKC's dental hygiene program. She recognized the potential value of the portfolio in higher education and took the idea to her program director. Two years later, portfolios had become a regular feature of the dental hygiene program.

"Being able to accurately evaluate one's own performance is a hallmark of professional competency," says Amyot, "and that's what portfolios do. They force students to reflect, and this leads them to understand the curriculum as a whole."

Amyot feels strongly that a portfolio from an accredited institution should be the criterion for licensure. She believes that portfolios are more pedagogically sound than one-shot clinical licensure exams, because they provide longitudinal data with multiple evaluators. She is in the process of working with two other university-based dental schools on a multiyear study of performance assessment. She hopes the research will further validate the reliability of portfolios as an assessment tool in a competency-based educational program.

For more information on Dr. Amyot's work, see the Resources section.

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