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ADEA Educational Research and Analysis — April 2014

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Educational Research and Analysis portfolio recently released the results of the Dental School Vacant Budgeted Faculty Positions, Academic Years 2008–09 to 2010–11 in the Journal of Dental Education. ADEA conducts an annual survey to determine the characteristics of the turnover of dental school faculty, and finds that the total number of reported vacant budgeted faculty positions is decreasing.

In the 1990s, the number of vacant budgeted faculty positions increased, peaking at 417 positions in 2005–06. Since then, there has been a decrease in the estimated number of vacancies, just as new dental schools are opening. From 2008–09 through 2010–11, the total number of reported vacant budgeted faculty positions decreased by more than 17%, from 275 to 227. This dramatic decrease in number of vacant budgeted faculty positions is not due to the elimination of these positions.

The reported total number of lost positions, meaning those eliminated from the dental school’s budget, decreased by 35 percent, from 37 to 24. The last time a survey about vacant faculty positions was published (2007–08), the total number of lost positions had more than doubled from the previous year, from eight to 21.

The length of time positions remain vacant (Table 4) continues to remain steady at seven to 12 months until a position is filled. Also, the number of faculty separations from 2008–09 to 2011–12 has declined by half, from 1,156 to 601.

The survey information indicates various trends in the faculty workforce, factors that influence vacancies and its impact on dental schools. The primary reason for separation after completion of fixed-term employment by part-time faculty (Table 9) is entering private practice. However, the primary factors for full-time faculty separations are retirement and leaving to take a position at another dental school. The inflow into and from academia can be viewed here.