Introduction to the ADEA Governing Process

The American Dental Education Association is an organization run by its members and has a democratically based governmental structure that at first appears complex. It really isn't. Nevertheless, members-especially new ones-would have difficulty trying to understand the Association by studying its Bylaws. This is a summary of the Association's structure and its policy-making procedures.

How ADEA is Organized

You first must know how ADEA is organized in order to understand the Association's policymaking procedures. ADEA is organized into four basic components: (1) the House of Delegates, (2) the Board of Directors, (3) councils and their administrative boards, and (4) sections.

ADEA House of Delegates

The ADEA House of Delegates is the Association's legislative (policymaking) body. It convenes twice at each ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition. The House of Delegates consists of the Board of Directors (see below) and all or some members of the Association's seven councils. All members of the ADEA Councils of Deans and Faculties are delegates. The numbers of delegates from the ADEA Councils of Allied Dental Program Directors; Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs; Students, Residents, and Fellows; and the ADEA Corporate Council are based on percentages of those councils' members. The number of section delegates depends on the number of sections. The councilor and chair of each section serve as delegates.

ADEA Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is ADEA's administrative body and is responsible for running the Association's affairs between ADEA Annual Sessions. It has 11 members-President, President-elect, Immediate Past President, the Vice President for each of the seven Councils, and the Executive Director. The Board of Directors can establish interim Association policies that are consistent with existing policies if it apprises the House of its actions at the next ADEA Annual Session.

ADEA Councils

Six of the Association's seven councils represent different constituencies at Member Institutions. The seventh consists of the councilor and chair of each ADEA section (see below). Councils represent their constituencies in the Association and at its Member Institutions. They identify, initiate, and oversee projects and reports of value to their members and other Association members. Councils may also participate in the Association's policy-making process. When requested, they identify potential consultants to the Board of Directors and other groups. All councils meet at the ADEA Annual Sessions, and some hold additional meetings between Annual Sessions.

  • The ADEA Council of Allied Dental Program Directors consists of the directors of dental hygiene, assisting, and laboratory technology education programs conducted by Member Institutions. In addition, the council includes directors of special allied dental education programs at the post-entry level that lead to a baccalaureate or advanced degree.
  • The ADEA Council of Deans consists of the dean of each U.S. dental school; the chief dental administrative officer of each affiliate (nondental school) member institution conducting non-hospital-based advanced dental education programs; the chief dental officer of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Public Health Service, and Veterans Administration; and the President of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry.
  • The ADEA Council of Faculties consists of one faculty representative from each U.S. dental school.
  • The ADEA Council of Hospitals and Advanced Education Programs consists of the chief of dental service and directors of general practice and specialty residency programs that conduct advanced dental education programs at Member Institutions.
  • The ADEA Council of Sections consists of the councilor and chair of each of the Association's sections.
  • The ADEA Council of Students, Residents, and Fellows consists of one student representative for each of the following types of programs conducted by all Member Institutions: (1) programs leading to the D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree, (2) advanced dental education programs, (3) dental hygiene education programs, (4) dental assisting education programs, and (5) dental laboratory technology education programs.
  • The ADEA Corporate Council consists of the official representative of each Corporate Member.

Council Administrative Boards: Each council except the Corporate Council has a five-member administrative board, consisting of a Vice President (who is an Association officer who serves on the ADEA Board of Directors), a Chair, a Chair-elect, a Secretary, and a Member-at-Large. Each administrative board meets at least once between Annual Sessions and is responsible for planning its council's ADEA Annual Session program and for managing the council's affairs. Administrative boards relate to their councils much as the Board of Directors relates to the House of Delegates.


Each ADEA Individual, Student, Honorary, or Retired Member may join any of the Association's sections. Each section is concerned with a particular academic or administrative area. Individual members may attend the meetings of any sections but can participate in the business affairs of only those to which they belong. Each section has a councilor, chair, chair-elect, and secretary. The section officers function much as the council administrative boards do, in that they plan their section's ADEA Annual Session meetings and manage the section's affairs between Annual Sessions.

Standing and Special Committees

From time to time, the ADEA Board of Directors appoints standing and special committees to assist it in its operations.