November 2008 Faculty Spotlight
Dr. Cynthia C. Gadbury-Amyot
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