Bulletin of Dental Education

Indiana University-Purdue University Dental Hygiene Program Celebrates 50 Years and New Beginnings

(Allied, Around the Dental Education Community) Permanent link   All Posts

IPFW Photo
Photo by Jim Whitcraft, IPFW

The Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW) Dental Hygiene program recently joined the rest of the IPFW community in celebrating its 50th anniversary. In 1964, the Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene (AS-DH) program was founded in collaboration with the local dental community. Through ongoing support from the Isaac Knapp District Dental Society, which has provided faculty expertise and financial support over the last half century, the program has earned an excellent reputation for the high caliber of its dental hygiene graduates. Over 1,000 program graduates practice dental hygiene across the U.S. and globally.

Next May, the IPFW Dental Hygiene program will graduate its final AS-DH class. The 2015–16 school year marks the end of the AS-DH program and the beginning of the new Baccalaureate Degree program in Dental Hygiene (BS-DH). The incoming class of students, who began the program in August, is the inaugural class in the new BS-DH curriculum and will complete their degrees in May 2018.

The transition to the BS-DH has been brewing for several years as the employment and education climate within the health care fields has slowly evolved. In an effort to stay current, the school worked to expand the curriculum and institute a bachelor’s degree program. The BS-DH graduates will be better prepared to address the demands of private practice dentistry, but also be qualified for jobs in dental research, dental education, public health and dental sales and marketing.

The expanded BS-DH curriculum includes several additional advanced courses in one of three specialty concentrations—dental hygiene education, community dental hygiene or dental leadership and sales. In addition, the BS-DH students will complete a variety of general education classes with an emphasis on cross-cultural training and ethical decision-making. These advanced courses will help students master critical thinking skills and make them more competitive in today’s employment market.

As the BS-DH program has unfolded, over 50 completion degree graduates have returned to IPFW to earn the BS-DH degree after previously earning an AS-DH degree. Some have returned to IPFW after many years in private practice, while others have simply continued on immediately after graduating with their AS-DH, to complete the BS-DH degree. They appreciate the flexibility and employment options that the new degree offers them.

With the next 50 years in front of IPFW, the faculty and students are eagerly moving forward with the new BS-DH program and are excited about the expanded curriculum and career choices for graduates.

Published on October 14, 2015.
Duggan ad 2013