Bulletin of Dental Education

Unusual Meeting Format Reflects ADEA CCI’s Mission—Change and Innovation

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CCI Winner 2016 400wTen years after their inaugural meeting in the Big Easy, ADEA Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) Liaisons returned to New Orleans this June. They brought with them an ambitious vision—to shift the priorities of dental education from teaching to learning, from silos to systems, from procedures to people and—as one attendee put it—from feeding to fishing. 

The mention of the prescription to “teach a man to fish” drew applause during a joint session that kicked off the 2016 ADEA CCI Liaisons Summer Meeting and the close of the 2016 ADEA Allied Dental Program Directors' Conference. Jones Loflin, President of HOPE Inc., offered the dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental lab technicians and dental school liaisons in attendance a blueprint for implementing or accelerating change. Using gardening as a metaphor, Loflin urged attendees to think of change as an ongoing process that includes nurturing the soil (creating an environment that’s conducive to change), digging deep (asking change opponents to “help me understand…”), providing sunlight (a sense of urgency), water (resources), and pruning (eliminating activities that keep everyone busy without moving them closer to the goal).

Over the course of the next two and a half days, 85 ADEA CCI Liaisons from 41 institutions shared ideas, gathered tools for change and took part in ADEA’s first “Learning How to Assess Innovation” poster competition. In total, 32 schools presented posters outlining ongoing or aspirational projects. In Round 1 of the three-phase competition, teams of Liaisons evaluated the posters for innovation (how the project departs from current practice), significance (its importance to the future of dental education), collaboration (what human and other resources will be employed), implementation (how the idea would be carried out) and plans for measuring project outcomes. The next morning, the 10 finalist teams that emerged from the initial round of judging used skits, song and the power of rhetoric to pitch their ideas to a panel of mock dental school deans. 

The three most persuasive ADEA CCI Liaison teams advanced to a final round unlike any ADEA challenge on record. In a literal take on “out-of-the-box thinking,” the three teams were given “mystery” containers with items as diverse as packing peanuts, Christmas lights and masking tape, and were tasked with constructing three-dimensional representations of their posters in 30 minutes. The resulting diorama-like displays were evaluated by the other Liaisons, and scores from the three rounds were tallied. 

That evening, at a reception celebrating 10 years of ADEA CCI, Anthony Palatta, D.D.S., Ed.D., ADEA Chief Learning Officer, presented large checks for $1,500, $3,000 and $5,000 in seed money to advance the winning projects. The ADEA CCI Liaison teams hailed from the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry, and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry (UBC Dentistry). The ultimate first place winner was UBC Dentistry. In August, the ADEA CCI Liaison Ledger will profile all three projects, so stay tuned for more!

Befitting both the occasion and the locale, a member of the original ADEA CCI, Sandra Andrieu, M.Ed., Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry (LSUSD), was on hand. She shared her own “top tips” for realizing change and innovation. Among the lessons she learned while implementing interprofessional education at LSUSD, “Let your passion show and people will jump on the bandwagon.”

In addition to imparting words of wisdom, the meeting more than delivered on its promise of interactivity. N. Karl Haden, Ph.D., President of AAL, led a series of exercises that participants will be able to use at their own institutions to foster creativity and generate ideas. Geralyn Crain, D.D.S., Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Educational Support and Faculty Development at the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine, walked Liaisons through a framework for managing change, which they began applying to their own projects during the meeting. Frank Licari, D.D.S., M.P.H., M.B.A., Dean of the Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine – South Jordan (Roseman CODM), acquainted the Liaisons with a program he is using to “turn his faculty into dental educators.” Ninety percent of the Roseman CODM faculty are former private practitioners.CCI Group 400w

Dr. Licari is employing Barry Pogorel’s model of transformational leadership, which begins with the premise that to transform an organization, you must first transform yourself. Judging from the moving testimonials offered by the Roseman CODM faculty in attendance, the process may be painful at times but it pays off in the form of personal growth, more collegial relationships and a collective vision of a highly efficient dental school where learning can thrive.

The ADEA CCI Liaisons headed home on Thursday with new relationships, new ideas, techniques they can draw on, more fully fleshed-out plans for implementing their innovative projects and, in three cases, some cash with which to “water” their change initiatives. 

To learn more about the winning posters, watch for the ADEA CCI Liaison Ledger this August. You can find articles on other change and innovation initiatives by visiting this archive.

By Nicole Fauteux

Published on July 13, 2016.

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