5 Questions With ... Dr. Jessica Kiser

Leonardo Marchini
Jessica Kiser, Ed.D., M.S., RDH, CDA
Dental Hygiene Program Director 
Cape Fear Community College

1: What’s the biggest challenge facing dental education today?

Dental education faces numerous challenges today, with many surfacing during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these challenges is to permanently replace the patient-based clinical exams with simulated patient, manikin clinical exams for licensure.

2: What’s a major development in your field that’s flying under the radar?

With changes to the Commission on Dental Accreditation Standards for Dental Hygiene Education Programs requiring part-time instructors to possess a baccalaureate or higher degree, as well as the reclassification of the dental hygiene profession in the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification system as “Health Diagnosing or Treating Professionals,” the profession is evolving into an essential member of the health care team. I believe we will see additional changes in the future related to these milestones, such as a change in the entry-level degree to a baccalaureate degree and more specific requirements on the type of degree or educational background for educators.

3: What’s the best career advice you ever received?

The best career advice came from my mother—to be thankful. Be thankful for your opportunities, success, family, friends and health. And remember to send a handwritten note of appreciation.

4: What’s something you think you’ll never understand?

I will never understand why teachers are not regarded as the most important and respected profession in society. Teachers mold the next generation and without them, we would not have all the other professions and occupations.

5: What skill or talent would you most like to develop?

Several years ago, I acquired my grandmother’s piano, which I learned to play as a young child. I stopped playing in middle school due to other interests. Now more than ever, balancing work and life is so important. Redeveloping my piano skills is one thing I plan to do to bring balance to my life.