With the dental school faculty shortage expected to grow in the future, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) have joined forces to launch an innovative faculty recruitment program that will encourage and prepare students to enter academic dentistry. Designed to reach students attending all U.S. and Canadian dental schools, the new Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program is being established with $100,000 in support from the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF), the charitable arm of the American Dental Association.
"Ensuring the future faculty workforce is critical to the future of dentistry and to ensuring the oral health of the public," said Dr. Eric J. Hovland, ADEA President and Dean, School of Dentistry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "We are grateful to the ADAF for making it possible for ADEA and the AADR to launch this national effort to interest more of our students in becoming faculty members. This is an important step forward in easing the faculty shortage problem."
"This program can really make a difference," said Dr. Christopher S. Arena, ADEA Vice President for Students and a postgraduate student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Dental School. "Students with a passing interest in exploring academic careers often don't know where they can learn more. Others may have a serious interest but need guidance in preparing themselves to become faculty members. This program will rapidly become a valued resource for students."
The Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program will consist of two complementary efforts. In one, informational seminars will be presented to the more than 800 dental students attending the ADEA and AADR Annual Sessions. Designed to attract and identify students interested in academic careers, these four or five seminars will focus on such topics as the roles of full-time, part-time, clinical, and research faculty; loan repayment programs; and the importance of dental education to the continued health of organized dentistry. The other part of the program will provide a year-long learning and networking experience to ten students during their third-year equivalency. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, these students will teach in a preclinical course, work in a research lab, or provide lectures and will conduct structured interviews with faculty and administrators at their home institutions. Fellows will work together on group activities via a web-based network through which they will discuss clinical issues, online and reading assignments, problem-based learning exercises, and case presentations. During the year, fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend. At the end of the year, the fellows will share what they've learned in presentations at the ADEA and AADR Annual Sessions. A fellows alumni association will provide ongoing mentorship and guidance for fellows as they work toward faculty positions.
ADEA and AADR will initiate the Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program at their 2006 Annual Sessions in Orlando, Florida. Applications for the first class of fellows will be due June 30, 2006. A call for applications, with detailed requirements, will be issued in spring 2006.