Pankey Institute appoints new chairman of education

Oct. 26, 2009
Dr. James C. Kessler will begin his appointment in January 2011, succeeding Dr. Irwin Becker.

Dr. James C. Kessler, current chair of the Division of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma, has been named the new chairman of the Pankey Institute's Department of Education.

He will begin his appointment in January 2011, succeeding Dr. Irwin Becker.

"We are very excited to have attracted such a high-caliber educator with extensive experience in continuing postgraduate education," said Dr. Barry S. Segal, chairman of the L.D. Pankey Dental Foundation. "Not only do we get a top lecturer at the height of his career but also an expert clinician who has a passion for private practice. His desire to come to the nonprofit Pankey Institute is a real tribute to the Institute's long history as a standard bearer in continuing dental education."

"I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to continue the rich tradition of educational excellence for which the Pankey Institute has always been recognized," said Dr. Kessler.

"I am looking forward to working with, and learning from the Pankey Institute's extensive visiting faculty as the institute enters its 38th year. At the core of successful comprehensive practice are behaviors that engender patient trust and appreciation. The Pankey Institute's faculty and courses are still the dentist's best resources for developing an optimal behavioral foundation, as well as clinical skills for advanced practice. We're going to continue helping dentists grow in all aspects of dentistry, giving them the confidence to treatment plan and deliver advanced restorative cases, and developing closer collaboration with specialists and dental laboratory technicians."

Added Dr. Kessler: "There are two goals at the top of my list. First is staying in communication with the institute's students and alumni, and second is instilling in our students the passion for life long learning."

Dr. Kessler earned his DDS degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1977. He entered practice as an associate and taught part time in the department of endodontics at OU, as well as teaching in the general practice residency at Children's Memorial Hospital.

When offered a position to teach full time in the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics, he joined the faculty and taught for the next seven years attaining the rank of associate professor with tenure. Continuing his career in academics, he accepted an appointment at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine as a tenured associate professor in the crown and bridge department. At South Carolina, he lectured in advanced laboratory techniques, ceramics, fixed prosthodontics, and occlusion.

After 10 years in dental education, Dr. Kessler transitioned into private practice in Tulsa, Okla., where he remained for the next 18 years. He continued to remain active in teaching, lecturing to groups of dentists, dental laboratory technicians, and students. In addition, he was active in three study clubs, including the Tulsa Seattle Study Club.

In 2007, he was presented an opportunity to return to dental education. He was named the Herbert T. Shillingburg Professor of Fixed Prosthodontics and chair of the Division of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.

Dr. Kessler co-authored a textbook with Dr. Herbert T. Shillingburg, has been a contributor to other textbooks, as well as published articles in the dental literature. He has presented more than 300 lectures to dental and dental laboratory groups, residencies, and study clubs across the United States, Canada, Europe and parts of Asia.

He is a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, American College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Academy of General Dentistry, and Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry. He was the 2004 President of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, currently serves on its foundation and finance committees, and has provided the academy with more than 20 years of service.

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