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Faculty retreat roundup

Development day concludes with awards, renewed focus on change

Have you ever heard the phrase “Change Happens!”? Well, that is exactly the case at this time in the history of Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry. Change is happening on multiple fronts — with the upcoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Quality Enhancement Plan, newly enacted Commission on Dental Accreditation standards and a new administrative regime.

Given all the opportunities for modification, members of the Faculty Development Committee thought it prudent to use the 2012 Annual Faculty Retreat to highlight some of the opportunities for change. Thus, the theme for the Jan. 5 event was “Perspectives for the Future.”  

Quality Enhancement Plan

The morning agenda focused on the SACS Quality Enhancement Plan, titled “CARE” — Critically Appraise Relevant Evidence, based on a proposal submitted by Drs. Bob Hutchins, professor in biomedical sciences, and Beverly York, associate professor in restorative sciences. Drs. Eric Solomon, professor and director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and Ann McCann, professor and director of planning and assessment, discussed the QEP’s origin, goals and objectives.

Following the retreat, McCann, also chair of the TAMHSC-BCD QEP Committee and member of the TAMHSC QEP Planning & Implementation Committee, summed up the CARE project by emphasizing its focus on teaching and assessing critical thinking and evidence-based dentistry.

“The retreat provided an excellent overview of the project and how it will be implemented here at TAMHSC-BCD,” McCann added.

York and Hutchins provided an overview of current and proposed evidence-based decision making and critical thinking coursework for TAMHSC-BCD students, including ways faculty members can enhance their own evidence-based decision making skills.  

Featured speakers

Dr. Joe Matthews, a general dentist in Los Alamos, N.M., and adjunct faculty member with the University of New Mexico, was the featured speaker. Matthews’ current activities include giving presentations for the American Dental Association Critical Review Panel of the Center for Evidence-based Dentistry and mentoring critical appraisers for the website ebd.ada.org. He is an advocate for evidence-based problem solving in dentistry and medicine in the U.S. and internationally.

During lunch, Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky, dean, discussed trends in faculty recruitment and retention. Faculty then met in small groups and discussed possible methods to promote critical thinking and the use of evidence in clinical decision making. 


Discussion for the remainder of the afternoon focused on the CODA 2012 standards.

Speakers and their presentations included:

  • Dr. Charles Berry, professor and associate dean for academic affairs, and Dr. Dan Jones, professor and chair of public health sciences — provided an overview of the standards and TAMHSC-BCD’s community-based student activities. Berry said it is not too early to start preparing for the October 2018 site visit, as “Increased emphasis is being placed in the new accreditation standards on cultural competence, evidence-based dentistry and decision making, as well as increased external clinical experiences.”   
  • Dr. Ernie Lacy, associate professor and director of student development — highlighted the college’s pipeline program, which has resulted in the most diverse student population of all U.S. dental schools.
  • Dr. Lavern Holyfield, associate professor in public health sciences and director of faculty development for academic affairs — outlined the vision for cultural competence training for faculty, staff and students.  


In keeping with tradition, the Annual Faculty Awards were presented at the end of the day. 

Award recipients include:

  • Dr. Jordan Schweitzer, associate professor in endodontics – Teaching Excellence Award
  • Dr. Danette McNew, clinical assistant professor in general dentistry – Clinical Teaching Excellence Award
  • Holyfield – Institutional Service Excellence Award
—Contributed by Dr. Lavern Holyfield, associate professor in public health sciences and director of faculty development for Academic Affairs