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Academic Careers in Dentistry. Presented by the ADEA Center for Educational Policy and Research. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams The Education of Henry Adams , 1907.

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Academic Careers

in Dentistry

Presented by the ADEA

Center for Educational Policy and Research

“A teacher affects eternity;

he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams, 1907


Exciting Opportunities Exist in Dental and Allied Dental Education, Research and Community Service through Academic Dental Institutions


“A student wants to feel that the instructor is not simply passing on dead knowledge in the form that it was passed on to him, but that he has assimilated it and has read his own experience into it, so that it has come to mean more to him than almost anything in the world.”

Randolph Bourne, Youth and Life, 1913


Teaching and Mentoring

  • Preparing and training aspiring professionals and scholars


  • Staying young through interaction with and mentoring of students
  • Shaping the future of the profession through sharing knowledge and

experience with


  • Course content investigation and impact on curricular design

“By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”

Albert Einstein, letter, March 13, 1954




Research and Discovery

  • Exciting scientific discoveries and their application to improve the quality of life
  • Creative use of the latest knowledge, materials, and technologies
  • Contribution to the development of the profession
  • Pride and excitement associated with being part of the scientific process

“ The constituency of academic medical centers, like that of the university, went beyond those individuals who taught and studied there. …academic medical centers, like their parent institutions, accepted the duty of utility—that is, of providing service to the society that supported them and allowed them to pursue their scientific interests.”

Kenneth M. Ludmer

Time to Heal, Oxford University Press, 1999



  • cont’d

Patient Care and Community Service

  • Providing hands-on patient care
  • Addressing access to care issues by providing service to the underserved and disadvantaged populations
  • Educating the public about the value of oral health
  • Serving as practitioners, advisors and decision-makers within the local and professional communities

“The art of leading, …is the art of dealing with humanity, of working diligently on behalf of men, of being sympathetic with them, but equally, of insisting that they make a square facing toward their own problems.”

S.L.A. Marshall Men Against Fire, 1947




Professional Leadership

  • Setting the agenda for dental education, research and general health care nationally and internationally
  • Freedom to achieve teaching, administrative, clinical and research goals
  • Intellectual stimulation and collaborations with colleagues
  • Interaction with leaders in dental and health professions education

Dr. Carroll-Ann Trotman, Associate Professor of Orthodontics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, is congratulated by then-ADEA President Dr. Rowland Hutchinson upon graduating from the ADEA Leadership Institute, March 2001.


“What constitutes the teacher is the passion to make scholars.”

George Herbert Palmer

The Teacher, Essays and Addresses on Education: The Ideal Teacher, 1908.


Dr. Richard Ranney is a Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Medicine and Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Education Policy and Research at ADEA

Benefits and Opportunities of an Academic Career:

  • Joy of teaching and continual intellectual stimulation
  • Varied daily activities
  • Enhanced opportunities for professional leadership
  • Employer-sponsored benefits, including retirement
  • Travel to national and international meetings—connecting with colleagues

Benefits and Opportunities of Academic Career:


  • Association with academic leadership for dentistry around the world
  • Research and excitement of discovery
  • Appreciation from students and colleagues
  • Loan repayment opportunities for dental faculty
  • Involvement in a variety of university activities (sports, arts, lectures, etc.)

Dr. Gerald Glickman, Professor and Chair, Department of Endodontics at Baylor College of Dentistry, serves on the ADEA Board of Directors as the Vice President for Sections.



  • Can’t make a decent living in academia
  • Federal and State loan forgiveness programs are available for young faculty
  • Base salary may be supplemented through patentable research, writing textbooks, public speaking and other academic endeavors


  • Excellent benefits, including retirement
  • No additional debt from starting/managing a private practice


  • There is less individual freedom


  • Academic lifestyle is exciting and lacks the daily routine of private practice


  • A
  • One must publish or perish


  • A variety of career tracks and clinical teaching is available to fit your interests

A View of Dentistry from Academia

Dentistry in not only a vocation, but—in an academic context—an exciting professional career on the cutting edge of research and intimately involved in the production of new knowledge



Getting Started

  • Talk with your professor, program director, department chair and/or dean about your interest
  • Seek guidance from the academic affairs/admissions department
  • Ask to shadow your instructor in the clinic, in the laboratory, and/or in the classroom

Student representatives at the 2003 Annual Session in San Antonio, TX.


Getting Started

  • Students:


  • Find out about additional training/experiences in scholarly activities (e.g. educational methodologies, research, public health, research)
  • Consider additional training in advanced programs, including DDS/PhD, MPH, MBA and other programs

Private and Military Practitioners:

  • Contact Dean or relevant department chair at your local school/program about part-time positions

Getting Started

  • Adjunct appointments provide a welcome change from the daily routine of private practice, and an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience
  • Opportunities exist for full-time non-tenure track clinical teaching appointments for those seeking a career change
  • Gain additional training/leadership experience for full-time academic appointments and advancement

Future of Academic Dentistry

    • Academic dentistry as an essential part of a “health team” alongside the academic medical community
    • As a young, bright, ambitious academic you have a superb opportunity to shape the future of the profession and dental education for generations to come
  • Academic dentistry as a tremendous opportunity for leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs who can ignite and motivate the profession

Council of Students representatives at the 2004 ADEA Annual Session in San Antonio, Texas



We would like to thank the following individuals for their contribution:

Dr. Richard Ranney

Dr. Gerald Glickman

Dr. Caroll-Ann Trotman

Prof. Nancy Zinser

Prof. Kathi Shepherd

Members of the CEPR Advisory Committee: Dr. Michael Alfano, Mr. Robert Dickler, Dr. Raul Garcia, Dr. Jay Gershen, Mr. Robert Johns, Prof. Kathleen Morr, Dr. Marian Osterwise, Dr. Kathleen Roth