History of the College
The College of Dentistry was founded in Nashville in 1878. It is the oldest dental college in the South, and the third oldest public college of dentistry in the United States. The college was located in Nashville until 1911, when, in order to secure larger facilities, the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee moved it to Memphis. In that year, authorities of the University of Memphis transferred all of its equipment and the good will of its Dental Department to the Board of Trustees of The University of Tennessee. Through this union, the facilities and equipment of the two institutions were merged into one college.
In July, 2014 the Department of Dental Hygiene, including the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and the Master of Dental Hygiene programs, were transitioned from the College of Health Professions to the College of Dentistry. This transition enhances the College’s ability to meet the oral health care needs of Tennessee and the surrounding MidSouth Region.
Mission of the College
The mission of the College of Dentistry is to improve human oral health through education, research, clinical care and public service.
Philosophy of Education
The faculty of the College of Dentistry is committed to the education of health professionals whose primary responsibility will be the prevention of oral disease and the maintenance of the oral health of the public. This encompasses the recruitment of well-qualified and motivated students who understand the need for a commitment to improving the welfare of those they serve, as well as the personal obligations of continuous development.
Because of the changing patterns of dental disease and the rapidly changing demographics reflected in the populations of the nation, the dentist and dental hygienist of the future must be better prepared to change with the times. Students must develop a background that equips them to understand basic scientific principles and concepts, as well as an understanding of how these principles and concepts can change. The student must be able to apply scientific principles to the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene and possess the inquiry that will promote advancement of this knowledge. The practitioner of the future must appreciate the value of research as an innovator of change, as well as the need for lifelong learning to remain current in scientific knowledge. The educational program provides opportunities to gain the basic knowledge and skills essential to the effective delivery of dental care. It also strives to prepare the student to apply this information in creative ways when dealing with unique clinical problems that do not have typical solutions.
A part of professional growth includes the recognition that the support of others within the profession is important to the welfare of the professional and that of the patient. Finally, the student must recognize that, by becoming a member of a profession, one assumes responsibilities which extend beyond oneself to include the profession, patients, family, community, nation, and alma mater.
Administrative Structure of the College
The Dean of the College is assisted by an Executive Associate Dean and Associate Deans for Academic Affairs, Clinical and Extramural Affairs, Post Graduate Affairs, Faculty and Student Affairs, Institutional Affairs and Financial Affairs and an Assistant Dean for Pre-clinical Affairs. Diagnostic Sciences, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health, Periodontology, Prosthodontics, General Practice Dentistry, and Dental Hygiene are each administered by a Department Chair and serve as the academic base for the faculty.
Organization of the Faculty
The faculty is organized by departments to constitute functional units in the major disciplines of the dental and dental hygiene curriculum. In addition to the full-time and part-time faculty members in the College of Dentistry, the teaching personnel includes faculty of the colleges of Medicine, Health Professions, Pharmacy and Graduate Health Sciences. A complete listing of faculty, by department is available on the college website at http://www.uthsc.edu/dentistry/Fac_Depts/.
Location and Physical Facilities
The College of Dentistry is fortunate to have excellent facilities for classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction. The Humphreys General Education Building, built in 1977 and shared with other colleges on campus, provides 146,250 square feet of space for lecture, laboratory and self-study. It houses the lecture rooms and laboratories for all preclinical courses, except the gross anatomy laboratory which is located in the Wittenborg Anatomy Building, which is immediately adjacent to the Humphreys Building. The Humphreys Building also houses a computer laboratory which is utilized by both faculty and students. The Winfield Dunn Dental Clinical Building was completed and occupied in September 1977. This building contains 96,500 net square feet in five floors, providing 322 patient treatment chair units, administration and faculty offices, students’ lounge, dental maintenance shop, dental clinical support laboratories, conference rooms, student laboratories, central sterilizing area, and other essential housekeeping and support activities necessary for the normal activities of a dental education facility. The main clinical teaching area was renovated and refurbished with state-of-the-art dental chairs and units in 2009-2010. A new addition is under development to house the growing needs of the College.
The dental education program and the advanced specialty education programs in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, Oral and maxillofacial dentistry, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Likewise, the program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is http://www.ada.org/100.aspx. The College also falls under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as part of the accreditation of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus.
The Dental Alumni Association is organized to promote the welfare of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the College of Dentistry and its graduates. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry Alumni Association works in conjunction with The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Office of Alumni Affairs on a number of activities throughout the year. The Dental Alumni Association sponsors the MidSouth Dental Congress that is held each year in early spring. This meeting features nationally known speakers, presentation of the annual award of “Outstanding Alumnus,” and class reunions. The Office of Alumni Affairs arranges receptions for alumni at various state, regional, and national meetings.