The USC School of Dentistry took the next step in the accreditation process when it welcomed the American Dental Association’s Committee on Dental Accreditation review team April 8-10.
During the site visit, the team interviewed administrators, faculty, staff and students, and verified information in the school’s 2008 Predoctoral and Specialty Programs Self-Study reports.
Mahvash Navazesh, associate dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life, said the site visit was an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to show the visitors the excellent work being done at the school.
“It was our opportunity to make a lasting impression and highlight the true spirit of the Trojan Family,” said Navazesh, professor and chair of the Division of Diagnostic Sciences.
The April site visit was part of the accreditation process for a majority of the school’s academic programs.
A site visit for the endodontic and oral surgery programs will come at a later date.
The self-study report, which involved input from students, faculty and staff, is a key part of the accreditation process, because it identifies the school’s strengths and weaknesses and lays out a plan for improvement. Navazesh expressed appreciation for school-wide help and cooperation in the review.
Navazesh said the self-study, which took about two years to complete, identified many strengths including a consistently strong pool of applicants, outstanding faculty, and excellent academic performance by students. The self-study also noted strengths in faculty and student research and quality of care for patients.
The self-study identified several opportunities for improvements. The school assigned a high or medium priority level to each area that needs improvement and created short and long-term plans to address them.
High priority goals are to:
• Boost on-time graduation rates
• Create benchmarks to measure learning outcomes
• Add computers, networks and other information technology resources
• Increase office, teaching and research space on the dental campus
Medium priority goals are to:
• Improve quality assurance
• Improve public relations and internal communications programs
• Increase the number of clinical education venues
• Improve students’ understanding of the trimester grading process
• Improve management of the Problem-Based Learning curriculum
• Increase recruitment and development of young faculty
• Increase efforts to reduce class sizes
• Establish a contingency fund.
Copies of the report are available for review in the Wilson Dental Library, which is located on the lower level of the Norris Dental Science Center.
“The self-study process gave us the opportunity to evaluate where we were in the past, where we are today and where we want to be in the future,” said Navazesh.