Dental school receives approval



The U approved the creation of its first college in many years, which will begin its tenure debt free.

The U Board of Trustees approved a new School of Dentistry on Tuesday. The school will enroll its first class of students staring in Fall 2013.

The college has received approval to construct a new building to provide classroom and clinical space for the new school. A donation, along with private funding, will allow the program to start free from debt.

“Because we are able to start the program debt-free, we will be able to offer reasonably priced tuition,” said Glen Hanson, professor of pharmacology and toxicology. “Students will be able to graduate without huge amounts of debt.”

Students in the dental program have expenses between $85,000 and $115,000 annually. Tuition for the new program is expected to be similar to the medical school, which is about $29,000 annually.

G. Lynn Powell, interim dean of the School of Dentistry, and Hanson, adviser to the dean, met with the accreditation team from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The first stage of accreditation was completed when CODA sent a site team to campus in March. The administration met with the site team for two days to go over the college proposal, academics and facility resources.

The site team was excited about the prospect of a dental school opening at a top research facility, the first in 20 years, Hanson said.

“We have excellent resources in research available to us here. We hope to establish collaborations with existing programs on campus,” he said. They also hope to build programs in pain management, addiction, genetics and dental prosthesis.

The administration is expecting the program to attain a position on the list of top-10 U.S. programs within the next 10 years. At the top of the list are programs from Harvard University, the University of the Pacific and the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

Students in the existing dental program attend classes in the medical school buildings and take classes at the U for one year before transferring to Creighton University School of Dentistry in Nebraska to finish their additional three years of clinical study.