College of Dentistry starts in fall 2013
The U’s first new college in 60 years was approved at the Academic Senate meeting Monday. Passed with a unanimous vote, the College of Dentistry will start accepting applications in the fall and enrolling in fall 2013.
“This school of dentistry is a natural evolution of a dental program at the U,” said Glen Hanson, a dentist and a professor in the College of Pharmacy. “This is the first dental school of this type associated with this kind of research university in 30 years.”
The dentistry building is being funded by a generous private donation that includes costs for operation and maintenance, Hanson said. He also said members from the American Dentistry Association visited the site and offered no official recommendations, instead giving their full support.
“We can see there is a real need to train dentists in the state,” said Vivian Lee, senior vice president for Health Sciences. “By offering the training program within the state we can ensure that the program will be high quality and that we can attract the best and brightest.”
The department hopes to build a top 10 dental program within the next decade and will focus its efforts on recruiting top faculty and building programs around them, Lee said.
Because of the urgency to establish the program — the donation comes with the caveat of enrolling the college’s first class next year — the Assembly moved the debate and passed the creation of both a dental degree and college with a unanimous vote instead of waiting to vote next month.
Other motions passed at the meeting included clarifying rules governing fraternal organization at the U, including limiting membership to U students, enforcing city zoning ordinances, and adding discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity to prohibited practices.
A religious studies major for undergraduate students was also approved by the assembly.
“The creation of the major is the extension of an existing minor that has been really successful,” said Muriel Schmid, a professor in the Department of Languages and Literature.
Also during the meeting, ASUU President Neela Pack said the Marriott Library will again be open 24/7 during the week before final exams and announced this year’s senior class gift, a new U-themed Jamba Juice flavor that will be sold at the retailer’s Salt Lake locations with a percentage of proceeds going to a scholarship fund.
Pack also asked if any research had been done about offering freshmen midterm grades to help them realize how the flexibility and freedoms of college might impact their academics.
Tom Hethmon, a professor in mining engineering, introduced the proposal for a mining safety and health excellence center, which passed.
“While the [mining] industry has made leaps and bounds in many aspects, it still remains one of the most dangerous in the world,” he said.
A master’s degree in geographic information science was also approved unanimously.
The implementation of the new degree will better equip students for the future of geography as technology plays a larger role, said George Hepner, a professor in geography.
“[We’re proposing this] in response to the changing field, the broader integration of science and technology … We’re responding to an occupation demand,” he said.
Other programs approved included certificates in health communication on both the graduate and undergraduate levels; an interdisciplinary certificate of sustainability; emphases in comparative language and cultural studies; and official recognition of the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.
Editor’s note: The article originally said the college would start enrolling students this fall, but was changed to reflect the college’s enrollment in fall 2013.