By the end of this summer, three brand new dental schools will open their doors to their very first incoming classes. These schools are East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina, Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine in South Jordan, Utah, and Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Illinois located in Downers Grove. Midwestern University enrolled its first dental school class on its Glendale, Arizona campus in 2008. All three of these schools have been granted “initial accreditation” by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and have admitted full classes of dental students for this coming Fall 2011 semester. East Carolina University has enrolled a class size of 50 students, Roseman University has enrolled a class of 80 and Midwestern University-IL has enrolled a class of 125. With the addition of these three new dental schools, the total number of dental schools in the U.S. has climbed to 61.
The very first matriculating class of a dental school has the unique opportunity to bond very closely with the faculty, receive more attention than those in dental schools with 4 full classes of students, as well as get involved in the initiation and establishment of their dental school’s chapters and organizations. Of course, with the rewards also come the challenges. The first class of a dental school may have the disadvantage of being the “guinea pig” class. They may not receive the same benefits that a more established dental school will be able to provide its students (for instance, East Carolina’s brand new clinics…but pending completion of the construction! Check out their live construction cam here).
Roseman University and Midwestern University-IL are both private dental schools while East Carolina University is a state school of North Carolina, currently open to only North Carolina residents. Though a private institution, Roseman University will be the first dental school established in the state of Utah. The fact that North Carolina is now opening its second state dental school while other states such as Massachusetts, New Mexico and Wisconsin have yet to establish public dental schools for their residents may be puzzling or even frustrating to some dental students.
It is projected that 20 more new dental schools will have opened their doors to eager dental students by the year 2020. Is this a good answer to the challenge of barriers to care?
What are your thoughts on being a part of an inaugural class of a brand new dental school? Wise or risky?
~Allison Ferris, Tufts ’14, ASDA Administrative Extern