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Online Dental Hygiene Master’s Program Helps Alleviate Shortage of Dental Hygiene Faculty

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Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Of Interest | Dental Hygiene (M.S.) | March 31, 2016

GSBS is proud to announce our first online program, the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene degree in collaboration with the School of Dentistry.

The Dental Hygiene degree will prepare educators for faculty positions in entry level and graduate dental hygiene programs, thereby helping alleviate the national shortage of dental hygiene faculty.

A recent article by RDH Magazine explained that “Studies predicted that half of full-time dental hygiene faculty will retire and there will be approximately 900 faculty vacancies in dental schools in the 2010-2020 decade.”

Recent graduate April Turner, a registered dental hygienist living in Southern California, explained that she was attracted to the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH) because of its flexibility.

“I picked an online program for many reasons…I work full time and have a family so I wanted flexibility with my time. I felt an “on ground” class would not allow me to be flexible with study and reading. I also wanted to get an MSDH degree and there are no programs near me. The program worked well with my schedule and I was able to plan my time studying around work and family commitments.”

Turner explained that the program allowed her to study topics that interested her such as dental hygiene topics, research, and education.

During her time in the program, she conducted a national survey of dental hygiene students and faculty which asked them their preferences for and use of a variety of teaching methods including lecture, collaborative activities, technology and group work.

“I found that dental hygiene faculty are implementing the teaching practices suggested by experts on millennial learners however, student may not understand the reason for new teaching methods and reported lower preferences for them,” she said. “It was a challenging but rewarding experience. I had great support from my thesis chair, Mary Jacks, and she walked me through the process step by step. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Turner explained that an online program is different than an in-person program because it requires students to read material and understand it with less guidance from classmates and faculty.

“There are no tests but rather, many writing assignments and discussion boards to show understanding. It helped me become a better writer,” she said.

Turner’s thesis has been submitted for publication with the Journal of Dental Education and she plans to continue her career as a professor.

“I’m excited to see what happens next…[and] I am happy to have achieved this milestone,” she said.

LOCAL: The Dental Hygiene Division of the Department of Periodontics is hosting a tour on Friday, April 15 from 12:30 to 4:15 p.m., of the new Center for Oral Health Care & Research as well as the Long campus. Open to all but primarily intended for future dental hygiene applicants. RSVP to Margie Ytuarte, academic programs coordinator, at ytuarte@uthscsa.edu. - See more at: http://gsbs.uthscsa.edu/blog/dental-hygiene-closer-look-tour#sthash.E2QjT818.dpuf

The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio's Master of Science in Dental Hygiene degree provides graduates with the skills to assume leadership roles in academics, rural and community health settings, research, professional associations and commercial industry. To learn more, click here



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