Giving input

Under this tab you will find the means to provide individual input to the planning process, which may be done anonymously or attributed, and may be provided to the stakeholder group members that best represent your interest or to the process facilitators or both.

4 thoughts on “Giving input

  1. I would like to see the school of dentistry putting into practice the ‘going green’ statements that VCU puts forth. I would like to see change particularly in the way tests are administered. Many of my peers (in various medical schools) take their tests on their laptops (with a special software that locks down everything else on their computer for the test block) and clickers (for practicals). This not only reduces time and resources for scantrons/test packets, but it also provides immediate results about each student’s performance.

    Several minor architechtural details that could use improvement:
    -paper towel dispensers in several of the women’s bathrooms are dysfunctional.
    -filtered water fountains are far from where students have classes/labs. (fountains are on first floor and students’ classes/labs are mostly on 3rd and 4th floors)


    As a student who entered clinic this year, I have been pleased by the strong education we receive in operative dentistry. Unfortunately, I am very disappointed with our educational opportunities within many of the specialties. I find it difficult to understand why our tuition has risen while our clinical experiences has decreased compared to previous classes. For example, when my father graduated from VCU in 1984, he was required to perform multiple molar endo cases, multiple FPD cases, and had his own patient during denture rotation. Current students do the denture rotation in pairs, are lucky if they get one bridge before graduation, and are very unlikely to perform more than a few anterior endo cases (and molar endo is practically impossible).

    Some faculty encourage students to learn through challenging cases. Unfortunately, just as many faculty seem to want to avoid difficult cases, and encourage or force us to give our patients to the AEGD clinic. Similarly, some policies prevent us from performing procedures which competent dentist MUST be able to perform. For example, I believe that every dentist must be able to restore anterior implants, and I find it very strange that the dental school forbids us such opportunity. I even think that students should get to place an implant under appropriate guidance.

    I know it is easy for the school to think of reasons why students shouldn’t be allow to perform certain procedures, but I think the school should be asking, “If dental school XYZ can educate predoc students to place implants or perform molar endo, why cant we?”

    I think we lose a lot of patients due to excessive numbers of appointments and too much waiting on instructors / consults. I think full time GP faculty should be encouraged to only seek specialty consults if they are unsure of a situation. For example, much time is wasted getting endo and pros consults when GP faculty are fully competent. Axium also waste a huge amount of time, with 1 IOE appointment needing 2 patient signatures, and at least 8 swipes from faculty.

    Rotations should be measured by procedures performed rather than time spent on rotation. Most rotations provide students with very little opportunity to learn. For example, radiology rotation is a week long, but we only take radiographs on approximately 5 patients (and these are patients who other students bring to radiology and decided not to take their own radiographs.) We also have a few lectures. Most of the week is spent sitting on computers not doing work. Instead of a week long rotation, it would make more sense to incorporate the lectures into one of our other radiology classes, and have all students take their own radiographs when they bring their patients to radiology. This would give students an extra week in clinic which would also increase the schools revenue. Similarly, ortho rotation is 8 clinic sessions where previous lectures are repeated or we spend our time observing residents. In my entire rotation, I never saw actual treatment planning, but instead just saw wires being changed. Rather than having ortho rotation and observing, it would be more useful to get our own simple ortho cases which we treatment plan and perform in the ortho clinic (in the same way that we are not scheduled for pros but sign up for chairs when we need them). Pedo is a similar story where you go on rotation but can spend an entire day without actually touching a patient. Instead of pedo rotation, we could be assigned Pedo patients who we scheduled in the pedo clinic.

    As I alluded to earlier, some of our faculty are outstanding, and some of our faculty don’t seem very interested in teaching. This is not a secret within the dental school; every student knows which are the “good GPs” and which are not. I think it would be helpful if administrators had more of a presence on the clinic floor to ensure that faculty are present on time, stay on the floor the whole session, and give students the priority. Again, some faculty are great, but some faculty consistently come in late, leave the clinic for 15-20 mins at a time, and make students wait 10 mins or more while they talk to another faculty. I also think the school should focus on getting as many faculty in clinic as possible. I have been surprised to see faculty leave on light days and give the whole GP to one attending rather than stay and give more individualized attention to smaller groups of students.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to provide us such well illustrated issues. They will be shared with the Strategic Planning Committee,which includes two students.