Our strategic plan

Final approved plan – Sept. 1, 2013

Vision 1

In an atmosphere of rigor, respect and support, the VCU School of Dentistry is recognized nationally and internationally for graduating excellent dental professionals prepared to collaborate with other health care professionals in a climate of rapid and dramatic changes and possibilities affecting the future of the dental profession.

Goal 1.1
The School of Dentistry will provide its students an academic and clinical education that reflects the knowledge, skills and values needed for future success.

Objective 1.1.1
To develop and maintain academic and clinical curricula that reflect evidence-based advances in research, technology and changes in the oral and general health needs of the population


  • Define the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the future success of every DDS graduate, including academic, clinical, business, ethical and relational/leadership/supervisory skills (see list at Attachment A)
  • Revise the academic and clinical curricula to create a core curriculum to be successfully completed by every pre-doctoral dental student and that allows the students’ final semester for strengthening and individualization of knowledge, skills and values.
  • Continuously monitor emerging trends in dental education, research and practice and accreditation requirements to inform the faculty and to determine refinements to the written curricula
  • Broaden the patient population to reflect the experiences needed to fully prepare students

Objective 1.1.2
To prepare students to self-assess their learning outcomes and allow them opportunities to individualize their preparation based on areas of strength and interest and future career plans


  • Define and create specialty electives that allow selected students to pursue certain specialties in more detail in their final semesters
  • Define rubrics for appropriate assessment of knowledge, skills and values required for graduation and require their regular use by students to self-assess their learning
  • Diversify course delivery options to free time and provide students greater flexibility

Goal 1.2
The School of Dentistry will promote a collaborative, humanistic and ethical culture that benefits faculty, staff, students and patients

Objective 1.2.1
To affirm student learning success as a primary focus of relationships between and among students, faculty, staff and administration


  • Examine and revise policies and practices to promote a culture of collaboration among the faculty and staff
  • Strengthen the use of individual assessments that hold faculty, students, and staff accountable for the quality of their interactions with colleagues, students and patients

Objective 1.2.2
To implement approaches that both challenge and support students and their academic achievement


  • Create the function and role of a responsive student ombudsperson within the school’s administration
  • Implement a more effective mechanism and format for students to share their suggestions, concerns and issues with the administration and department heads
  • Re-examine the process by which students periodically assess faculty skills and behaviors to make the results more useful for faculty in continuously improving their courses
  • Institute meaningful faculty peer evaluation, beginning with the development by the faculty of a rubric to be used

Objective 1.2.3
To acknowledge the value of each employee in clinical and academic operations


  • Examine with staff ways to improve morale and implement the most powerful ones

Goal 1.3
The School of Dentistry will recruit and graduate highly qualified and diverse students

Objective 1.3.1
To make the School of Dentistry a more attractive option for students of different backgrounds


  • Promote an inclusive recruitment process to enroll the most qualified candidates
  • Create or identify organizational supports for a highly qualified and diverse student body

Goal 1.4
The School of Dentistry will recruit, develop and retain faculty who are inspired and qualified to meet the emerging needs of dental education

Objective 1.4.1
To ensure that current faculty members are fully prepared to teach the knowledge, skills and values defined in the new curriculum (See attachment B)


  • Create an on-going faculty development plan that will upgrade all faculty skills to meet the demands of the new curricula in the most effective ways
  • Create time in the school year for required faculty development with follow-up assessments and progress reported for annual evaluation purposes
  • Recruit highly qualified, diverse faculty
  • Seek an effective tenured/non-tenured faculty ratio

Objective 1.4.2
To recruit and retain the best forward-thinking and qualified new faculty


  • Screen candidates for demonstrated teaching potential/ability
  • Integrate new faculty into the curriculum prior to their independent teaching and clinical experience
  • Create mentorships for each new faculty member with appropriate senior faculty to develop their skills as educators

Goal 1.5
The School of Dentistry will be financially positioned to be a premier educational institution and employer in an increasingly competitive health care field.

Objective 1.5.1
To identify ways, including new sources of revenue, to contain student educational costs (tuition and fees) and support educational improvements


  • Examine opportunities for new sources of non-general fund support
  • Develop relationships to increase state funding support and enhance awareness of the operations and accomplishments of the School of Dentistry
  • Identify and implement operational efficiencies
  • Create a more productive, efficient clinic system while maintaining a high standard of care
  • Expand the patient population

Vision 2

Through collaboration, rigorous investigation and publication, the VCU School of Dentistry is known for its contributions in research and scholarship that advance dental practice and oral health.

Goal 2.1
The School of Dentistry will offer single and dual degree research-intensive Masters and Doctoral level programs

Objective 2.1.1
To define, establish and fund graduate programs that define the School of Dentistry as a national center for specialized oral health-related research


  • Create a curriculum and schedule to establish the programs in the School of Dentistry
  • Fully resource the programs including student expenses, expanded laboratory capacity, and faculty
  • Develop admissions and recruitment processes to attract students for research and academic career preparation
  • Create national awareness of the newly-created programs

Goal 2.2
The School of Dentistry will clearly expect and support research-intensive faculty to conduct and disseminate research that makes significant contributions to the field.

Objective 2.2.1
To achieve significant research advances by the School of Dentistry in the next five years


  • Pursue greater collaboration within the university and with other research institutions
  • Recruit research-intensive faculty members in the primary areas of cancer, microbiology-immunology, and bioengineering
  • Define clear expectations for the productivity of the research faculty
  • Offer mentoring, guidance, and administrative support as needed to enable faculty to meet research expectations
  • Provide start-up funding for new faculty hired to perform research and bridge funding for investigators actively seeking external support

Goal 2.3
The School of Dentistry will provide appropriate support to all faculty members and students interested in research

Objective 2.3.1
To expand the research capacity of the school


  • Identify ways to provide faculty the time away from other contractual obligations to engage in meritorious research and scholarship
  • Provide support to faculty in acquiring and managing research grants, conducting statistical analysis, complying with IRB requirements, and successfully navigating other research-related activities
  • Create mentorship relationships among faculty to support excellence in research activity
  • Establish a forum for regular sharing of on-going and planned research
  • Provide support and mentorships to students who are interested in pursuing research

Goal 2.4
The School of Dentistry will continuously explore and identify additional resources to support faculty and students in research pursuits.

Objective 2.4.1
To increase the resources available for research activities


  • Provide support to faculty and students in identifying sources of grant funding for research
  • Strengthen the relationship between research leadership and the development office
  • Strengthen research ties with the broader university, private foundations and commercial enterprises

Vision 3

Through excellence in patient care and leadership in service and outreach, the VCU School of Dentistry is a premier resource for oral health care in the community, region and state.

Goal 3.1
The School of Dentistry will be known for the high quality and value of its patient services, including undergraduate, graduate and faculty practice.

Objective 3.1.1
To provide patient services that are consistent with the mission of the School of Dentistry.


  • Increase interdepartmental collaboration to increase quality and efficiency of patient care
  • Make immediate operational improvements in efficiency
  • Inform long-term improvements by identifying and studying the clinic operations of the most effective and efficient dental school clinical operations across the country
  • Work with the university facilities department to make the clinics more physically available (e.g. parking) and develop needed resources for renovations
  • Gather and share timely patient feedback with faculty and students
  • Market patient services

Goal 3.2
The School of Dentistry will identify dentistry-related opportunities for community service by faculty, staff and students and encourage their involvement.

Objective 3.2.1
To ingrain and support community service as a value in dentistry


  • Create a service recognition program that has meaning for students, staff and faculty and the communities they serve
  • Examine use of leave and leave policies affecting students’ community service

Goal 3.3
The School of Dentistry will provide leadership in the Commonwealth on changes in the field of dentistry

Objective 3.3.1
To ensure that the region and the Commonwealth become and remain aware of emerging issues in oral and general health and are positioned to effectively address them in the years to come


  • Provide a regular forum for faculty, staff and students to examine and discuss emerging, significant issues in the field of dentistry
  • Attain greater visibility of School of Dentistry leadership with state government and the legislature in matters related to dental research, education and practice
  • Improve communication and relationships between the school and professional organizations dedicated to dental education, research and practice