Sydney Dental School has launched a new short course pathway for DMD students to encourage senior students to pursue careers in dental academia and clinical teaching.
Endorsed by Sydney Dental School to help address the impending shortage of clinical dental educators in Australia, the new short course pathway is unique to the University of Sydney, offering students with an alternative career pathway into academic roles in dentistry.
Director of the initiative, Babak Sarrafpour, says “It encourages dental students to think beyond private practice after graduation and pursue their future career in dental academia.”
The pathway involves three new elective modules, Clinical Teaching, Leadership and Fundamentals of Teaching, which draws inspiration from the successful program developed by Associate Professor Zsuzsa Horvath at the University of Pittsburgh.
Launched earlier this year, the first group of students recently completed the first Clinical Teaching module, and have shared their experiences to help future students who might be considering this pathway.
"I was originally attracted to the elective because I've always been very interested in teaching. For me, this is because I have been very lucky to have some incredible clinical educators throughout dentistry, who really really positively influenced my learning.
I have to say I really enjoyed the program. I loved hearing from different guest speakers during our weekly tutorials and then applying that theoretical knowledge to our practical teaching soon afterwards.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in academia or becoming a clinical educator in the future, I think that this elective program will give you the perfect foundation for doing exactly that."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I learnt a lot from the guest speakers and from our supervisors during our simulation clinic sessions.
I would highly recommend this program to any student who is considering to work as a clinical educator or academic in the future."
"The clinical teaching elective really gave me insight into the ways that we're taught and how we learn in dentistry.
I know have a deeper understanding of different styles of teaching and understanding and not only through the perspective of a student but also that of an educator as well.
If every clinical educator took this course we would definitely have an increase in measurable positive outcomes in clinical and pre-clinical situations."
"This elective has opened up a pathway and provided an insight into what teaching philosophies are, better communication skills and what life as an academic really is.
It's just one more door in dentistry that's been open to us and it can lead to really great things."
"The opportunity to hear from some really experienced clinical educators about their teaching philosophies and their styles and then being able to take this knowledge and put it into practice in the simulation was invaluable.
It also gave us the opportunity to improve on some of our communication skills and things that are not necessarily restricted to a teaching environment, but also things that we can translate into our clinical practice and also to patient education."