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Unit 1 Scenario

You are a professor at one of our nation's dental schools. The Dean has just sent out an email announcement to the faculty indicating that you have recently been named a Site Visitor to the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

In this role you will be part of a team who conducts site visits to other dental education programs. In her message to the faculty she congratulates you on this appointment and indicates you are the only faculty member serving as a Commission Site Visitor. She further comments that the experience you gain can prove helpful to the school as it anticipates its own self-study scheduled to begin in two years, followed in 18 months by the site visit.

That afternoon you receive a telephone call from a young woman who just recently completed an advanced dental education program and is in the first year of her appointment as a tenure track assistant professor in the school. She asks if she can schedule a luncheon appointment to discuss "accreditation" with you.

At the luncheon engagement, your young colleague introduces the topic by saying she realizes that you are the individual in the school most knowledgeable about accreditation. She indicates that she is very ignorant about the matter, but realizes that it is an important issue for her as a dental educator and relevant in her desire to advance professionally. She further indicates that someday she too would like to be considered by her peers to be worthy of being named a Site Visitor to the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

She asks you to tell her about accreditation: What is the purpose of accreditation? What does it mean to be accredited? Do you have to be accredited? Is the government involved? Who accredits? What is the Commission on Dental Accreditation? When did it start? What is the process of becoming accredited and staying accredited? What did the dean mean by a "self-study?" How is one selected to be a Site Visitor to the Commission? What does a Site Visitor do?

Can you answer these questions for your young colleague? Actually, they are questions every thoughtful and informed faculty member should be able to answer. This module will assist you in answering these questions.