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From private practice to academia

Scholarship applicants sought for 2018 Institute for Teaching and Learning

January 30, 2018

By Kimber Solana

Dr. Wynkoop
Dr. Wynkoop

Gainesville, Fla. — Dr. Bonita Wynkoop had been in private practice for more than 20 years when she found an opening to pursue something she always wanted to do: teach.

In 2012, Dr. Wynkoop sold her practice, moved to Florida and took a part-time faculty position at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry. In 2015, she became a full-time clinical assistant professor at the dental school.

“I love teaching,” she said. “Even more than I thought I would. It has been a lot of fun.”

As someone who made a recent transition from private practice to academia, Dr. Wynkoop said her mentor encouraged her to attend the Institute for Teaching and Learning, a teacher-training program for full- or part-time dental educators and private practitioners interested in an academic career.

Dr. Wynkoop was among the 57 participants in the 2017 program, offered by the Academy for Academic Leadership. Each year, the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure grants scholarships to the AAL’s Institute for Teaching and Learning as part of a commitment to support dental education and ADA general dentist members interested in academia. Dr. Wynkoop, along with Dr. Stacey Swilling, received the ADA CDEL tuition scholarship in 2017.

This year, the ITL program is presented as a four-day onsite program from Aug. 27-30 in Atlanta. The program, which allows participants to explore all aspects of academia, involves class discussions, small-group projects, problem-solving exercises, observation and critique of teachers in action, peer feedback and presentations by ITL Scholars.

“As a premier teaching program, the Institute for Teaching and Learning exposes dentists considering academia to an array of essential skills relevant to current educational methodologies and enhances their ability to become effective dental educators in an academic career,” said Felicia Tucker-Lively, Ph.D., AAL director of professional development.

In addition, participants can expand their experience after completion of the onsite portion of the program by participating in AAL’s post-program sessions over the course of six months in order to be eligible to receive the ITL Plus Recognition. These post-program sessions include supplemental online activities, a distance learning opportunity and interactive webinars.

Applications are due May 15 for the CDEL tuition scholarship. CDEL will grant three scholarships by June 15.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Dr. Wynkoop said of her time at the institute. “When I first looked around the room, everyone looked important and that they’ve been doing this a long time. Then you find out that they were on the same boat I was. They were new to teaching.”

Dr. Wynkoop said she learned skills of a master teacher from experts in pedagogy, curriculum development, higher education administration and leadership. Participants also earned up to 50 continuing education units.  

Today, she’s brought back a lot of what she learned from the institute back in her classrooms.

“I’m asking my students more in-depth and probing questions,” she said. “I’m trying to incorporate higher thinking and encourage them to problem solve on their own.”

Dr. Wynkoop said a session during the institute also helped her learn more about the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

“As a course director, it was nice to learn and really understand the accreditation process and standards,” she said. “It was a great experience. I highly recommend it especially to those who came to academia from private practice.”

Since 2006, about 675 dentists have participated in the Institute for Teaching and Learning.

To learn more about the 2018 AAL Institute for Teaching and Learning, visit For more information on the ADA CDEL tuition scholarship to the Institute for Teaching and Learning, visit and search "Dental Educator and Teaching Scholarships from the ADA."