News | July 19, 2000

Dr. Bruce Graham becomes dean of UIC, sets vision

CHICAGO -- Dr. Bruce Graham, former dean of the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Dentistry, officially started as dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry April 1, but that did not prevent him from arriving early to publicly reveal his two-part vision for the College at Clinic and Research Day on March 29.

"The first part is that by the year 2005, our peers in dental education will think of us as one of the top 10 colleges of dental education in the country," Dr. Graham said. "In the year 2010, we'll be one of the top five."

Dr. Graham expects the college to be judged "by living and demonstrating preeminent excellence across the mission of the college -- in our teaching, research, scholarship, service to the community through our patient care, and service to the university as a strong collaborative college in UIC."

Progress will be measured "by benchmarking -- by comparing this college to the top five colleges in the country that are our peers, those that are about the same size, urban and state-assisted," Dr. Graham says.

To know where you're going you have to know where you are, so Dr. Graham studied the college's strengths and needs.

"We have some outstanding faculty, students who are well-prepared to enter dental education, and a university that is very supportive of its College of Dentistry," Dr. Graham explains. "Chicago is a rich environment in which to flourish, and the university's academic health center is very strong, with colleges among the best in their disciplines. The environment is rich for collaboration."

But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.

"We need to grow our diversity as much as possible, and optimize the diversity we have amongst students, faculty, and staff," Dr. Graham notes. "We need to tap that better."

"Our curriculum is conventional, structured along strict disciplinary lines, and that's an outdated way of teaching clinical dentistry and providing patient care," Dr. Graham explains. "The leading dental schools have moved to comprehensive interdisciplinary models during the last 15 years. We must move in this direction as well."

He also wants the college to grow its outreach activities to the metropolitan area, and Dr. Graham also intends to work on creating joint doctoral programs with other colleges.

"The opportunity to create a vision and achieve a pre-eminent excellence in education, research, patient care, and community outreach--that has a profound impact on my desire to make a difference at the UIC College of Dentistry," Dr. Graham concludes.

Edited by Chris Smith

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