Introducing the Oral Health Educator Certificate

A professor stands and teaches at the front of a lecture hall

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry is proud to announce its new Oral Health Educator Certificate Program.

Designed for educators wanting to take their teaching career to the next level, the program will provide dental and dental hygiene educators with the contemporary knowledge and skills needed for effective didactic and clinical teaching.

This certificate, unique in its focus on providing excellent formation for busy professionals, sprouted from the desire for more effective continuing professional development at the School of Dentistry and beyond.

A 2020 survey of School of Dentistry faculty revealed challenges inherent in attending typical professional development seminars in a way that balances work and life. One respondent shared, “the demand of clinical activities makes meetings during the daytime difficult.” Another shared, “I feel I am constantly overwhelmed with duties with the need to go from task to task, rather than having the luxury of learning and improving myself.”

These time constraints keep faculty members from pursuing higher education through a master’s degree, while one-time professional development courses lack the depth of a more traditional program.

Thus was born the concept for the Oral Health Educator Certificate: a twelve credit, four course series that provides attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective educator in the classroom and the clinic. Able to be completed asynchronously over six months, the program develops skills, while guiding learners in the exploration of contemporary educational methods, innovative teaching strategies and student assessment.

Learners will explore clinical teaching, didactic teaching, instructional strategies and assessment through online-self-paced courses. This allows the educator to maintain work-life balance while developing confidence as a teacher and familiarity with the academic environment.

“The curriculum, taught by experienced faculty, is designed so that participants can use the content to improve their teaching skills from day one”, said program director Cyndee Stull, DHSc, MDH, RDH.

Candidates should hold, at minimum, a baccalaureate degree and a current faculty appointment in a dental educational institution.Learn more at the Oral Health Educator Certificate website.