Laurie Strand, DDS, named 2020 Adjunct Clinical Faculty of the Year

Laurie Strand, DDS

Laurie Strand, DDS, is the 2020 Adjunct Clinical Faculty of the Year awardee, announced earlier this summer.

Chosen each year based on a student vote, the Adjunct Clinical Faculty of the Year award recognizes one adjunct instructor who serves in the clinics each year for their excellence in teaching and clinical expertise.

When Strand found out she had received the award, she was surprised and delighted. Having been on leave for the summer, she heard from a colleague that a large package had been delivered for her. She opened it, and inside was her plaque.

“I was almost stunned,” she said, joking that she thought it might be a prank. But she found herself grateful, humbled and excited to receive the award.

“I feel like I’m accepting this award on behalf of and representing all faculty,” she explained. “Students see me everywhere: the clinic, pre-clinic, implant. And it feels good to be recognized.”

“Everywhere” is an accurate way to represent Strand’s involvement at the School of Dentistry. Starting five years ago when she sold her practice of 30 years, Strand achieved her career-long goal of coming back to the University to teach.

This was not her first experience with the dental school; after she graduated in 1989, she taught once a week for seven years. “I loved it,” she recalled. “And I knew when I retired, I still wanted to teach.”

She started working in the implant clinics, as well as with pre-clinical students and throughout the clinics. She enjoys every part of it, but especially working in the implant clinics, “which is where my passion is. We regularly use digital dental scanners, and the students are very eager to use this technology,” she said.

She loves teaching because of the access it gives her to working with students. “They are so optimistic, and they have such positive energy,” she said. “Every time I teach, it reinforces what I know. I get to be part of the process: co-discovering and co-diagnosing, it’s awesome.”

Strand also appreciates her colleagues, saying they are “such a fun group to work with.” In particular, she loves working in the implant clinic, where dental assistant Darla DeAngelo always plays music. “It’s like being at a party,” she said. “Working with smaller groups creates great memories.”

Above all else, Strand appreciates working with groups of students and colleagues. “I just love the collaboration with other instructors and students,” she said, “and the inter-departmental work, it is so important to keep your brain going.”

Though she has technically retired, Strand has no intentions of packing up any time soon. She plans to continue teaching “as long as it’s fun and I feel that I’m making a difference,” Strand said.