Most U.S. dental faculty like their jobs, study finds

A recent study that surveyed 17% of the dental faculty in U.S. dental schools found that an overwhelming 71% are satisfied with their jobs.

Areas of high satisfaction included nature of teaching assignments and interaction with colleagues. Areas where participants showed less satisfaction included amount of time for research and the extent and quality of the faculty practice program.

"It is extremely positive to see how many current faculty are enjoying their academic careers, which sends a good message to individuals exploring academic dentistry," said ADEA President Charles N. Bertolami, D.D.S., D.Med.Sc.

However, "tenured associate professors expressed the greatest level of dissatisfaction," the study authors noted. "Opportunities for and support of professional development emerged as an area requiring substantially more attention from dental schools."

The study took into account 1,748 responses from 49 U.S. dental schools. Other findings included the following:

  • While 71% of the respondents were satisfied with their job, 8% expressed dissatisfaction.
  • 73% said they were satisfied with the intellectual challenges associated with their teaching responsibilities, while 7% were dissatisfied.
  • 18% were satisfied with the extent and quality of the intramural private practice program, while 25% were dissatisfied.
  • 23% felt satisfied with the amount of time they have for research, while 31% were dissatisfied.

The study, "The Quality of Dental Faculty Work-Life: Report on the 2007 Dental School Faculty Work Environment Survey," was conducted through a survey developed by the Academy for Academic Leadership on behalf of the American Dental Education Association Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI). The results were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Dental Education (JDE, May 2008, Vol. 72:5, pp. 514-531).

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