Since opening its doors in 1967, the MUSC College of Dental Medicine has grown into one of the top dental colleges in the country, by almost every measure. Academically, its students consistently rank in the top quintile on their national board exams. As South Carolina's only dental school, the college is an important source of dentists in a state that is currently under-served in terms of dental care. About 75 percent of the college's graduates have chosen to remain in South Carolina, and over half the dentists now practicing in the state are MUSC graduates. Meanwhile, the college has rounded out its instructional and clinical programs with a greater emphasis on research, a step that is sure to put the college on the cutting edge of dental treatment and training.
The Macaulay Museum, a treasure trove of historical memorabilia tucked away in a beautiful corner of campus, remains our fundraising priority this year. We intend to renovate and rededicate Macaulay, one of only a few remaining dental museums in the country, to create a lasting tribute to our dental history.
The Alumni Board Room is an exciting new project that is long overdue. Formerly known as the Buhler Conference Room, renovation costs will amount to $50,000 and will provide a dedicated space for alumni meetings, for the use of visiting alumni and friends, and as a resource for the college’s faculty and staff. The Alumni Board Room will be a versatile conference space that will be technologically enhanced for various computer, teleconferencing, and presentation needs. Class photos through time will be featured on the walls to remember and honor the college’s alumni.
We recognize the importance of physical setting in providing the best learning environment. With that in mind, we plan to renovate the front lobby of our Basic Science Building on Ashley Avenue to reflect our history as a college. We intend to make modern design improvements while creating space to proudly display photos and mementoes from over the years.
We also plan to improve classroom 433, a key instructional space. We intend to add smart boards and modern seating to make this classroom most conducive to modern dental instruction.
The Dental Legacy Society includes alumni and friends who have planned to make gifts to the college through their estates. Those gifts include contributions from inheritance, retirement, life insurance, property, stocks and other vehicles. In addition to investing in the future of the college, these donors also can claim tax benefits or payments for life by designating the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine as a beneficiary. We want to educate more people about this type of gift and also identify donors who already have included the college in their estate plans so that we may honor and recognize them.
Our loyalty fund supports the college in myriad ways. It benefits students by providing funding for scholarships, fellowships, travel, instruments and books. It also provides dollars for building renovations and overall improvements that elevate the college’s standing – which, in turn, makes MUSC more competitive in securing grant funding. For alumni, the loyalty fund only enhances the value of their degrees. We aim to expand the fund’s capabilities in the years to come.
The prestigious McTeer scholarship, named in honor of our first black graduate, provides financial assistance to deserving students. We recently endowed this fund but hope to grow it to $1 million to offer a larger tuition award, which will ensure our ability to recruit the most talented aspiring dentists who otherwise might be unable to attend.
This modern facility, located on the fifth floor of the Basic Science Building, has advanced the college to the cutting edge of new technologies, in an environment designed to give students a feel for what it’s like to work in an actual, functioning operatory. Each of the lab’s 75 work stations is equipped with air, water and suction capabilities, as well as computer monitors for demonstrating techniques and procedures. Correct, ergonomically adjustable manikin heads, complete with lips, cheeks, gums and pre-fitted dentoforms that can be set up to mimic specific oral conditions. These “dental simulators” provide real-time feedback and are capable of storing information, so that instructors can review student performance at a later time and provide constructive commentary. Furthermore, preliminary studies have suggested that, compared to traditional methods of instruction, dental students can learn these skills twice as fast using simulators and other forms of computer-assisted learning. This translates into even earlier clinical studies. Instead of beginning clinical practice experience in their third year, students move into clinical practical experience during year two.
Finding a dental health provider is a challenge for children and adults with special health care needs, especially those in rural communities. One major obstacle to access to care is lack of providers willing and comfortable in treating those patients. The college addresses that provider shortage through our pediatric dental clinic and our special care clinic for patients with all types of disabilities, from adolescents with autism to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients receive care from students and residents under the supervision of trained faculty. In addition to providing dental care to those in need, this addition to the clinic curriculum also increases qualified providers throughout South Carolina, since 70 percent of our graduates remain in state.
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The James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is one of the most advanced dental education centers in the United States.
For nearly 50 years, the College of Dental Medicine’s reputation has garnered and commanded respect and continues to be highly sought after by students seeking to receive their dental training through MUSC.