Letter from Dean MacNeil
Several weeks ago I informed our faculty, staff and students that I would be ending my term as dean of the SDM in July of next year and rejoining the faculty.
As July rolls along, I will have been in this position just shy of twelve years, a unique distinction, since the average duration for a dental dean is now about half of that time span. I must tell you that it has been a tremendous experience for me – one that, looking back several decades, or generations! – I could not have dreamed possible. I thank UConn, and you, for this incredible opportunity, and I believe that we’ve made the most of it.
We have accomplished a great deal together here: an entirely renovated and significantly expanded dental school infrastructure; new research labs modelled on a collaborative premise; new state-of–the-art preclinical laboratories and classrooms, including perhaps the most advanced virtual reality teaching capacity in the country; by early 2019, a new and contemporary Dental Care Center for our faculty, residents and students; an entirely redesigned medical-dental curriculum using a team-learning approach that better links the basic and clinical sciences; next year, the introduction of a new clinical model for patient care and education which we call CONNcept; a new department, our Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) which we share in a very unique fashion with our sister schools of Medicine and Engineering; and faculty, residents and students who continue to receive national and international recognition through exceptional academic performance.
I must confess however, that I am particularly proud of the rejuvenation of the Alumni Association and the great spirit and involvement that we now see from alumni. Our association is now recognized as one of the strongest and most active of the UConn colleges, and that is going to put to put us in a great position as we move ahead. As you have heard me say many times, “Great schools are going to be built around great alumni”, so our future is indeed promising.
Other deans have told me over the past years that “you will know when the time comes to let someone else ‘take the wheel’. No one will need to tell you – you will sense it”, and that is exactly what happened. I was reappointed to my third five-year term in January and my “drive” for even considering this extension was the potential to move the School in additional new directions – a correlate with the major physical renewal we have accomplished here over the last several years. It became clear that the timing was not right for this; it was apparent to me that the time was ideal for the School to identify a new leader who would set their vision for the SDM. Whoever that may be, they will lead a rebuilt school, not just physically, but one with a strong and youthful faculty that is well respected on the national and international front. There could not be a better time to ‘pass the keys’.
Thanks for all your support and dedication to this great school that has done so much for all of us. I’m proud to call myself a UConn SDM grad, even if limited to my residency program, and I am even more proud to call you my alumni colleagues.
All the best,
Dean, School of Dental Medicine