Staying at the Forefront through People, Programs, Facilities

Dean Ferrillo addresses the crowd at the Alumni Luncheon.
Dean Ferrillo addresses the crowd at the Alumni Luncheon.

The Fairmont Hotel was filled with the energy and excitement of nearly 1,400 alumni who recently returned to San Francisco for the 111th Annual Alumni meeting held March 12-13.

We have an incredibly talented and tight-knight group of alumni. It was a pleasure to get to know more of them at this annual meeting and at regional events throughout the year.

During my remarks at Friday’s awards luncheon, I had a chance to share my pride in the strength of our people and programs, and present some ideas about the future, especially as it relates to our facilities.

First, as our alumni exemplify, we have amazing students and residents graduating from the school each year. People are at the heart of our school’s culture and behind our incredible success. A caring and humanistic approach, leadership, collaboration, philanthropy and other positive values are demonstrated by our students, faculty, staff and alumni every day. It’s refreshing to see people living these values, especially in a world often consumed with less-than-positive values.

In addition to our people, we are fortunate to have respected and innovative programs. From the nation’s only three-year DDS curriculum, to all of our other academic offerings, including our International Dental Studies, graduate and continuing education programs, we continue to be known for high-quality education. We’re not resting our laurels, however. We’re moving forward to define new standards for education. For example, the Pacific Dental Helix Curriculum currently being implemented places a strong focus on active learning and critical thinking through integration across multiple disciplines and the use of small-group, case-based learning.

Great organizations, including great dental schools, have great people and programs, as well as great facilities. As we continue to move forward to sustain our unique culture and advance our programs, we must also take a look at our facilities to make sure they serve the needs of our school. The Dugoni School of Dentistry has always strived to stay at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, materials and clinical advances used in the practice of dentistry. We must also take a hard look at our existing building to make sure our physical classrooms and clinics are designed to fulfill the modern needs of dental education and clinical practice.

After a thorough study of our existing facilities over the last two years, the University’s Board of Regents recently approved the dental school to take an even closer look at facility needs for the future. The school is now moving forward with a feasibility study to examine relocating the dental school within San Francisco. You may have read the recent news announcement.

This is truly an exciting time. As we evaluate our current and future needs for space, we must think about how classrooms and clinics should be designed for the future. I look forward to working with all of our stakeholders, including our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, as we plan for the future of our facilities.