School of Dental Medicine

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Teaching Philosophy

The UNLV School of Dental Medicine is building a program based upon philosophies that foster dialogue between faculty and students. We believe collaborative exploration and expression are vital links to the continuous improvement and evolution of the program. The sections below — our mission, our commitment as teachers, and our expectations of students — describe the school’s teaching and learning beliefs in more detail.

Our Mission

  • We will encourage students to learn and practice beyond the evaluation of simple competency — moving toward a higher level of expertise.
  • We will teach students skills that are beyond simple competency, so that as professionals they will be able to self-assess their ongoing educational needs and continue to build upon their expertise.
  • We will equip students with the ability to think critically — enabling them to evaluate and respond to individual patient needs.

Our Commitment as Teachers

  • We will demonstrate ethical and caring professional behavior.
  • We will continuously challenge students to think beyond the content of their education toward its application in real life situations.
  • We will strive to set an example. Textbooks and methods change over time, but the example set by a good instructor is always fresh in students’ minds even after years of professional life.
  • We will recognize and acknowledge mistakes as a way of learning and becoming better, both as educators and as students.
  • We will strive to create an environment where students feel safe in asking about a difficult decision during clinical care and allow teachers to help correct small errors before they grow into big mistakes.
  • We will encourage avid learners and motivate those who have a tepid interest.
  • We will strive to prepare students for the complexities of the health profession by acknowledging and cooperating with other disciplines to provide an integrated and fulfilling predoctoral experience.

Our Expectations of Students

  • We expect our students to strive toward the best they can deliver.
  • We expect honesty.
  • We expect an understanding of the level of competency and expertise required to earn a doctoral degree.