Characteristics of full-time faculty in baccalaureate dental hygiene programs and their perceptions of the academic work environment.

Marie A. Collins, Cordelia D. Zinskie, Douglas R. Keskula, Ana Luz Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess the current characteristics of full-time faculty in baccalaureate dental hygiene programs in the United States. A mail questionnaire was sent to program administrators for distribution to faculty. Program response rate was 89.7 percent (26/29), and full-time faculty response rate was 68.3 percent (114/167). The percentage of dental hygiene faculty who are at the associate or assistant professor ranks was similar at 35.1 percent and 34.2 percent, respectively. Forty percent of faculty are not on a tenure track, and 38.6 percent are tenured. The faculty who responded to this survey were almost exclusively white (93.9 percent) and female (95.6 percent), and their average age was 50.2 years. Faculty reported several areas of dissatisfaction with the academic work environment, including lack of time available for student advisement, class preparation, and keeping current in field, as well as concerns about heavy workload and inadequate compensation. A majority of the respondents (56 percent [39/70]) indicated that they plan to retire from the labor force in ten years or less. Three conclusions may be drawn from the findings of this study: 1) there is a lack of diversity within the dental hygiene faculty, which currently consists primarily of white females with few underrepresented minorities and males; 2) if trends persist, there will be a noticeable shortage of dental hygiene educators in the future as faculty move toward retirement without equivalent numbers of younger individuals joining the ranks of the faculty; and 3) there is a lack of published information regarding dental hygiene faculty characteristics. To address the potential academic workforce shortage, we make two recommendations based indirectly on the findings of this study: 1) the American Dental Association should include more information on dental hygiene faculty characteristics in its existing annual survey of all accredited programs; and 2) the number of advanced education programs in dental hygiene should be increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1402
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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