Goal One: Develop and Sustain a Learner-Centered Educational Environment

Our Vision

Excellent education, guided by and grounded in sound scientific evidence, develops students for success as skilled professionals and effective leaders.

Class president speech

Our students, residents and faculty participate in interdisciplinary learning and research that benefits the college and its community of patients, and is guided by well-rounded curricula that produces professionals skillful in the art and science of dentistry.

We will employ innovative, evidence-based educational models to prepare our students and residents for success and continued effectiveness in a rapidly changing health care environment.


1-1. Systematically review and revise the curriculum across DMD and other programs to promote excellence and serve as a model for innovative dental education.

Incorporating the results of pilot tests, dental-education literature and best practices, implement a streamlined, contemporary curriculum in the DMD and advanced dental education programs in a learner-centered, humanistic environment.

Implementation Strategies

  • Eliminate redundancy in the curriculum to allow time for expanded learning opportunities in additional areas such as research, public health and emerging technologies.
  • Expand blended learning approaches, case-based learning, evidence-based practice and active learning throughout the curriculum.
  • Expand integration of biomedical, clinical and behavioral sciences in the curriculum.
  • Continue to identify and assess further curricular opportunities such as increased formative assessments that support student-centered learning, community-based learning and interprofessional education.

 1-2. Transition the UFCD curriculum toward a whole-patient care model.

Increasing curricular focus on comprehensive and coordinated patient care while supporting mastery of individual procedures offers significant opportunities for improved student learning and better patient care.

Curricular reforms will better integrate basic and clinical science, support critical thinking, provide earlier clinical experiences, and optimize the impact of biomedical advances through faster translation of research findings into clinical care.

Implementation Strategies

  • Explore centralized curriculum-management strategies in ways that will better integrate curricular content, increase efficiency and facilitate transdisciplinary patient-centered care.
  • Incorporate additional experiential, case-based and small-group learning relevant to various patient populations, especially children, seniors and those with diverse needs and backgrounds.
  • Adopt and support measures of effectiveness that include oral-health-related quality of life and patient outcomes.

1-3. Expand coordinated and meaningful interprofessional educational experiences.

SHPEP Student and DMD student

Providing patient care in a collaborative, integrated team environment is the hallmark of interprofessional education, and it ensures that UFCD students and residents acquire knowledge and skills to work within this modern landscape. The expected results are improved health outcomes coupled with the best available care supported by evidence. This shift is especially important given the aging of the U.S. population and a growing need to treat a broad range of patients diverse in age, medical risk and cultural background.

Implementation Strategies

  • Increase the number of collaborations and learning opportunities between UFCD and other UF health disciplines.
  • Maximize the use of technology to forge connections between UFCD students, residents and staff, as well as with other health professionals.
  • Recruit a broad range of health care professionals outside of dentistry to participate with trainees and faculty in UFCD clinics.
  • Promote earlier DMD student participation in clinical care.
  • Streamline the referral process for care and strengthen the quality improvement process for monitoring interdisciplinary care.
  • Evaluate workforce models of team approaches to patient-centered care.

1-4. Incorporate technology to provide students and residents with broader learning experiences.

Advances in educational technology have the potential to expand curricular flexibility and to customize instruction for individual learning styles. Online courses, apps, simulation and other approaches can be used to enhance learning as well as ensure that trainees are comfortable with the use of new technologies in care and in research.

Implementation Strategies

  • Analyze current curricula to identify potential areas amenable to online instruction, including pre-clinical coursework, using virtual patients, and enabling more digital imaging across all care centers and graduate programs.
  • Expand UFCD online learning opportunities for existing and prospective students, community locations, dental professionals and auxiliaries.
  • Make existing resources accessible for research use, including migrating axiUm, EPIC and other systems to searchable databases.
  • Consider use of various technologies to enhance education and point-of-care service.

1-5. Enhance the integration of research into predoctoral and graduate educational programming.

Residents perio

New insights and knowledge from research inform what we teach and how we provide care. UFCD currently ranks fifth among U.S. dental schools for NIH funding and has ranked in the top 10 for the past 15 years. Amid the rich research environment provided throughout the UF Academic Health Center, UFCD trainees and faculty have access to cutting-edge technologies and interdisciplinary collaborations that can revolutionize prevention and management of oral diseases. These strengths position us as a world leader in oral health research.

Implementation Strategies

  • Develop a process for students to engage in research activities across all four years of the DMD curriculum.
  • Expand UFCD faculty representation and active engagement with the UF Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.
  • Continue to support and enhance a system for effective and timely communication regarding ongoing research interests and activities of faculty and trainees, both within and beyond the UFCD in-house research community.
  • Involve research faculty and trainees in curricular revisions to allow greater flexibility for students to pursue dental and educational research.
  • Require evidence-based approaches in all clinical teaching.
  • Employ axiUm and other data-science approaches to facilitate longitudinal cohort studies and health-data mining for quality assurance.