The College of Southern Nevada Dental Hygiene Program is doing well despite the state budget cuts. We graduated 24 associate degree students and 10 bachelor degree students this past academic year. We also have record high of 26 students accepted into the B.S. program this Fall. Several of our associate degree students have continued on in the bachelor's program to obtain their BSDH one year later. All of our associate degree students took the dental hygiene national boards (on computer this year) and successfully passed with scores above the national average.
We have had several changes this past year, we have hired two new full-time faculty. 1) Karen Portillo, RDH, MSDH who has worked for us part-time for several years who had been full-time temporary last year to replace Mary Ann Haag who had retired. She obtained her Master's of Dental Hygiene from Idaho State University, which is one of only a couple Master's programs that are online. 2) Cara Lutes-Kirby, RDH, BSDH who was a full-time temporary hire last spring. She was hired to replace Patricia Gerber who had left CSN to pursue other endeavors. Dr. Larry Pierce, who had been with the CSN dental hygiene program for 15 years as a supervising dentist, decided to retire and spend time with his family. Lastly, Evelyn Tankersley, our administrative assistant for several years, has also retired as of August 30, 2010. She is sorely missed by faculty and the students.
The program has had the opportunity to grow in technology thanks to the various educational grants which supplement our program. This technology has allowed the students to become more adept at working with digital radiograph and dental software programs. We have also started conducting electronic clinic patient surveys which have helped us assess not only the services the students provide but the clinic environment.
This Fall we accepted our last class of 30 students, next Fall we will only be accepting 20 students into the A.S. program. This decision was made by faculty and administrators with the advice of our Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee in response to declining workforce needs.
Lastly, May 2011, our program will have their 7 year accreditation site visit from the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. The faculty has been busy this last year preparing for this visit which occurs over two days. The primary objective of the visit is to allow CSN to demonstrate the effectiveness of the curriculum in regards to mandated national standards. Along with the ADA site visitors, a member of the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners will be visiting to review the curriculum as well. Next Spring CSN will be posting the opportunity for individuals to provide input to the Commission in regards to the mandated curriculum standards.
We appreciate all the support we receive from the community and the SNDHA and are looking forward to launching a new season of the mentorship program and working with the members at Give Kids a Smile.
Shari Peterson RDH, M.Ed.
Dental Hygiene Programs