The Influence of Industry on Dental Education
Gillis, Martin R
McNally, Mary E
Journal of dental education 2010 Oct; 74(10): 1095-105
Academic dental institutions face the growing challenge of securing the resources needed to develop a curriculum that incorporates current innovation and technology to ensure that students' learning experiences are relevant to current dental practice. As a result, university-industry relationships are becoming increasingly common in academe. While these relationships facilitate curriculum relevance, they also expose students to external market forces. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of industry on dental education using a qualitative research study design. Analysis of semistructured interviews with thirteen Dalhousie University dental faculty members revealed two primary themes that suggest a tension between the traditional hierarchical organizational structures guiding curriculum (i.e., authoritarianism) and industry's quest for profit (i.e., entrepreneurialism). Additional themes demonstrate a belief that industry directly influences students' knowledge and understanding of evidence as well as their experience with both the formal and informal curricula. Industry's presence in academe is a concern. Dental educators, as stewards of the profession, must be nimble in brokering industry's presence without compromising the integrity of both the educational program and the teaching institution as a whole.
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