• The demographic and academic profile of Irish dental school faculty members.

      O'Sullivan, Eleanor M; Cork University Dental School and Hospital, Wilton, Cork. eleanor.osullivan@ucc.ie (2010-04-23)
      AIM: This paper reviews the demographic, academic and professional profile of Irish dental school faculty members. Faculty duties are explored. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Custom-designed questionnaires were distributed to faculty members for self-completion, adopting a 'mixed-method' approach with quantitative and qualitative components. Response rate was 64.60%. RESULTS: Demographic profile reveals a male-dominated regime (64%). Males also occupy a disproportionate number of senior academic positions. The age profile mirrors international trends with 75% of staff over 40 and c.33% over 50, including 78% of professorial staff (p < 0.001). Dental school faculties are comprised of highly educated professionals with the following qualifications: 89% BDS, 43% FDS, 39% Masters, 16% Doctorates. Most (77%) have 10+ years of clinical experience, while 47% have over 20 years' experience. Clinical experience varied by age, rank (p < 0.001) and gender (p < 0.05). A review of contractual agreements and duties confirms the major role of part-time clinical staff in dental education, comprising the largest single group (48%) delivering the bulk of the clinical teaching. However, 54% of part-time clinical staff have less than five years teaching experience. This study also explores staff views of various faculty roles. CONCLUSIONS: This report provides a benchmark profile of Irish dental school faculty members. It reflects on the heavily skewed age groups of our current dental educators and the impending retirement of many senior academics. Educational organisations need to explore ways to make a career in dental education financially and sociologically attractive and provide adequate support for existing faculty to ensure their development during these challenging times.