Profile of Department Chairs in US and Canadian Dental Schools: Demographics, Requirements for Success, and Professional Development Needs

Document Type



The aim of this survey study was to develop a current profile of deportment chairs at U.S. and Canadian dental schools. The survey asked respondents to identify their responsibilities; describe the competencies needed to best serve in the position; and assess their needs in terms of professional development. An online survey with 35 items was sent to 754 individuals who self-identified as department chairs, department heads, or program directors. Overall, 269 responses were received (overall response rate of 35.7%). The results include demographic information, data on length of tenure in the position, predominant responsibilities and challenges faced in the position, competencies necessary for effective service, and an understanding of the needs of department chairs in academic dentistry. This report suggests methods to support the needs of department chairs, including better defining expectations of the position, creating a successful onboarding process, and providing professional development opportunities for chairs. These measures, along with the professional competencies identified as part of the study, will allow administrators to provide more specific support to individuals in essential leadership roles at their institutions.


dental education; dental faculty; faculty development; professional development; staff developments; occupations; staff management; department chair; dental schools

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