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Dental education research

Programme directors

Dr Lee Adam, Director

Dr Susan Moffat, Deputy Programme Leader

Programme staff

Key research staff, postgraduate students and collaborations

Understanding how students learn and fostering best practices in teaching

We investigate a wide range of educational activities and experiences in higher education and professional development that pertain to the practice of dentistry in its broadest sense.

In dental education research we study factors affecting learning and teaching. We examine ways to improve educational experience, and seek to improve support for students and teachers. We look for evidence to tell us what is working well, and what needs to be improved.

Education as a theme has a broad scope. Many members of the Faculty of Dentistry are involved in a variety of activities that may fall under the umbrella of educational inquiry. For example, these can range in focus from personal teaching development, to exercises in quality assurance, and curriculum review, to continuing professional development, and to empirical studies.

Broad scope of education projects

Research in dental education focuses on enhancing theoretical and evidence-based policies and practices in teaching and learning. Researchers in the Dental Education Research Programme typically examine educational experiences in the Faculty and other dental education environments in order to foster a positive impact on education in both the clinical and traditional teaching and learning environments. We seek to use research to identify strategies and practices that can improve experiences and support for students and educators, both within the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry, and in other education environments.

Projects underway include:

  • The value of clinical placements in Australasian dental education
  • Stress and mood states of New Zealand dental students
  • Comparing the microbiology syllabi between University of Otago and the world’s top dental schools
  • Clinical tutors and their teaching practice
  • Perceptions of stressors of Bachelor of Oral Health students
  • Sustainable staff recruitment and retention in Dentistry
  • Feedback processes in the clinical dental learning environment
  • Practicing destination of past Bachelor of Dental Surgery graduates

More information on these research projects can be found in our Dental Education research programme profile (linked at right).