About The College

A Brief History

The College of Dentistry was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1878. It is the oldest dental college in the South, and the third oldest public college of dentistry in the United States. The college was located in Nashville until 1911, when the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee moved it to Memphis, in order to secure larger facilities.

In that year, authorities of the University of Memphis transferred all of its equipment and the good will of its Dental Department to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. Through this union, the facilities and equipment of the two institutions were merged into one college.

In 1978, the College of Dentistry moved from Rogers Hall on the University of Tennessee campus on Monroe Avenue to its current location, the Dunn Building on Union Avenue. The Dunn Building was named after Governor Winfield C. Dunn. Gov. Dunn (1971-1975), who graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry with a D.D.S. degree in 1955. The Dunn Building contains 96,500 net square feet in five floors, providing 322 patient treatment chair units, administration and faculty offices, students’ lounge, dental maintenance shop, dental clinical support laboratories, conference rooms, student laboratories, central sterilizing area, and other essential housekeeping and support activities necessary for the normal activities of a dental education facility. The main clinical teaching area was renovated and refurbished with state-of-the-art dental chairs and units in 2009-2010. Additional rennovations to clinical and office spaces are ongoing in 2013.

The College of Dentistry is fortunate to have excellent facilities for classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction. The Humphreys General Education Building, built in 1977 and shared with other colleges on campus, provides 146,250 square feet of space for lecture, laboratory and self-study. It houses the lecture rooms and laboratories for all preclinical courses, except the gross anatomy laboratory which is located in the Wittenborg Anatomy Building, which is immediately adjacent to the Humphreys Building.

The Humphrey's building contains dedicated and recently rennovated pre-clinical dental labs; thus the College of Dentistry provides students with a 21st Century dental education. The rennovated pre-clinical labs in the Humphreys GEB Building has 36 workstations housing Interactive Virtual Reality Simulators that provide students with immediate graphic evaluation of tooth preparation. Each workstation has its own monitor so that instructors can demonstrate techniques to the entire class. These educational improvements, which utilize the latest technology available, enables the College of Dentistry to provide the best possible educational opportunities to its present and future students. The Humphreys Building also houses a computer laboratory which is utilized by both faculty and students. The Winfield Dunn Dental Clinical Building was completed and occupied in September 1977.

Additionally, several courses in the College of Dentistry work with the Kaplan Clinical Skills Center (KCSC) on the UTHSC Campus. The Kaplan Clinical Skills Center utilizes simulation technology and employs simulated patients to assist students in practicing their clinical skills. College of Dentistry interact with simulated patients in the KCSC to practice scenarios with patients that they may encounter in actual practice. In this way, College of Dentistry students can attain competency in the communication skills that are critical to the successful practice of dentistry.

National Standing

The programs in dentistry are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on the Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. This accreditation is the direct result of extensive periodic evaluation by the commission every seven years. Accreditation permits qualified graduates of the college to make application for all state and regional board examinations in the United States.

As an institution of higher education, the College of Dentistry is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as part of the regular accreditation process of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. In addition, the college is a member of the American Association of Dental Schools and the American Association of Dental Research.

Philosophy of Education

The faculty of the College of Dentistry is committed to the education of a health professional whose primary responsibility will be the prevention of oral disease and maintenance of the oral health of the public. This encompasses the recruitment of well-qualified and motivated students who understand the need for a commitment to improving the welfare of those they serve, as well as the personal obligations of continuous development.

Because of the changing patterns of dental disease and the rapidly changing demographics reflected in the populations of the nation, the dentist of the future must be better prepared to change with the times. Students must develop a background that equips them to understand basic scientific principles and concepts, as well as an understanding of how these principles and concepts can change. The student must be able to apply scientific principles to the practice of dentistry and possess the inquiry that will promote advancement of this knowledge. The practitioner of the future must appreciate the value of research as an innovator of change, as well as the need to be a continuing student in order to remain current in scientific knowledge.

The educational program provides opportunities to gain the basic knowledge and skills essential to the effective delivery of dental care. It also strives to prepare the student to apply this information in creative ways when dealing with unique clinical problems that do not have typical solutions.

A part of professional growth includes the recognition that the support of others within the profession is important to the welfare of the professional and that of the patient.

Finally, the student must recognize that, by becoming a member of a profession, one assumes responsibilities which extend beyond one's self to include profession, patients, family, community, nation, and alma mater.


The faculty is organized by departments to constitute functional units in the major disciplines of the dental curriculum. In addition to the full-time and part-time faculty members in the College of Dentistry, the teaching personnel includes faculty of the College of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Graduate Health Sciences. A complete listing of faculty, by department, is available on the Website.

Alumni Affairs

The Dental Alumni Association is organized to promote the welfare of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and the College of Dentistry and its graduates. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry Alumni Association works in conjunction with The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Office of Alumni Affairs on a number of activities throughout the year. The Dental Alumni Association sponsors the MidSouth Dental Congress held each year in early spring. This meeting features nationally known speakers, presentation of the alumni award of "Outstanding Alumnus," and class reunions.

The Office of Alumni Affairs arranges receptions for alumni at various state, regional and national professional meetings.

Degrees and Certificates Offered

The College of Dentistry offers a program of study leading to the Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree. Postdoctoral programs of study are offered in the following dental specialties, three of which lead to the qualified Master of Science degree:

  • Orthodontics Master of Science Degree
  • Pediatric Dentistry Master of Science Degree
  • Periodontology Master of Science Degree
  • Pediatric Dentistry Certificate
  • Advanced Education in General Dentistry Certificate
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Certificate
  • Prosthodontics Certificate


The Frank P. Bowyer Visiting Lectureship was established in 1980 through the generosity of Dr. Bowyer and his colleagues in the dental profession. Dr. Bowyer is an alumnus, past trustee of the University, and past president of the American Dental Association. This endowment makes possible as annual lecture by a prominent individual on the topic of organized dentistry, dental education, community dentistry, dental practice management, or other appropriate health care issues. The lectures are primarily for third and fourth year dental students, and add an important dimension to the educational environment of the College of Dentistry.

Hinman Student Research Symposia

The Hinman Student Research Symposium is held annually and features oral and poster presentations of research projects by dental students and postgraduate trainees from the University of Tennessee and from across the United States and Canada. The Symposium is cosponsored by the College of Dentistry and the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society. The objectives include the recognition of student achievements in dental research and the encouragement of careers in dental research and education.

Fellowships, Honorariums, and Associations

Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society

Membership in this national honor fraternity reflects recognition of high scholastic standing and consistent, earnest study throughout the curriculum. To be eligible for election a student must rank in the upper twenty percent of the class scholastically, be of high moral character, and show promise of making significant contributions to the profession after graduation.

The Richard Doggett Dean and Marguerite Taylor Dean Honorary Odontological Society

This society, dedicated to promoting high standards in the profession, was founded in 1948 in recognition of Dr. Richard Doggett Dean and his wife, Dr. Marguerite Taylor Dean, for long and faithful service to the University and dental education.

Dental Students Research Group (SRG)

A chapter of the Student Research Group was established in 1985. Students are encouraged to join the American Association of Dental Research/International Association for Dental Research (AADR/IADR). The University of Tennessee Health Science Center chapter of the SRG is represented annually at the national meetings of the AADR/IADR.

Research seminars and Journal Club meetings are held periodically to discuss ongoing research and review literature related to dental research.

American Student Dental Association

The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry chapter of the American Dental Association is recognized as the student governing body of the College. It is part of the national organization, which is associated with the American Dental Association. Dental students may join the American Student Dental Association and receive the ADA journal, as well as be eligible for the Association's insurance programs and other benefits. The membership fee is 65 dollars per year for students.

In addition to maintaining an excellent liaison with the faculty and administration, the organization encourages active participation of each student to work for the highest ideals of the profession.

Student National Dental Association

The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) strives to promote and encourage an increase in minority enrollment in all dental schools. The SNDA is committed to the improvement of the delivery of dental health to all people, with an emphasis on minorities and the under-served. This organization assists those programs within the greater community which require some measure of dental expertise, by educating and involving its members in the social, moral, and ethical obligations of the profession of dentistry and promoting a viable academic and social environment which is conducive to the mental health of minority students.

American Association of Women Dentists

The UT Chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) was formed to foster mutual support among female dental students and to provide personal, social and professional association with women dentists.


On The University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus are chapters of two national dental fraternities: Psi Omega and Xi Psi Phi. The Interfraternity Council aids in the formulation of policies relating to the activities of the fraternities. Through the help of the Council, each fraternity has a program that augments that of the College of Dentistry in preparing dental graduates for successful lives in the dental profession.

Honor Code and Honor Council

The Honor Code of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is promulgated in order that student academic affairs of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be conducted under the highest standards of individual responsibility, thereby promoting personal honor and integrity in the best traditions of the health science professions. Major responsibility for protection of the education process is assumed by The University of Tennessee Health Science Center students, who are directly responsible for the effective operation of the Honor Code.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Honor Code governs all students enrolled in The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Each college has established an Honor Council to function under the rules delineated in the Honor Code.

Alleged violations of the Honor Code are processed by the Honor Council of the college in which the alleged violation occurred. The Honor Council of the College of Dentistry is composed of four representatives from each class. Election of the representatives is in accordance with the bylaws of the Honor Code. More detailed information relative to the Honor Code can be found in the Student Handbook.

Dean's List For Scholastic Achievement

Each academic year students who have attained a grade point average of 3.25 or above are placed on the "Dean's List". A reception sponsored by the Dean and Omicron Kappa Upsilon is given to appropriately recognize this achievement.

Requirements for Graduation

To qualify for the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, the student:

  1. Must have satisfactorily completed all required courses of the curriculum, including the didactic, laboratory, clinical and practical courses, to the satisfaction of the faculty. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 (on a scale of 4.00) is required for graduation
  2. Must have satisfactorily completed all required comprehensive examinations
  3. Must have performed in a reasonable and professional manner
  4. Must have been enrolled in the College of Dentistry for all the senior year
  5. Must have discharged all financial and administrative obligations to the University

Graduation with Honors

All graduates of the College of Dentistry who attain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or better qualify for the designation of graduation with "honors". Students with cumulative grade point averages of 3.50 and above qualify for the designation of graduation with "high honors". Accordingly, the College confers to the graduate(s) with the cumulative grade point average of 3.75 and above, the distinction of graduation with "highest honors."

Facts about UTHSC and the College of Dentistry