The success of any organization is measured by how effectively it meets its mission and goals. As a school within an academic health center, we must accept the responsibility not only to ensure organizational success, but also to continuously elevate the educational, research, and patient care standards of our professions. We must evaluate the product that results from investment of our valuable resources: faculty, students, staff, and facilities.
As you read in the Fall 1998 edition of the Beacon, "In the past, accreditation was centered on a self-study with an end point of seven years." Simply stated, self-assessment was the means dental education schools and programs used to reach an end point-accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). During the past several years, the New Jersey Dental School has implemented processes that will enable us to assess our outcomes on an ongoing basis and make required changes in a timely and effective manner. Addressing the challenge of the 1998 accreditation cycle was demanding but proved to be highly successful.
The final report from CODA will not be completed prior to our publishing deadline, but is expected to be available shortly. A preliminary report indicates that we successfully met or exceeded all standards identified by the Commission for both the predoctoral educational program and all postdoctoral programs evaluated.
The result of the accreditation process represents a shared success. It is the product of the support provided by the University Board of Trustees, President Emeritus Dr. Stanley Bergen and newly appointed President Dr. Stuart Cook, all the University offices that support our efforts, and our professional colleagues with whom we counsel and collaborate. It represents a team effort and should engender a sense of pride in each of you, our alumni, as it has in our faculty, students, and staff. Pride flows from personal success when an individual is associated with a valued outcome. It is manifested in behavior that reflects a positive attitude, an enhanced personal esteem, and a heightened sense of confidence. It is important to "feel good," for this carries over into all of our daily activities.
In closing, I would like to share with you an excerpt from a memorandum I sent to our entire faculty, students, and staff immediately following the site visit:
"The level of success achieved, as documented in the report, represents two major accomplishments. The first is the outstanding quality of our self-study and preparation for the site visit. The second, and most important, is our performance in meeting our mission of education, patient care, research, and service. Each of you has reason to be proud of your school and your personal success as a member of a community of health care professionals dedicated to the well being of the people we serve.
"The success was earned through a combination of dedication, perseverance, and a sprinkling of good fortunes. No one of us is perfect nor is our school, but our level of achievement as documented by our peers gives cause for a moment of self-satisfaction, as brief as it may be in light of all the great opportunities that have presented for the future.
"Words, at times, are deemed shallow. Please let me assure
you that I can think of no deeper expression of my feelings then
to say 'Thank You' to all the students, staff, and faculty
who have joined together as a team, each person of equal importance,
giving their best to reach a common goal.
Robert A. Saporito, D.D.S.