Global Health Nexus, Winter 2002

Two-Year Advanced Placement Program Comes to an End

New admissions to the College’s two-year Advanced Placement Program will stop effective September 1, 2002. The program allowed graduates of international dental schools who seek to practice in the United States the opportunity to earn a dental degree in two years, rather than in the traditional four-year period. NYU will continue to offer a three-year Advanced Placement Program.

“The primary factor influencing our decision,” said Dean Alfano, “was the introduction of a new, competency- and clinical case-based curriculum. There has been a dramatic change in the way dentistry is learned at the NYU College of Dentistry, and we concluded that international students who missed the first two years would be at a significant disadvantage in negotiating the new curriculum.”

Previously, an individual who had successfully completed a four-year program leading to a dental degree from an international dental school could enroll in the two-year D.D.S. program after passing Parts I and II of the National Board Exam and a comprehensive “challenge exam,” which determined an applicant’s level of proficiency in preclinical and clinical dentistry.

“The decision to reorient our agenda and focus on providing all students with a uniform educational experience is one that is consistent both with the direction established by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, which mandates a competency-based curriculum in every dental school, and with the NYU College of Dentistry’s willingness to innovate,” said Dr. Richard I. Vogel, executive associate dean for academic programs.

“In addition to a restructured curriculum,” said Dr. Andrew I. Spielman, associate dean for academic affairs and a chief architect of the new curriculum, “several other forces contributed to our decision to eliminate the two-year Advanced Placement Program.

“One was the recent opening of a high-tech clinical simulation and laboratory technology center. Students entering in the third year have very little access to this facility and would therefore have a serious gap in their learning experience.

“Also contributing to the decision was the fact that the NYU College of Dentistry now offers its entire curriculum on DVD to maximize students’ time, energy, and space, while ensuring access to a huge range of educational materials. The DVD facilitates the curriculum, which focuses heavily on integrating basic and clinical science, as well as case-based learning. Because students are able to move freely across the entire curriculum at any time and in any place, this new technology creates an asynchronous learning experience.

“It would be virtually impossible for students in the two-year program to gain the competencies that result from immersion in the new, four-year curriculum on DVD,” said Dr. Spielman. “Another issue is that DVDs remove some of the artificial barriers built into the traditional dental curriculum, which may send an unintended message to some students that science can be left behind after the second year. Continuation of the two-year program would only reinforce this philosophy.”

Added Dr. Spielman, “Our new curriculum recognizes the fact that lifelong learning is fundamental to professional growth. Because international students arrive at the College with a vast multitude of educational backgrounds, there naturally will be great diversity in the importance they attach to the continuing education of the dentist. We fully expect that the additional time spent by international students in the new curriculum will have a significant impact on their approach to lifelong learning.”