Guidelines for Libraries Serving Dental Education Programs
Introduction: Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs
as published by the Commission on Dental Accreditation
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) operates under the administrative auspices of the American Dental Association (ADA). The Commission, which was established by the ADA House of Delegates in 1975, has independent and autonomous responsibilities which "include formulation and adoption of accreditation standards for predoctoral, advanced dental and allied dental education programs, the accreditation of dental and dental-related educational programs and provision of a means for appeal from adverse decisions of the Commission to a separate and distinct body" (8).
The Commissions "
mission is to ensure the quality of dental and dental-related education by conducting accreditation reviews to determine the degree to which individual programs meet the Commissions published accreditation standards and their own stated goals and objectives [and] to enhance and encourage improvement in the quality of its accredited educational programs" (8).
"The self-study is the principal component of the process by which the Commission on Dental Accreditation carries out its program of accrediting dental and dental-related educational programs. The self-study is intended to involve all the communities within the institution in an internal examination of the ways in which the institution and its programs meet its own stated purposes and the accreditation standards approved by the Commission" (8). It is designed to lead an institution through an appraisal and analysis of its education programs to determine if the institution is meeting its own stated goals and objectives and is in compliance with the relevant CDA accreditation standards (8).
The self-study guides developed by the Commission for the various dental education programs ask that the institution gather information about specific areas of the institution, such as administration, financial resources and facilities, faculty and staff, curriculum, and research; the self-study also requests that the institution make an assessment of its compliance with its own stated goals and objective and with each of the listed "must" statements from the relevant accreditation standard. The data are gathered together and the findings and recommendations are reported to the Commission in a "coherent self-study report." The completed report helps to "demonstrate to both the institutional personnel and the visiting [Commission] committee [during a scheduled site visit to the institution] that the program is…meeting its own goals and the Accreditation Standards or that the analysis indicates that specified improvements could and/or should be made" (8).
Listed below are four examples of the accreditation standards and/or requirements for libraries and learning resources as printed in the various CDA documents:
Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs
approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, December 1985, revised December 1986, May 1988, May 1990, and May 1991; effective date January 1, 1988.
Standard 2: Financial Resources and Facilities
2.3 Resources of the library and related learning centers must be adequate to meet the educational and research goals of the institution.
The library must maintain holdings in the fields of dentistry, biomedical sciences and related areas that are highly diversified and of high quality. The holdings must be current with a mechanism for faculty to review and select current titles and periodicals for acquisition. Space and materials for alternative instruction modes should be available to faculty and students.
Standards for Advanced Education Programs in General Practice Residency
approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Dental Association, December 1988, revised May 1991; effective date January 1, 1990.
8. Library Resources
Residents must have ready access to adequate library resources, including a diversified collection of current dental, medical and other pertinent reference books and/or audiovisual materials.
8.1 Dental holdings must, at a minimum, include current texts in each discipline of dentistry.
8.2 Appropriate current and back issues of major dental journals and a dental literature index must be readily accessible.
Requirements for an Advanced Education Program in General Dentistry
approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, May 1990; effective date July 1, 1992.
5.9 Library Institution library resources should include a diversified collection of current dental, medical and other pertinent reference books and audiovisual resources. Appropriate current and back issues of major dental and other scientific periodicals and appropriate indexes should be available for student and faculty reference. If these resources are not available within the institution ready access to these resources must be available to the students.
Standards for Advanced Specialty Education Programs in Periodontics
approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, May 1992; implementation date of July 1, 1994.
4. Facilities and Resources
Institutional facilities and resources must be adequate to provide the educational experiences and opportunities required to fulfill the needs of the educational program as specified in these Standards. These include, but are not limited to, facilities and personnel resources for students to carry out their patient care and personal educational responsibilities, administrative offices, and an adequate library providing access to standard reference texts and current journals and sufficient space for instruction
8. Commission on Dental Accreditation. Self-study guide for the evaluation of a dental education program in the United States. Chicago, IL: Commission on Dental Accreditation, 1991 [March 1986; revised December 1991].