ECU dental school named Apple Distinguished School for sixth consecutive time
The ECU School of Dental Medicine has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School (ADS) for 2022-25 for its use of technology in every aspect of teaching, learning and clinical practice — the sixth consecutive time the school has earned the honor.
Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that use technology to inspire creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. The school has consistently received the honor since 2012.
“Technology is a cornerstone of delivering our curriculum and a vital part of our commitment to providing the very best patient care,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “Engrained in the promise we made to the people of North Carolina is an obligation to bring the latest scientific and technological advances to our classrooms, labs and clinics. The value of these in dental education shows in the confidence of our graduates and in the smiles of our patients. This honor is validation that we are continuing to prioritize technology — and doing it in strategic ways.”
The school operates 15 different teaching clinics in nine locations across North Carolina. All clinics, classrooms and seminar rooms are video-teleconferenced. This connectivity in conjunction with a common electronic patient record system creates an extensive tele-dentistry research network.
Educationally, all instruction and assessments are digitally optimized. All data for student performance, faculty performance, and accreditation reports are generated in real time and used for continuous program improvement.
The selection of the ECU School of Dental Medicine as an Apple Distinguished School highlights the school’s success as an innovative learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment.
In previous award cycles, the focus was on core technologies such as digital testing, digital patient records, and tele-conferencing. In this latest cycle, the focus is on two important enhancements to the SoDM program. The first is the development of a “second pass” instruction project that uses online resources to reinforce the instruction in the core curriculum. The second is the implementation of a unique “tennis match” interface for clinical grading— the interface allows for increase direct feedback for the students during the clinical treatment of patients.
“The School of Dental Medicine has used the ADS program not as a reward for what has been done, but as an inspiration for what needs to be done in the next two years,” said Dr. Todd Watkins, assistant dean for dental education and informatics and an Apple distinguished educator. “We are never satisfied with the status quo and Apple, through this award, constantly challenges us to implement new technologies to make the program better for our students, patients, and ultimately, the people of North Carolina for whom we serve.”
The school graduated its inaugural class in 2015 and now has more than 400 alumni. More than 90% of graduates who have completed their educational requirements are practicing in North Carolina. The school has served more than 92,000 patients from all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.