» Dental Hygiene




Kathy Russell, DDS


Like other organizations, it is sometimes necessary for colleges to make adjustments as the needs of the community change. In response to such shifting needs, Northeast Texas Community College announced this week that they will close one program and open several others over the next two years.

According to a Dr. Ron Clinton, Executive Vice President for Instruction, effective immediately the Dental Hygiene program will not admit any new students and will close the program when the existing students complete their studies in 2015. New programs are currently under development and may include Medical Coding Specialist, Pharmacy Technician, and Surgical Technology (in partnership with other regional colleges). The first new program could be open as early as fall 2014.

Dr. Clinton described these changes as "the kind of adjustments that are a normal part of keeping our offerings aligned with the needs of our community and the amount of resources available to us."

College administration met with the Dental Hygiene faculty and students on Tuesday to explain the decision to recommend closure of the program by 2015. The decision comes on the heels of a visit by the dental accreditation board this past fall. The recommendations of that site visit would have increased the cost of operating the program by more than $100,000 per year. The program is limited to only 16 students per class. After careful review of all options, the decision was reached to close the program.

"We watch closely to be sure we are offering the right programs to meet our community needs. We have determined it is time to close one program and add some new programs. This is not unusual, although it is always difficult to make a decision that affects our staff and students," NTCC President Brad Johnson, said. "We have been quite proud of this program and its history of high pass rates (on professional licensure exams) and the good jobs our graduates get. But in this case we have determined there is an adequate local supply of hygienists. We believe we should move those resources into other areas where there are needs we are not now meeting."

The Dental Hygiene program has participated in a number of community service dental clinics at the college as well as across the region. The program also provided the community a free or low-cost access to dental hygiene care as part of the students' clinical experience.

The administration will bring its formal recommendation to close the program to the board of trustees at the February meeting. Additional details about the new programs currently under development will also be presented at that time.

"Students already in the program will be able to complete their degrees. We will take care of each student so this decision does not harm them," Johnson said.


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This page last updated by L. Bagwell on 10/16/2014

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