Search for UMKC School of Dentistry Dean to Begin

Looking for strong candidates to lead community asset, research powerhouse
Student wearing mask performing over a mannequin in UMKC School of Dentistry simulation lab

Provost Jenny Lundgren announced that a national search for the next dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry will get underway in early November.

“The UMKC School of Dentistry is a huge asset to the Kansas City community, delivering clinical care to more than 60,000 patients each year,” Lundgren said. “It is also internationally known for its research in dental biomaterials and bone biology. We’re looking for strong candidates who can build on the enormous impact of this more-than-century-old institution and continue to move the dental profession into the future through compassion, education and innovation.”

Founded in 1881 as the Kansas City Dental College, the UMKC School of Dentistry is the only public dental school in Missouri and Kansas, and most of the oral health professionals in those states are alumni. The school also has a large alumni base across the ocean in Hawaii that dates back to World War II when much of the U.S. was seized with fear of Americans of Japanese descent; the dean at the time took a different path and welcomed Japanese American students with open arms. In 2016, the school was one of only three schools in the country to be recognized with a Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The UMKC School of Dentistry is known around the world for its research, consistently winning significant National Institutes of Health grants and attention from media around the country and the globe.

Lundgren said the search committee also will be looking for a dean who can build on community engagement and fundraising. In 2019, the school opened a new state-of-the-art simulation lab funded through donor support.

The UMKC School of Dentistry is part of the UMKC Health Sciences District, collaborating with the UMKC Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies and Pharmacy as well as Children’s Mercy, Truman Medical Centers and city, county and state health institutions.

Marsha Pyle, who served as dean since 2009, retired in September, and School of Pharmacy Dean Russell Melchert is serving as interim dean until the next dean is hired in the spring with an anticipated start in the summer of 2021. The UM System Talent Fulfillment team is assisting UMKC in the search. Community forums are planned to be held in March or April.

Search Committee

  • Joy Roberts, search committee chair, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • David Suchman, chair of the Rinehart Foundation
  • Ellyce Loveless, student services coordinator
  • Lance Godley, faculty chair, vice chair of restorative clinical sciences
  • John Killip, emeritus faculty, former associate dean of student programs
  • John Cottrell, clinical instructor in behavioral sciences, director of minority and special programs
  • Sarah Dallas, professor of oral and craniofacial science, researcher
  • Julie Sutton, associate professor of hygiene
  • Keerthan Satheesh, associate professor, chair of periodontics
  • Liz Kaz, associate dean for academic affairs, hygiene
  • Connie White, associate dean of clinical programs, community relations
  • Rukevwe Erhenede, third-year student, president of Student National Dental Association/Hispanic Student Dental Association
  • Russell Tabata, Hawaii, Bill French Alumni Service Award recipient
  • Makini King, director of diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • James Wooten, associate professor of pharmacology, Faculty Senate
  • Andy Goodenow, chief information officer

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