Know the drill and feel the passion

October 13, 2006

Name : Elizabeth Davenport. Age: 55

Job : Professor of dental education, Barts and The London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. I am head of undergraduate dental studies and maintain a paediatric dentistry clinical practice as well as contributing to our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - a joint project with City University that looks at improving the clinical and communication skills of healthcare professionals. I am also responsible for developing the Graduate Entry Programme (GEP) for dentistry, training science graduates to be dentists in four years, and the academic component of a new outreach programme. I am also examinations convener for the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and president-elect of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

Salary : Not enough!

Background : I am a dentist, qualified BDS in 1974 from the Royal Dental Hospital School of Dentistry, London, and a paediatric dentist - an area I am passionate about. This passion led me into the academic world in wanting to provide a safe learning environment for the dental team. I also have an MSc in epidemiology (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and a PhD based on sound epidemiological principles.

Working hours and conditions : Nine to five, but I work longer hours that often encroach on weekends.

Number of students you teach : Primarily undergraduate dental team members (about 350) comprising dental students, graduate entrants and dental care professionals. I am also responsible for coordinators who ensure the smooth running of the undergraduate curriculum and assessment.

Biggest challenge : The GEP and planning for outreach teaching in primary dental care.

Worst moment in university life : Non-communication!

Do you socialise with people at the university? To an extent, but mostly with those from other departments in the college.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? Colleagues who find change difficult and need time to adjust to new projects. I cope by being as prepared as I can for the eventuality through reflective practice, coaching and mentoring sessions.

Do you interact much with other departments? As a member of various committees, I have many opportunities to engage with colleagues.

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