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Report of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a
Dean of the School of Dental Medicine
May 12, 2009, Volume 55, No. 33

The Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Dean of the School of Dental Medicine was convened by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels on August 27, 2008. During its four months of work, the full Committee met on 11 occasions and formally reported its recommendations to the President and Provost on December 12, 2008. The Committee members were:


Sherrill L. Adams, Biochemistry, SDM
Markus B. Blatz, Preventive and Restorative Sciences, SDM
Dorothy C. Brown, Clinical Studies, SVM
Gary H. Cohen, Microbiology, SDM
Susan B. Davidson, Computer and Information Science, SEAS
Joseph P. Fiorellini, Periodontics, SDM
Arthur H. Rubenstein, Dean, SOM—Chair
Kenneth L. Shropshire, Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton


Alysa A. Donaldson, DMD student, class of 2011
Matthew W. Joosse, DMD/MEd student, class of 2009

Alumni and Overseer Representatives

William W. M. Cheung, D’81, GD’82
Tara Sexton, D’88

The search was supported by Stephen P. Steinberg, Advisor to the President, Adam Michaels of the Office of the President, and Glenn C. Davis and Kenneth L. Kring of the executive search firm Korn/Ferry International.

The Committee and its consultants conducted informational interviews and consultative meetings with individuals and groups throughout the Penn Dental Medicine community, as well as many informal contacts, in order to better understand the scope, expectations, and challenges of the Dean’s position and the opportunities facing the School of Dental Medicine in the years ahead. These consultative activities included full Committee meetings with former Dean Marjorie Jeffcoat and Interim Dean Thomas Sollecito; open meetings for faculty, staff, and students of the School of Dental Medicine; a meeting of the Chair with the School’s Board of Overseers; a meeting of the consultant with the School’s alumni society board; and extensive networking by members of the Committee with the School’s faculty and students, as well as colleagues at other institutions.  We also solicited advice and nominations from all faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the School via email, and reviewed a variety of documents about the School, including excerpts from its recently completed self-study. 

Based upon these conversations and materials, the Committee’s charge from the President and Provost, and the Committee’s own discussions, a comprehensive document was prepared outlining the scope of the position and the challenges a new Dean will face, as well as the qualities sought in a new Dean. The vacancy was announced (and input invited from the entire Penn community) in Almanac and advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Women in Higher Education, Philadelphia Inquirer, Journal of Dental Education, Journal of the American Dental Association, Bulletin of Dental Education Online, and the email distribution list of ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women). The members of the Committee were especially energetic in soliciting and recommending the names of potential candidates from the global dental medicine community.

The Committee sought a strategic leader with an uncompromising commitment to academic excellence in all of the School’s educational programs, professional practices, and research activities; an experienced administrator and collaborator, with a global and interdisciplinary outlook, and a passion for the School and its leadership in oral health research, professional education, and clinical practice;  a strong and demonstrated commitment to diversity in all its forms; the ability to manage a large and complex clinical enterprise; and the capacity to be an able and energetic fundraiser.

Over the course of the four-month search process, the Committee considered some 282 prospects, which it reduced to an initial pool of 42 applicants, nominees, and active candidates, and then invited 13 individuals (one of whom subsequently withdrew prior to interviewing) for semi-finalist interviews with the entire Committee. Based on voluntary self-identifications and other sources, we believe the initial pool of 42 applicants, nominees, and active candidates contained three women and 39 men, and at least one African-American, two Latinos, three foreign nationals, and three internal nominees.  The Committee ultimately recommended four individuals to the President and Provost. The members of the Consultative Committee were extremely enthusiastic about the quality of the four finalists and their abilities to lead the School of Dental Medicine to renewed eminence in the 21st Century.

On February 19, 2009, (see Almanac February 24, 2009, Vol. 55, No. 23, www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v55/n23/kinane.html), President Gutmann and Interim Provost Designate Vincent Price announced the selection of one of the four finalists recommended by the Committee, Dr. Denis F. Kinane, to be the next Dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, 2009. Dr. Kinane is currently the Delta Dental Endowed Professor in the Department of Periodontics, Endodontics and Dental Hygiene and Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Louisville School of Medicine. A native of Scotland, Dr. Kinane earned his Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1980 and his PhD in Microbiology in 1983, both from the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of the Faculties of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and holds specialist registration in the UK in Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry. 

—Arthur H. Rubenstein, Chair, Consultative Committee
for the Selection of a Dean of the School of Dental Medicine,
Dean, School of Medicine,
Executive Vice President of the University for the Health System


Almanac - May 12, 2009, Volume 55, No. 33