“Flamboyance” is not a word generally associated with denture preparation – but Dr. Glenn Minsley makes it a key ingredient in his preclinical course on the process.
Actually, “ingredient” is another good word for his course, because he teaches his students how to make preliminary impressions and mix the alginate by employing techniques originated by master chef Emeril Lagasse.
“I’ll show them the traditional way, how to prepare the tray and load the tray,” he said. “After that, I’ll do it as an ‘Emeril Live’ show.”
His dedication to making course material compelling is one of the reasons Minsley received the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s 2007 Richard F. Hunt Memorial Award for Excellence in Predoctoral Teaching at the Spurgeon Dental Society annual awards banquet on April 9.
The Hunt Award is the most prestigious teaching award given at the School of Dentistry. Recipients are nominated and selected entirely by students.
Just as on the Food Network show, Minsley’s “Emeril”-styled class session features a “band leader,” Dr. Al Guckes, who plays song snippets during the demonstration. Minsley arranges the materials and alginator just as the chef arrays his ingredients and kitchen appliances.
“His passion for teaching is unbelievable,” states one student’s nomination letter on his behalf. “Dr. Minsley is a wonderful instructor. Not only is he good at what he does – he is also passionate about it and displays this to the students. He is very creative in his teaching and really desires for his students to ‘get it,’” states another student’s letter.
Dr. Glenn Minsley, who recently received the Richard F. Hunt Memorial Award for Excellence in Predoctoral Teaching, discusses with a student the concepts and techniques in the design and fabrication of an edentulous custom impression tray.
Minsley, who joined the School of Dentistry faculty in 1982, directs the preclinical complete denture course. He also is an associate professor in the Department of Prosthodontics, director of the Maxillofacial Prosthetics Division at UNC-Chapel Hill, chief of the Division of Maxillofacial Prosthetics in the Department of Hospital Dentistry at UNC Hospitals and a practicing prosthodontist.
Guckes, an associate professor of prosthodontics and assistant dean for predoctoral education and admissions at the School of Dentistry, said Minsley is a wonderful teacher and clinician.
“The majority of the patients he rehabilitates are severely handicapped in daily activities due to a loss of portions of the face and jaws due to surgery for cancer or other conditions. The care he provides has a large and immediate impact on the quality of their lives.”
Guckes also highlighted Minsley’s patience as a teacher and his extra time spent ensuring that students have a complete understanding of the course material. Making it entertaining, Minsley said, helps students connect to difficult material because they will remember how the material was presented.
“I want students to come away with the sense that they’ve learned how to do something well and that they should always try to do whatever they do to the best of their ability – to give their patients the best care they can give them,” Minsley said. “That’s ultimately what it’s all about. If doing things however I do them gets that across and helps them retain the material, that’s all that matters to me.”
The Hunt Award was established almost four decades ago with gifts from the Loblolly Study Club to the Dental Foundation of North Carolina to honor the memory of Dr. Richard F. Hunt, a member of the DDS class of 1955 who died in a plane crash in 1968.
Hunt’s son Richard, a 1989 graduate of the School of Dentistry, is the 2007 president of the North Carolina Dental Society and practices dentistry with his wife, Amy, in Rocky Mount.