Appointments, Faculty and Staff

Wilder to Become New Admissions Dean

Dr. Aldridge “Al” D. Wilder Jr., a UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry faculty member since 1976, has been named the School’s new assistant dean for admissions and student affairs.

His appointment will become effective July 1, 2009, when Dr. Albert D. Guckes returns to teaching, research and patient care. Guckes has served as assistant dean within the Office of Academic Affairs since 2003.

“I would like to thank Dr. Guckes for his attentiveness to our students’ accomplishments and concerns. We wish him the very best as he assumes his primary role in the Department of Prosthodontics, and we thank him sincerely for his leadership,” said Dr. Janet Guthmiller, associate dean for academic affairs.

Wilder’s responsibilities will focus on the DDS admissions process. He will provide additional leadership in the areas of DDS recruitment, admissions, enrollment, matriculation, graduation and student welfare. Wilder also will assist Guthmiller in the School’s ongoing DDS curriculum review efforts.

In the months before Wilder officially begins his work as assistant dean, he is transitioning into his new role by working with Guckes and other colleagues within the Office of Academic Affairs, Guthmiller said.

Wilder, a professor in the School’s Department of Operative Dentistry, received his DDS degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1973. He entered private general practice that year, but returned to the School in 1976 as an assistant professor in operative dentistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and to full professor in 2000. Since 1983, he has directed the clinical research program in operative dentistry. For the past seven years, he has directed the preclinical course in operative dentistry, “Conservative Operative Dentistry.”

His honors include certificates of appreciation from eight first-year DDS classes – including each class from 2002 through 2008. He also received a 2007-2008 Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Within service and outreach, Wilder has presented about 100 Area Health Education Centers and other continuing education courses. In the area of publications, he has presented almost 100 research abstracts and has written 39 journal articles and 32 book chapters, including 18 chapters in four editions of “Sturdevant’s Art and Science of Operative Dentistry.” He has also developed 16 self-instructional units, including 11 video-clips to demonstrate clinical techniques involved in operative dentistry and included in the preclinical course.

Guthmiller said that Wilder is highly devoted to working with DDS students and that his new role would extend that responsiveness to prospective dental students.

“Dr. Wilder will bring to this position his commitment and compassion for the UNC School of Dentistry.  He is highly devoted to working with students. His enthusiasm and knowledge base of the programs at UNC will help us continue to recruit and admit the best students to the School, and I am looking forward to working alongside him in these efforts.”

Dean John N. Williams said Wilder had demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the School of Dentistry and to its continued leadership in DDS education nationwide.

“Dr. Wilder has advocated very effectively in our curriculum review process for a forward-thinking approach to the basic sciences and for innovative ways to further integrate them into all other aspects of student education. This is just one example of how he looks ahead to what our graduates will encounter in their careers and works to apply that knowledge to our School’s academic mission – specifically, to our students’ success. He will be a very valuable addition to the academic affairs leadership.”