UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry Dean John N. Williams has announced that he will step down from his position in June 2010.
The University plans to conduct a national search for his successor, and a search committee will be formed to lead this process, according to the University’s Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
Williams has served as dean since May 2005. Previously, he had served as dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry since 1999.
“I came to Carolina four years ago with great enthusiasm and respect for the many good things already in place and in anticipation of many new things that could be accomplished by the UNC School of Dentistry community,” Williams wrote in a recent announcement to the School community.
“Together we have done much of which to be proud. We have advanced the mission of the School on several fronts through enhancements made to the educational programs and particularly the DDS clinical program, research program, student support and leadership engagement, diversity success, the new Dental Sciences Building construction project and recognition by peer institutions.
“That said, it is time for me to pursue other academic interests.”
During Williams’ years as dean, the Dental Sciences Building project has moved from planning and design to formal approval and, this summer (2009), actual construction of the 216,000-square-foot building. The building is currently projected to be completed in early 2012, and it will feature state-of-the-art collaborative laboratory space, educational space and administrative offices. The creation of the building also will enable the School of Dentistry to increase its DDS class size to a capacity of up to 100.
University Chancellor Holden Thorp commended Williams for his demonstrated commitment to leading the School through years of collaborative planning and discussion (and the demolition of two buildings) that helped move the Dental Sciences Building project forward to the construction phase. He also noted Williams’ engagement with students – particularly in supporting their leadership development and their attention to access-to-care issues as students and, ultimately, dental professionals.
“John has always been a strong advocate for students and for the responsibility we, as educators, have to them,” Thorp said. “I’ve seen that in his determined advocacy for the Dental Sciences Building, in his expansion of student clinical education and in his unwavering support for outreach efforts that showed students, first-hand, the challenges some North Carolinians face in accessing dental care.”
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Transylvania University, a doctor of dental medicine degree from the Louisville School of Dentistry and a master of business administration degree from Louisville’s School of Business.
Williams in 2008 joined the American Dental Education Association Board of Directors with his election to a three-year term as vice president for deans. He maintains academic interests in health policy, dental workforce issues and instructional technologies and is active in a number of national and international organizations.
The mission of the School of Dentistry is to promote the health of the people of North Carolina, the nation and the world through excellence in teaching, patient care, research and service.