Scott De Rossi, DMD, MBA, eighth dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, has announced his decision to step down from his position as dean on January 15, 2021. At that time, he will return to the faculty as a full-time member of the Division of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences.
“Four years ago, I moved to Chapel Hill and embarked on a journey to lead change and help return this dental school to its former glory: not only defined excellence but also a return to being a global leader in oral health education,” said De Rossi. “I knew it was a huge challenge with many obstacles, but it was also an incredible opportunity to work with amazing people, to innovate boldly, and to chart a fearless course for not only Carolina, but for dental education and the profession.”
During his tenure as dean, De Rossi led the Adams School of Dentistry in its first strategic planning process in recent memory, which led to the creation of a bold plan, “Moving Beyond Excellence.” The school began to rework the DDS program into the new Advocate-Clinician-Thinker (ACT) curriculum, which will begin to be implemented in fall 2021.
He oversaw the reimagination of the school’s academic structure, creating five integrated divisions from nine departments, which enhanced the school’s internal collaboration and led to new operational efficiencies. Those changes became critically important as the COVID-19 pandemic forced dental education to identify new, integrated ways to provide patient care and student education.
He also strengthened the school’s relationship with UNC Health, opening new communication channels and moving the school to the same electronic patient health record system to enable improved comprehensive patient care.
De Rossi played a key role in helping the school exceed its For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina fundraising goal of $70 million, one of the largest fundraising goals set by a U.S. dental school.
Globally, he is credited with the formation of DentAlliance, a first-of-its-kind international four-member dental school partnership between the Adams School of Dentistry; King’s College London’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences; National University of Singapore Faculty of Dentistry; and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Dental School. DentAlliance is designed to advance and transform research, education and practice in dentistry and the oral and craniofacial health sciences.
“Scott has been a visionary and a change agent since he arrived in January 2017, leading the school through a transformational plan to update its curriculum and surpass its fundraising goals,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Robert A. Blouin, PharmD. “We are thankful to Scott for his leadership and service and wishing him well in his role on the faculty.”
Details and updates regarding the University’s selection of an interim dean to begin work in January and the search for a permanent dean will be forthcoming.