IU School of Dentistry searching for new dean

The Indiana University School of Dentistry is launching a search for a new dean to succeed Dr. John Williams, who has held that role since 2010 and recently oversaw a $21 million expansion.

Williams, who is 66, will complete his term on June 30, 2019. University policy requires that deans and chancellors finish their term at the end of the semester in which they turn 67.

He said his major accomplishments were helping raise more than $70 million for the dental school in two capital campaigns, in addition to expanding the school’s clinic on the IUPUI campus.

That 45,000-square-foot expansion increased the school’s physical size by about one-third. It now houses about 125 patient treatment areas spread over three floors. The university dedicated the clinic, called the Fritts Clinical Care Center, in March.

“That was the major thrust I was asked to work on,” Williams said. “This had been, 40 years-plus, kicked around, trying to figure out how to do this. We were able to put together a very workable program that was financed, a large portion of it, through private fundraising. That’s where I spent much of my time.”

He added: “It was a much-needed facility for the school, and I’m very proud of it.”

A search committee has been formed to find Williams’ successor, who will oversee a faculty of 106 and about 800 students enrolled in degree or certificate programs in dentistry, allied health and advanced dental programs.

According to the search announcement, the school is seeking someone who has a proven record of academic leadership and experience in managing academic programs, including fundraising, faculty recruiting and strategic planning. The appointment begins July 1.

About two-thirds of the students are Indiana residents. The school has more than 12,000 alumni around the world. Most of the practicing dentists in Indiana are IU School of Dentistry alumni.

IU has the only dental school in Indiana. In addition to its academic center and clinic in Indianapolis, it operates smaller clinics in Fort Wayne and Evansville.

The school offers dental service to about 30,000 patients a year, ranging from routine cleanings to major dental work. Patients are a mix of university employees, senior citizens, low-income residents and others.

After a one-year sabbatical, Dr. Williams plans to return to the dental school to teach and do research in health policy and workforce issues.

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