In 2003, the NYU College of Dentistry recruited 13 third-year students to participate in an experimental program, the Selective in Teaching Skills Program, which is designed to provide opportunities for students to serve as teaching assistants (TAs) helping first-year students with their preclinical requirements. The students were selected on the basis of their performance in first-year preclinical courses and their standing in the top half of their class.
All TAs are trained in peer-teaching techniques, and spend one session per week in the simulation laboratory assisting first-year students with activities such as creating wax models of teeth and learning proper instrument use.
The program has been a great success, as evidenced by the fact that three former TAs, Dr. Brian Fabb, Dr. Adam Travan, and Dr. Harpriya Sidhu, all of the Class of 2006, have joined the NYU faculty as Instructors in Cariology and Comprehensive Care. Currently, there are two dozen third-year students working as TAs.
In September, the NYU College of Dentistry began building further on the programs success by adding nine fourth-year TAs to help third-year TAs with treatment planning and routine procedures.
By giving TAs a taste of what it is like to teach, the Selective in Teaching Skills Program has motivated several of them to consider careers in dental education, said program director Dr. Maureen McAndrew, a Clinical Associate Professor of Cariology and Comprehensive Care.