Dental education from the students' perspective: curriculum and climate.

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Journal of dental education


This cross-sectional study compares morale among dental students at five western U.S. dental schools, relates morale to various aspects of the school environment, and determines a prioritized list of the most important aspects of dental education from the students' perspective. Survey data were collected from students at the end of their first, second, and third years. Respondents answered several questions associated with student morale and listed the three best aspects and three greatest challenges of their school. Lastly, respondents ranked seven different aspects of dental education in order of importance. Surveys were returned by 742 students (66 percent response). Student morale varied significantly in different educational institutions. Morale tended to be lower among third-year students and higher among first-year students. Poor student-faculty relations was the factor most strongly associated with decreased morale. Similarly, positive atmosphere was the factor most frequently associated with high morale. Faculty and clinic experience were the most frequently cited positive aspects of schools; curriculum and clinic experience were the most commonly cited negative aspects. Students commonly perceived clinical experience to be the most important aspect of their education. As students neared graduation, they perceived business management as more important and lab work as less important.

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