Joe Wyatt
Published May 1, 2017

Amarillo College is pleased to announce that its Dental Hygiene Program has received preliminary notification of full and unconditional reaccreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) for the next seven years.

Dental OnehpUnconditional reaccreditation indicates that AC received a perfect score on a site visit conducted by accreditors Feb. 14-15, and no Reporting Requirements are pending. The Dental Hygiene Program was found to be in unequivocal compliance with all 6 standards and 193 subsections detailed on the CODA Evaluation Report.

“To achieve a perfect site visit is very difficult, but it is attainable, especially when the reaccreditation process is approached as a team effort by a dedicated group of professionals like we have at Amarillo College,” Donna Cleere, director of the Dental Hygiene Program, said.

“I could not ask for a better, kinder, more professional group of people to work with,” she said. “Our team works very hard and makes my job easy. We also enjoyed excellent participation from our outstanding students and remarkable support from our administration throughout the process – including Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart (AC president), Dr. Tamara Clunis (interim vice president of academic affairs) and Mark Rowh (dean of health sciences).”

CODA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole agency to nationally accredit dental and dental related education programs conducted at the post-secondary level. The process of reaccreditation is arduous and requires a comprehensive self-study of about 1,200 pages, and an exhaustive site visit.

Cleere, who has now overseen three successful reaccreditation site visits since 2003, said she began forming departmental committees to prepare for this year’s visit back in 2015.

“The self-study is a major undertaking,” she said. “We write, edit and rewrite. It really does take all of us to make sure the report is comprehensive and accurate. I’m so appreciative to work with people who are always willing to strive for excellence.”

AC’s Dental Hygiene Program receives between 80 and 100 applications but accepts no more than 28 new students into the program each year. Every seven years, students are called on to participate in the reaccreditation process, when site visitors interview them and observe them in action.

“Donna and her team and their students all did another remarkable job,” Mark Rowh, dean of health sciences, said. “Achieving reaccreditation is a milestone for any program, but it is all the more gratifying when it is granted unconditionally, without a single recommendation or required follow-up of any kind.

“My hat is off to everyone connected with the Dental Hygiene Program. They make Amarillo College proud.”

This marks the Dental Hygiene Program’s eighth successful accreditation or reaccreditation site visit over the years. The next CODA visit is tentatively set for 2024.