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A week in the life of a dental dean

22 September 2017

A week in the life of a dental dean

For our weekly article, we have another piece from Paul Colthard, Head of Dentistry at the University of Manchester.


On 2nd August Dr Siobhan Barry and Dr Carly Dixon and 8 of our undergraduate students attended for the Dental Playbox charity playday at Torkington Park, Stockport. The day was a huge success with around 300 children visiting the stall with their parents and over 200 bags of toothbrushes/toothpaste given away and lots of dental advice offered. Our undergraduate students were really excellent and even took turns to wear a tooth costume! Thank you to the students who attended during their vacation. Final year BDS student, Anastasia Szalk, helped organize the play day and accompanied Dr Carly Dixon and Dr Siobhan Barry to the social responsibility showcase last Friday to present a poster.

There are lots of photographs and video clips on the School Facebook page.

Here's the latest version:

You can download this video from here: (40MB) (20MB)


A record-breaking number of over 45 undergraduate students have been involved in volunteering projects both locally and globally over the summer. This is fantastic news and shows the outward looking attitude of our students in demonstrating their social responsibility. They will have learned a huge amount and had a great time. The next ‘Dent Man’ Conference is on 22nd November and several students will have the opportunity to present their experiences and inspire future volunteers. Dr Neil Patel and Professor Hugh Devlin accompanied our four students who attended the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston. This was the first student exchange with Boston and was a huge success.


The National Student Survey (NSS) results were published over the summer. Dentistry scored an overall 88% which is an increase of 5% on last year. Medicine scored 79% which is the same as last year.


Dr Verena Toedtling recently made an application for Voluntary Severance as on offer for university employees as part of the 2020 agenda. Verena’s application has been successful and her last working day with us was yesterday. Verena is to continue her part-time PhD study with us. We wish Verena well in her next post! Dr Neil Patel is now Year 3 Lead.


Dr Alison Qualtrough attended the European Society of Endodontology Conference in Brussels last week that was well attended by our MSc in Endodontics postgraduate students and other staff. PhD student Warat Leelapornpisid co-supervised by Dr Alison Qualtrough and Dr Riina Richardson made an oral presentation and presented a poster on his work on endodontic biofilms.


On Wednesday was the Launch of the BUPA Dental hardship fund and Bursaries. David Leatherbarrow, MD, and Dr Ian Wood, Chairman of the Clinical Board, attended and spoke to Year 5 students about the schemes. BUPA Dental have given a gift to the student hardship fund and are offering three Bursaries of £3K each to final year students. The application form is in Blackboard and should be addressed to Dr Rebecca Craven, Senior Tutor. This is a new initiative and is not offered to any other Dental School.


Yesterday I attended an ‘Academic Breakfast’ at the Lowry theatre at Media City. This was a part of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPB) annual conference with over 300 delegates registered. The conference Chair is Dr Siobhan Barry and the President Elect Dr Claire Stevens. The breakfast was a session with three short presentations and a networking opportunity for students, trainees and senior researchers. Several of our undergraduates and now DF1 graduates are helping at the conference which is held over three days and finishes today and has been a huge success.


We have our welcome event this afternoon for Year 1 BDS and BSc students in Whitworth Hall. This is a great way to welcome our new undergraduates and help them feel part of our Dental School. I am at Trinity College Dublin today examining a PhD about the third molar surgical techniques so unfortunately won’t be at the first year welcome event.


We have had induction and welcome meetings for many individual programme postgraduate students and the main welcome event in next Monday.


I met with Dr Tanya Walsh who is our ‘Impact Ambassador’ and Professor Anne-Marie Glenny to meet with Lauren Ashley based in the Knowledge Exchange and Impact Office to discuss and plan for cases of research demonstrating impact for submission to the Research Assessment Framework but also for more wide dissemination.


Tuesday we took my mother out for dinner at the River restaurant at the Lowry hotel to celebrate her 95th Birthday on Wednesday when she headed by train to Doncaster to celebrate with my sister. I’ll be back from Dublin late afternoon and this evening Fiona and I are driving down to Brighton with Imogen and will be staying over till Sunday to get her settled into her accommodation ready for freshers week and explore Brighton.


Best wishes,

Paul Coulthard

Head of Dentistry

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