Buchanan to Step Down as Dean of UB School of Dental Medicine

Will Remain Until Successor is On Board

By Lois Baker

Release Date: November 26, 2008 This content is archived.


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Richard Buchanan is stepping down as dean of the UB School of Dental Medicine, a position he has held since 2001.

BUFFALO, N.Y -- Richard Buchanan, D.M.D., dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo, is stepping down as dean after seven years at the helm, David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UB vice president for health sciences, announced today.

Buchanan has agreed to remain as dean until a successor is in place.

"I agreed to Rick's request to step down as dean and as a member of the faculty with very mixed feelings," said Dunn.

"Rick has been a close colleague and friend, and he has been steadfast in his desire to raise an academically very strong school to even greater heights by the recruitment, mentoring and strong support of its faculty and academic leaders.

"A strong academician in his own right, he has provided the school an important compass in the form of leadership by personal example," Dunn said. "Fortunately, he has agreed to remain in his current position until a national search can be launched and a suitable successor identified and recruited. He will be stepping down from his academic positions at UB, but will be pursuing other initiatives. He will be sorely missed here at UB."

A national search to identify Buchanan's successor will begin shortly.

"Those who have had the privilege of working with Rick recognize him as an intuitively smart and thoughtful leader -- a person who enriches conversations with his wise and erudite perspective," said Provost Satish K. Tripathi. "From the very beginning of my tenure at UB, I have known and have admired Rick for his intellectual leadership, his indefatigable pursuit of excellence and his ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary environment. This approach to his life's work has contributed greatly to the UB School of Dental Medicine's rise to prominence and our university's success in pursuing our UB 2020 ambitions. As a leader and as a colleague, he will be truly missed. Thankfully, Rick has agreed to continue as dean until his successor is named."

Prior to his recruitment to UB in 2001, Buchanan held academic and administrative positions at three dental schools -- the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School at San Antonio, the New Jersey Dental School and Baylor College of Dentistry.

One of his first accomplishments at UB was guiding accreditation of the dental school. In collaboration with the Accreditation Steering Committee and dental faculty members, a detailed self-study was prepared, resulting in full accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation without reporting requirement for the maximum period of seven years, as well as several commendations and no recommendations for improvement.

Under Buchanan's leadership, the school pursued the following improvements: the introduction of digitized radiography and the development of the information technology capacity for point-of-service delivery of images, teaching material and patient information. This year the school will add the electronic patient record to its clinic management system and initiate advanced patient simulation in its clinics.

In addition, Buchanan has strengthened the school by overseeing a 20 percent increase in full-time faculty and the recruitment of three departmental chairs, as well as the establishment of the school's first endowed professorship, a position that will allow recruitment of distinguished scholars in the future.

Under Buchanan's leadership, the school initiated its first comprehensive, school-level curriculum review and revision. Initial implementation of the curriculum revision began this academic year, reducing curriculum density and providing more effective course sequencing and renewal of curriculum content -- all aimed at facilitating student learning.

He also led a reorganization of the dental school's offices of Academic and Student Affairs that made their services to faculty and students more effective. As part of this reorganization, the Office of Student Affairs has initiated the first major revision of the school's admissions process in more than 20 years, with an emphasis on the importance of enhancing the quality and diversity in the school's enrollment.

Buchanan will be leaving academia when he departs UB, but he will not be retiring completely.

"I look forward to continuing to meet many professional obligations," he said. A member of the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation, he will be involved in accreditation activities at other dental schools, as well as the Dean's Institute, a "think tank" and support organization for dental school deans that focuses on current challenges common to all dental schools, and the American Dental Educaton Association Task Force on Ethics and Professionalism.

Prior to his tenure as dean at Baylor, Buchanan was dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for five years, and spent 16 years at the University of Texas-Austin, where he rose to the rank of professor and held several administration positions, including interim dean.

A graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, Buchanan earned a doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.