Dental Hygiene Program to Relocate to UW


Joshua Groom

SCC has partnered with the UW school of dentistry to house SCC’s displaced dental hygiene program. The decision was announced last week at an SCC board of trustees meeting.

“We’re happy we’re going to continue somewhere,” Program Director Maryrose Bellert said.

The new partnership caps a turbulent year for the program, which kicked off with hopes of offering its students a bachelor’s degree but quickly devolved into fears of shutting down entirely. The agreement between the two colleges, finalized April 22, will begin with a transition period before SCC’s program is moved entirely to the UW campus.

In preparation for the program’s long term future, SCC plans to enroll a new class of dental hygiene students. Enrollment is expected to open May 15, pending approval from Vice President for Student Learning Phillip King, Bellert said.

In the meantime, didactic (theory) classes and preclinicals will be held at SCC while clinical labs will take place at the UW. The 1300 building will be remodeled into a temporary skills lab for dental hygiene students after the 2500 building is torn down.

“Things will be fluid for a while,” Bellert said. “The details are still unclear to me.”

The UW approached SCC about the change earlier in the year, while the college was still evaluating other options to rehouse the program. Acora Foundation, a dental nonprofit funded by Delta Dental, will help fund the 1300 building’s renovations. Dental equipment acquired for the program will move to the UW once the transition is complete.

The change still needs to be approved by the Commission On Dental Accreditation, with a June 1 deadline for a report on the program’s future, but the change is expected to be approved.

Bellert is pleased the program will continue, but as a graduate of one of SCC’s first dental hygiene classes, the move is bittersweet.

“It seems like the end of an era,” she said. "It’s hard to think it will be somewhere else."