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As published in the UConn Advance, November 6, 2006.

New Dean Appointed at Dental School

By Carolyn Pennington

Dr. R. Lamont “Monty” MacNeil, newly named dean of the dental school, meets with students.

Dr. R. Lamont “Monty” MacNeil, newly named dean of the dental school, meets with students.

Photo by Peter Morenus

Dr. R. Lamont "Monty" MacNeil has been named the new dean of the School of Dental Medicine. He was appointed by University President Philip E. Austin, and Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

MacNeil is currently the dental school's vice dean and a professor in the Department of Periodontology.

His appointment marks the first time a dean has been chosen from within the ranks of the dental school.

"Dr. MacNeil's impressive academic experience and leadership skills will enable him to meet the challenges of his new position during a critically important time at the School of Dental Medicine and the UConn Health Center," says Deckers.

"It speaks to the quality and stature of the school when an extensive national search concluded with the selection of someone from within our own organization."

MacNeil, the sixth dean in the history of the school, succeeds Dr. Peter Robinson, who will step down on Dec. 31.

Robinson has served as dean for 10 years, during which time the school enhanced its strong national reputation for the academic performance of its students, its research programs, and its service to underserved populations.

After taking a sabbatical leave, Robinson will return to the school to continue his work in the area of outreach and other programs.

Robinson says MacNeil "has consistently done an outstanding job with both his role as associate dean of academic affairs and vice dean.

He possesses all the critical skills, experience and talent necessary to lead this school to new heights."

MacNeil received a dental degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia; a certificate of advanced training in periodontics from the UConn School of Dental Medicine; and a Master of Dental Science degree from the UConn Graduate School.

He has held academic positions at four dental schools: Dalhousie, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and UConn.

His research has led to more than 25 publications, primarily focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating tooth development, periodontal wound healing and tissue regeneration.

MacNeil is a consultant on curriculum for the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and was a member of the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations from 2001 to 2005, serving as chair of the commission in 2004-05.

He joined the dental school in 1998 as an associate professor in the Department of Periodontology; attained the rank of professor in 2002; and has served as vice dean since 2005.

MacNeil says he is honored to be selected as the next dean of the dental school.

"It is a school that, over a brief 30 or so years has established itself as one of the finest in the country," he says.

"The school has many strengths, and I believe it is poised for even greater things in the future. We are blessed with great faculty, students, and staff and are part of a young, growing, and inclusive academic health center. I know that together we can continue to be a leader and innovator in dental education. This is a special place."

In addition to his career in academics and administration, MacNeil was in full-time, private general dentistry practice for six years before pursuing advanced and graduate training at UConn.

He says his experience in private practice helps him understand the professional challenges that dental students face upon graduation and that dental school alumni must deal with.

MacNeil's major responsibilities as vice dean have been in academic affairs and curriculum development.

Among other activities, he was director of the School of Dental Medicine's Dental Clinical Research Center; chaired the successful self-study for the school's 2001 reaccreditation; and was a key architect of the school's Pipeline Profession and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

He is president-elect of the American Dental Education Association's Section on Academic Affairs.