Dental Hygiene Educator, Program Director to Retire
Patricia Nunn, RDH, MS, director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton is retiring on July 31, 2017, after a 44-year career in dental hygiene education.
Patricia Nunn, RDH, MS, director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton is retiring on July 31, 2017, after a 44-year career in dental hygiene education. She was a long-standing member of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s Editorial Advisory Board.
For Nunn, obtaining a degree in dental hygiene felt out of reach growing up in rural Beeville, Texas. It was not until her town established Coastal Bend College and an accredited dental hygiene program that a degree felt attainable.
“Dental hygiene changed my life,” says Nunn, who accepted a faculty position at her alma mater in 1979 where she served as clinical coordinator before being promoted to full-time faculty and serving as chair of the Health Services Division and director of Dental Hygiene prior to her departure in 1992. “If it wasn’t for that community college, I would not be where I am now.”
Throughout her career, Nunn has advocated for the creation of distance learning programs to provide opportunities for students located in rural communities. In 2009, Nunn began her tenure as director of TWU’s Dental Hygiene Program, where she was instrumental in establishing a distance-learning education program that offers students an opportunity to graduate with associates’ and bachelors’ degrees concurrently. Nunn also successfully implemented a distance-learning program for dental hygiene students during her time as professor and chair of the department of Dental Hygiene at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry from 1995 to 2005.
“We started three distance sites in rural areas of the state where students can earn their bachelor’s degree without leaving their community,” says Nunn who also served as dean and co-director of the program at Utah College of Dental Hygiene from 2005 to 2009, and assistant professor of dental hygiene at the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 1992 to 1995.
Nunn was vice president of the American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Council of Allied Dental Program Directors. She also received ADEA’s 2010 William F. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement. In 2003, she received the ADEA/Colgate Allied Dental Educator’s Fellowship.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. July 2017;15(7):12-13.