Advisory committee named for School of Dentistry dean search


Provost Laurie K. McCauley has named a 15-member advisory committee in the search for the University of Michigan’s next dean of the School of Dentistry.

The committee of faculty, staff, students and an alumna has been tasked with doing a broad search and recommending an unranked slate of candidates to the provost.

The next dean will succeed McCauley, who was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs May 16.

In an email to colleagues announcing the search, McCauley asked for their “view of key issues that the school will face over the next five to ten years, and important attributes of a new dean.”

The advisory committee will be chaired by Margherita Fontana, Clifford Nelson Endowed Professor and professor of dentistry, and the director of the Global Initiatives Program in Oral and Craniofacial Health in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics in the School of Dentistry

In addition to Fontana, the committee includes:

  • Sun-Yung Bak, clinical assistant professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry.
  • Tristan Clark, dental student, School of Dentistry.
  • Kenneth Cordell Carter, orthodontic resident, School of Dentistry.
  • Sean Edwards, James Hayward Endowed Clinical Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and clinical professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry; and professor of oral surgery, Medical School.
  • Todd Ester, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, and clinical assistant professor, School of Dentistry.
  • Patricia Hurn, dean and professor of nursing, School of Nursing; professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, LSA; and professor of molecular and integrative physiology, Medical School.
  • Vesa Kaartinen, Dr. Roy H. Roberts Professor of Dentistry, professor of dentistry, director of the Oral Health Sciences Ph.D. program and associate dean for research, School of Dentistry.
  • Elisabeta Karl, clinical associate professor of dentistry and director of the Oral Health Sciences Master of Science program, School of Dentistry.
  • Yu Leo Lei, associate professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry; and associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, Medical School.
  • Debra O. Lisull, School of Dentistry alumna; retired dentist at Oak Valley Dental Associates.
  • Sam Malcheff, adjunct clinical assistant professor in dentistry, School of Dentistry.
  • Martha McComas, clinical associate professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry.
  • Kristi Thomas, director of community dental clinic and adjunct clinical assistant professor of dentistry, School of Dentistry.
  • Carrie Towns, chief development officer, development and alumni relations, School of Dentistry.

The committee’s first meeting was Aug. 30. To nominate prospective candidates or ask questions of the committee, email For more information about the school, visit


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