2017 Teachers of the Year
By the time Dr. George Cramer enrolled at the dental school, he had already accomplished feats many could only imagine. Dr. Loulou Moore, a self-proclaimed “late bloomer,” came to the college — the oldest in her class — with a strong background in literature and math but lacking in the sciences. Last week they led the 2017 Texas A&M College of Dentistry commencement processional in the coveted positions of Teachers of the Year.
Cramer, the 2017 recipient of the Dental Teacher of the Year Award, attended the University of Maryland on a track and field scholarship, graduating in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. He then spent five years in the Marine Corps as a naval aviator, flying photo reconnaissance missions during the Vietnam conflict. In 1975, he graduated from what was then Baylor College of Dentistry with third academic honors.
The 2017 Dental Hygiene Teacher of the Year, Moore earned her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany and her dental degree in 1993 from the dental school, which at that point was still under the Baylor name. She stayed at the college to complete her postgraduate training through the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program as well as to gain additional skills in esthetics and restorative dentistry. In addition, Moore holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Returning to teach
“Soon after I graduated, I was invited to teach part time by an instructor I greatly admired,” says Cramer, who first served on the faculty from 1975 to 1981. “I soon became full time. This was my intro to teaching, and I loved it.”
After he and his wife had children, they decided to raise them outside the confines of the city, so he left the school to enter private practice in a small Texas town. In 2001, once his children were grown, he returned, teaching part time until he retired from private practice and assumed his current full-time position as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences.
“Teaching young people and working with those who really desire to be the best they can be is what I really like best about teaching,” says Cramer.
Moore, who considers herself a “lifelong learner,” joined the dental school faculty in 1998 after serving as a staff dentist at the Dallas VA Medical Center. A clinical associate professor in restorative sciences, Moore says becoming “an effective teacher” was her priority. She sought advice from her faculty mentors and enrolled in the Health Professions Education Program — not to earn another master’s degree but to complete coursework that would help hone her teaching skills.
Known by students for her dedication and sense of humor, Moore believes in empowering and encouraging students toward success. “I tell them, ‘Every challenge will give you an opportunity,’” Moore says. “And of course, to ‘always do your best.’”
Because everyone learns differently, finding out how each student learns is key, says Cramer. But after years of experience, Cramer realizes that even the best instructors cannot teach students everything they need for success after graduation.
“How well a student does in dental school is not what defines him or her,” he says. “Character and values will define who they are. They can be taught dentistry.”
The Teacher of the Year awards are presented annually by the Texas A&M College of Dentistry Alumni Association and selected by the college’s student body. Recipients are given a certificate, a crystal apple and monetary award.