Dental Teacher of the Year

Hennessy’s instructional style emphasizes teamwork, positivity
May 28th, 2020

Dr. Bernard Hennessy

Encouragement and a team-focused approach to clinical instruction have caught Dr. Bernard Hennessy’s third- and fourth-year students’ attention. Qualities like these prompted students to select him as Dental Teacher of the Year.

“I am humbled to receive this award, knowing how many talented and dedicated faculty members I work with side by side,” says Hennessy, assistant group practice leader and clinical associate professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry. “When I look around me, all I see is positive faculty whose philosophy is similar to mine.”

Hennessy joined Texas A&M College of Dentistry in 2013 after a 27-year career with the U.S. Army Dental Corps. He initially split his time between the General Dentistry and Diagnostic Sciences departments but soon transitioned full time to diagnostic sciences, where he served in the Oral Diagnosis Clinic. In summer 2019, he joined the newly established comprehensive dentistry department.

“I try to treat students as the professionals they are,” he says. “Every patient is different; every situation is different. I try to offer guidance and to be as helpful as possible, because I want learning to be as positive an experience as it can be.”

As a member of the Admissions Committee for several years, he now has the opportunity to see some students poised to graduate whom he interviewed on their way in.

“These dentists-to-be are an impressive group,” he says. “They are overall just a very positive group of people. They make the job of teaching truly a rewarding experience.”

Hennessy is a 1986 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He completed a two-year AEGD program at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1998. He subsequently served in program director roles for several of the Army’s one-year AEGD programs, where he provided advanced general dentistry instruction to new dentists. Along the way, he worked with several Army dentists who ended up teaching at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.

He is an American College of Dentists fellow and a diplomate of the American Board of General Dentistry, where he serves on the board of directors. In 2018, he received Mastership status in the Academy of General Dentistry. He has authored or co-authored several dental journal articles and serves as a contributor to the Merck Manuals on three dental-related subjects.

Hennessy enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, Carolyn, three children and 4-year-old granddaughter.

— Carolyn Cox