Dr. Alicia Spence to lead DEI initiatives at dental school

September 29th, 2022

Dr. Alicia Spence

Dr. Alicia Spence has been named director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Office of Academic Affairs at Texas A&M School of Dentistry effective Oct. 1.

“I am very honored to serve my alma mater in this capacity,” Spence says. “My goal is to ensure that every person who comes here feels a sense of belonging, whether they come to us for education, career fulfillment or healthcare. A diverse learning environment benefits all of us, and I look forward to bringing positivity and collaboration to everything we do here.”

Spence is a clinical assistant professor in comprehensive dentistry. She has been a member of the faculty since 2013 and has served as director of the Office of Student Development as well as co-director of the Ethical Practice course for second year dental and dental hygiene students. Prior to joining the faculty full time, Spence worked in Dallas as an associate dentist focusing on geriatric dentistry and end-of-life care.

“I am confident that Dr. Spence will build on the strong foundation our school has established in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Prof. Lisa Mallonee, interim associate dean for academic affairs. “She will carry on the great work of her predecessor, Dr. Lavern Holyfield, keeping us at the forefront of dental schools in this vitally important area.”

During Spence’s tenure here, she has taught in the clinic as well as pre-clinical laboratory courses. She also directed the Post-Baccalaureate Program, Summer Pre-dental Enrichment Programs, the Peer Tutoring Program and Advanced Tutoring Program.

Spence, who is currently president of the Faculty Forum, has served on numerous college committees, including Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access, known as IDEA, and the admissions and commencement committees. She, along with Dr. Janna Burnett, clinical associate professor in comprehensive dentistry, created a Mother’s Room to assist breastfeeding students, faculty and staff. Spence is also leading a task force for mental health and wellness initiatives for the school, and she spends significant time mentoring pre-dental and dental students.

Spence serves on the Diversity Committee for the Dallas County Dental Society and the American Dental Education Association Section on Minority Affairs, Diversity, and Inclusion. She is currently part of the Teaching Excellence Program through Texas A&M and the Association of College and University Educators, earning a certificate in Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning.

Prior to attending to the School of Dentistry, Spence graduated from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

— Caleb Vierkant