Focused on the outcomes
As the first director of assessment at Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Dr. Ann McCann has spent a quarter century building and nurturing a climate in which planning and outcomes assessment are integral to the college’s thriving educational program.
Her journey at the college began in 1988, when she joined the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene faculty after moving from Detroit to Dallas. The role was a comfortable one after her term as chair of dental hygiene at the University of Detroit. Six years later, she returned to administration in the college’s academic affairs office to pursue a career goal of broadening her impact on health care education. She led the college through the creation of three strategic plans and is recognized as a key player in developing competency-based education at the college and far beyond.
“Now when a new program or initiative is being planned, people ask, ‘How will we assess it?’ McCann says. “Both planning and assessment are really important; otherwise you don’t know if you’re meeting your goals. Evidence is important internally but also externally to CODA, granting agencies and legislators.”
McCann’s creative side came into play in her role as the lead on two Health Resources and Services Administration grants in the 1990s, when she developed assessment materials: first for dental hygiene, then for other health professions, including pharmacy, dietetics and nursing. As one of the early innovators of assessment in dentistry, McCann presented workshops on competency-based education at dental schools around the country. She also hosted dental hygiene administrators from other institutions who traveled to the college each year to receive in-depth training in these skills.
A personal connection present alongside McCann at the college all these years: her husband and frequent lunch companion, Dr. Emet Schneiderman, professor in biomedical sciences. He beams with pride at her accomplishments, including the doctorate degree in educational leadership and higher education she earned in 2007 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Over the past two decades, McCann has nurtured her artistic skills and gained acclaim as a fine artist. Frequent posts to her Ann McCann Art painting blog reach a sizeable following with “the musings of a second-career artist.” With paintings in juried art shows, galleries and commissioned work for clients, McCann sees the overlap between her career endeavors and her favorite hobby.
“I like ideas and doing creative things,” McCann explains. “That’s why I like art. It also pertains to some things I got to develop that were new and different: grants, new courses, or helping graduate students identify and conduct their research projects.”
McCann has developed courses on assessment, leadership and survey research for Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Education for Health Professions master’s degree curriculum. She also contributed behind the scenes to help develop the CODA competency standards in use at dental schools around the country.
“Dr. McCann is recognized among the dental community nationally and internationally as a leader in the area of assessment, and she will be sorely missed,” says Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky, dean. “She has proven invaluable to the college’s ability to meet our goals while continuing to grow and move forward as we launch into a new building and new curriculum.”
Now McCann is looking forward to more leisure time in retirement, including the chance to participate in daytime art groups and painting trips. Her new life chapter begins Jan. 3.