photo of faculty accepting award

Shown here with the TACTE award are (l-r) Andrea Maddux, professor of dental hygiene; Melissa Machalek, department chair; Corine Correa, dental hygiene instructor; and Shelley Pearson, associate vice president for health professions.

The Temple College Dental Hygiene program has received the 2017 Award of Excellence from the Texas Association of College Technical Educators (TACTE).

The award recognizes college programs that demonstrate innovative partnerships with community stakeholders or other educational institutions, potential for positive economic impact in their region, outstanding program outcomes, and/or best practices in workforce education and training that have improved student success.

Since Temple College began offering dental hygiene in 1995, its graduates have had a 100 percent pass rate on the Dental Hygiene National Board. In addition to high licensure rates, the program has consistently had a high placement rate, with 100 percent of students finding jobs in three of the last four years (2012-2015).

The program maintains a 12-chair dental clinic that provides low-cost oral hygiene services to local residents with limited finances and no dental insurance. Students also provide care throughout the community through Head Start, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, long-term care facilities, a community free dental clinic and other programs.

In order to keep up with the many advances in dental care, the program utilizes digital radiography, which eliminates the need for film and the associated processing. The original darkroom has been converted into a large oral hygiene room for individual patient instruction. Students also learn how to use digital dental software, which has replaced paper charts in most dental offices today.

Because of its reputation and state-of-the-art facilities, the program draws applicants from across the state.

“Our students are well prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation with these current technologies available to them,” said Program Director Melissa Machalek. “We are very honored to be the recipient of this award.”

The award was presented April 6 during the 2017 TACTE conference in Austin.