The dental hygiene program at Georgia Highlands College has received full reaccreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The program must be reaccredited every seven years. The process is a separate exercise for health sciences – dental hygiene and nursing – from the SACS- reaccreditation that takes place every 10 years for the institution as a whole.
The commission, a branch of the American Dental Association, performs the review, and its team is composed of dental hygiene faculty members and administrators from other programs in the region who are well versed in the standards that accredited dental hygiene programs must meet. Before the team arrives on campus, they have already reviewed a lengthy document provided by the GHC program that describes its curriculum, faculty and clinical pedagogy. After reviewing materials received from the institution and interviewing students, faculty and administrators, the accrediting team prepares a lengthy report of its findings. It almost always includes a list of recommendations for improvement along with its recommendation for or against reaccreditation. GHC received no such recommendations, a very rare occurrence. Donna Miller, director of the dental hygiene program at GHC, said, “The reaccreditation team made a number of complimentary comments about us. I am proud of my faculty and students, who make this such a strong, well regarded program in the region.”
The dental hygiene program at GHC started in 1990 as a satellite associate-degree program for the Medical College of Georgia. In 1998, the dental hygiene department was transferred to what was then Floyd College. It has since built a strong reputation among dental professionals throughout Northwest Georgia, placing nearly all of its graduates in the clinical settings of their choice.