Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share

CODA Communicator: Summer Fall 2014

A Message From the Chair
CODA Updates
Major Actions of Interest 
Additional Actions of General Interest
Discipline Specific Updates 
What is CODA
Meeting Highlights
Adopted Policy Revisions 
Upcoming Hearings and Events
Deadlines for Programs Reports


The Summer CODA meeting addressed a number of important issues, in addition to taking accreditation actions on 304 of over 1,450 programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A number of Standards for various programs are out for review and comment from the broad Communities of Interest. These Standards will be on the agenda for comment at the upcoming 2014 ADA Annual meeting in San Antonio as part of the Commission’s regular Open Hearing process. Please confirm date and time in San Antonio, if you wish to attend.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only nationally-recognized accrediting body for dentistry and the related dental fields, receiving its accreditation authority from the acceptance of all stakeholders within the dental community and recognition by the United States Department of Education, a governmental agency. The Commission serves the profession and the public by establishing and applying high-quality standards for the accreditation of educational programs in dentistry, postgraduate general and specialty dentistry, and the allied dental professions. Since its inception in 1937, the Commission and its predecessors have operated within the parameters of the ADA Bylaws. Since 1973, the Commission has retained full and final authority on all accreditation reviews and decisions; however, as times have changed, the Commission needs more flexibility over its governance and budgeting processes so that it can more effectively and efficiently administer the accreditation program. Part of the continuing work of the Commission’s Standing Committee on Quality Assurance and Strategic Planning is to review the relationship between CODA and the ADA, and its last meeting, the Commission adopted the Standing Committee’s white paper entitled: Commission on Dental Accreditation White Paper: Transition to an Operational Structure for Independent Authority, which has been recently posted on the Commission’s website. In addition, an ADA/CODA Workgroup has been established to continue the dialogue on possible governance and budgetary process changes that will need to be made in order for the Commission to continue to be the “gold standard” for health profession accreditation.

My term on the Commission ends at the close of the ADA House of Delegates in 2014. It has been a tremendous privilege to work with an extremely dedicated group of 30 volunteer Commissioners and the CODA staff during this past year as Chair. In addition, I have seen the outstanding work of the Commission throughout my four year term on the Commission. Through the process of accreditation, the dental profession is made stronger and the public is provided assurance that programs are meeting national standards. As a dentist, I am proud to be a part of this unique and important process known as dental accreditation.

Dr. John N. Williams
Chair, Commission on Dental Accreditation (2013-2014)


The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the nationally recognized accrediting body for dental and dental-related professions and receives its authority through recognition by the United States Department of Education. The Commission serves the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental related educational programs. The Commission functions independently and autonomously in matters of developing and approving accreditation standards, making accreditation decisions on educational programs and developing and approving procedures that are used in the accreditation process. It is structured to include an appropriate representation of the communities of interest. The CODA employs a collaborative peer review accreditation process to evaluate the quality of over 1,450 dental and dental-related education programs nationwide, including dental, advanced general dentistry, advanced specialty, clinical fellowship and allied dental programs. Through its accreditation activities, the Commission attempts to foster educational excellence, supports programmatic self-improvement and assures the general public of the ongoing availability of quality dental care.


You can always get the most up to date accreditation information on the Commission’s website.

For the most current New and Revised Accreditation Standards, please visit the website.

Return to Top

Return to top


This year’s Summer 2014 Meeting was held on July 31 and August 1, 2014. Click here for highlights of the major actions taken by the Commission at the open session.


The Commission reviewed accreditation reports and took 304 accreditation actions on dental, advanced dental and allied dental education programs. Accreditation status actions can be found on the Commission's website.

The Commission granted accreditation to a total of seven (7) new programs:

Education Program 
Oral Medicine
Dental Public Health
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Advanced Education in General Dentistry
Dental Hygiene
Periodontics  1

Five (5) programs received a formal warning that accreditation will be withdrawn in February 2015 unless the requested information, demonstrating compliance with the accreditation standards, is submitted prior to that time:

Education Program 
General Practice Residency
Dental Assisting
Dental Hygiene
Pediatric Dentistry
The Commission discontinued the accreditation of four (4) programs:

Education Program 
General Practice Residency
Dental Assisting
Dental Hygiene
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinical Fellowship-Oncology
  Return to Top

Adopted Policy Revisions

In association with the report of the Standing Committee on Documentation and Policy Review, the Commission took action to adopt three (3) new policies and adopted editorial changes to six (6) existing policies. A summary of the actions regarding policy is included for your review.

New Policies

  • Invoicing Process for Special Focuses Site Visits
    • requiring programs to remit payment for the Commission’s Administrative Fee and 75% of all estimated site visit costs in advance of conducting a special focused site visit, for all focused visits directed Summer 2014 and beyond
  • Policy on Changes to the Composition of Review Committees and the Board of Commissioners
    • providing circumstances under which requests for establishing new Review Committees or adding Commissioner positions will be considered and the associated procedure for such requests
  • Composition and Criteria, under the section Commission and Commission Meetings
    • describing the composition of the Board of Commissioners and criteria for appointees

Revised Policies

  • Policy on Conflict of Interest
    • providing further clarification on types of conflicts which may exist
  • Policy on Site Visitors
    • providing further clarification on annual appointment documentation collected by the Commission
  • Policy on Site Visitor Training
    • providing further clarification on review of training materials for ongoing training
  • Policy on Role of Observers on a Site Visit
    • updating the language to encourage observation of a site visit to become familiar with the accreditation process, for Commissioners, Review Committee members, and public members of the Commission or Review Committees who have not previously participated as a site visitor
  • Policy on Duration of Site Visits
    • updating the language to include information on the length of site visits for all disciplines under the Commission’s purview
  • Policy on Nomination Criteria
    • clarifying that all nominees to the Commission’s review committee and Board of Commissioners must have a willingness to commit 10 to 20 days per year to various activities

For more in-depth information on the revised policies, please review the Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures Manual.

Additional Commission Actions of General Interest

The Commission considered reports related to the activities of the Standing Committee on Quality Assurance and Strategic Planning, the Standing Committee on Nominations, the Standing Committee on Communication and Technology, and the Standing Committee on Finance. Please read more for other recent CODA actions of interest.

ADA and CODA Relationship
The Commission directed submission of a resolution to the ADA Board of Trustees at its September 2014 meeting, requesting modification to the administrative process of the CODA Research and Development Fund to: 1) eliminate the requirement that if the fund balance exceeds $100,000, any excess will be contributed to the ADA Foundation and 2) eliminate the requirement the ADA Board of Trustees provide final approval for all proposed expenditures from the Fund.

The Commission also directed the circulation of the Commission’s White Paper: Transition to an Operational Structure for Independent Authority to the American Dental Association Board of Trustees and publishing on the Commission’s website.

More information, including a copy of the White Paper, can be found on our website.

Letter to ADHA’s Access Editor

Recently, ADHA’s Access Magazine published an article entitled The Development of Dental Therapy Education Programs. The Commission believed the article included inaccuracies and omissions regarding the activities of the Commission to develop accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs and submitted a letter to the editor related to this publication.

The letter from CODA to ADHA can be found here.

Return to Top


Open Hearings:

  • ADA Annual Meeting
  • Friday, October 10, 2014
  • 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • Marriott Rivercenter, Salon 1*
  • ADAA Annual Session
  • Friday, October 10, 2014
  • 1:30 – 2:30 pm
  • Location TBA*

*Please verify the room location upon arrival

Standards Circulated for Public Comment:

Comments due December 1, 2014:

  • Proposed Accreditation Standards for Advanced Specialty Education Programs in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Proposed Accreditation Standards for Clinical Fellowship Training Programs in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Proposed Accreditation Standards for Advanced Education Programs in General Dentistry and General Practice Residency, and Advanced General Dentistry Education in Dental Anesthesiology, Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain, specifically Standard 1-1
  • Proposed Accreditation Standard 1 of the Language Common to all Advanced Specialty Education Programs
  • Proposed Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs

Comments due June 1, 2015:

  • Proposed Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs, specifically Standards 1-8, 4-6, and 4-7

The Open Hearing documents are available on the website.

Winter 2015 Commission on Dental Accreditation Meetings:

  • Review Committee Meetings – January 5-9, 2015
  • Commission Meeting – February 5, 2015 (Closed Session) and February 6, 2015 (Open Session)

For a more comprehensive listing of all upcoming Review Committee and CODA Meeting dates for 2015 – 2016, please see the document entitled CODA Meeting Dates on our website.

Return to Top


Calibration Training on Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs Planned for Fall 2015: The training is targeted for CODA-appointed predoctoral site visitors, with an opportunity for dental and academic deans to observe. A “SAVE THE DATE” notice and details will be sent as they become available. Based upon a limited number of programs evaluated under the current standards, no trend(s) has emerged. Preliminary results can be found in the Frequency of Citings document.

Commission Oversight of Enrollment Increase in a Predoctoral Dental Education Programs: Guidelines for requesting an increase in enrollment in a predoctoral dental education program complement the Commission’s Policy on Reporting Program Change and are available upon request from the Commission Office or website.   An electronic notification to all dental deans and academic deans was sent on August 27, 2014.

These Guidelines focus upon the adequacy of programmatic resources in support of additional student enrollees. Enrollment increases are tracked to ensure over time total enrollment does not exceed the resources of the program. Approval of an increase in enrollment in predoctoral dental education programs of greater than 5% of the first year enrollment, as it was documented in the last evaluation (i.e. last site visit or prior approval of enrollment increase) by the Commission, must take place prior to the implementation of the increase. The proposed increase in enrollment in predoctoral dental education programs should be calculated, on a percentage basis. Calculation of the enrollment includes advanced standing, repeating/returning students and transfer students.

Programs should be cognizant of the impending need for enrollment increases through short- and long-term planning and proactively request permission for the increase. A program considering or planning an enrollment increase, or any other substantive change, should notify the Commission early in the program’s planning. The Commission will not consider retroactive requests, nor will it consider inter-cycle requests unless there are documented extenuating circumstances.

Commission Oversight of Off-Campus Sites in a Predoctoral Dental Education Program: In addition to the Commission’s Policy on Off-Campus Sites, the Commission directed circulation of new proposed Standards to strengthen Commission oversight of the use of private practices for community-based education, for a period one year. See “Standards Circulated for Public Comment” section above. Comment will be considered by the Predoctoral Dental Education Review Committee and Commission in Summer 2015. It should be noted that these proposed new standards are among the first changes to the current standards, implemented July 1, 2013.

In February 2014, CODA staff provided a two-hour webinar to all Commission dental assisting volunteers on the 2014 Dental Assisting Standards. Due to the positive feedback received, additional webinars will be provided on other important topics related to allied dental accreditation. Please contact Commission Allied staff with any ideas or requests for future webinar topics.

In an effort to increase awareness of accreditation processes and promote understanding of Commission policies and standards, CODA Allied staff has provided accreditation content support to ADEA Allied staff in the development of a series of two-day regional accreditation workshops. The first two workshops were held in Chicago and Los Angeles with the final 2014 workshop to be held this fall in Atlanta.
At its August 1, 2014 meeting, the Commission approved modifications within the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Standards with immediate implementation. The Intent Statement for Dental Assisting Standard 2-5 now includes the term “critical thinking,” and Dental Hygiene Standards 2-9 through 2-12 were renumbered as sub-sections of Dental Hygiene Standard 2-8. The language and requirements of the standards have not been affected; the changes were made to provide improved interpretation and application by both educational programs and Commission volunteers.

The Commission staff will be preparing webinars related to preparing for a site visit, as well as, periodic updates for postdoctoral general dentistry education site visitors. Please watch future correspondence for more information on when the webinars will be available. In addition, please contact Peggy Soeldner with ideas for additional webinars.

The Commission conducted Periodontics and Endodontics site visitor trainings this summer, with the support of the American Academy of Periodontology and American Association of Endodontists, respectively. In addition, the Commission conducted Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) site visitor training and an OMS site visit orientation at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Advanced site visitors are reminded to access ADA Connect for general site visit information and materials. Site visit documents such as the Standards, SVER and postdoctoral student/resident questionnaire are no longer sent via email because these documents can now be accessed on ADA Connect. Site visitors are also reminded to reply to emails regarding 2015 site visit availability.

Return to Top


Deadline Date
 Program Report
November 14, 2014
Progress Reports related to Site Visits
 December 1, 2014
Initial Response to Site Visit Report
 December 5, 2014
Program Change Report, Request for Authorized Enrollment Report, Off-Campus Site Report, and other general reports for Commission review in Winter 2015

*Contact Commission staff with specific questions about reports and deadlines.
NOTE: Program reports and documentation must not include Patient Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII). A $1,000 penalty fee will be assessed if a program submits documentation that does not comply with the policy. A resubmission that continues to contain PHI or PII will be assessed an additional $1,000 fee.


Commission staff are available.