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CODA Communicator: Summer/Fall 2018

An Introduction from the Chair Upcoming Hearings, Events and Meetings 
Summer 2018 Commission Meeting Highlights  CODA Extra  
Major Actions of Interest Deadlines for Program Reports
Actions of General Interest  CODA Staff

An Introduction from the Chair

Picture of Dr. William Leffler

At the Summer 2018 Meeting of the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the Commission took actions to advance its intention of removing “specialty” terminology from the CODA website and all CODA documentation.  The Commission took these actions to eliminate terminology that unintentionally suggests which advanced dental education program is a dental specialty. The Commission is aware that there are misconceptions among some in our communities of interest of the role, if any, that the Commission plays in regards to specialty recognition. In addition, there have been instances where state boards of dentistry have referenced CODA education standards when exercising their right to recognize a particular specialty.

At its August Meeting, the Commission discussed a letter it received from certain of its communities of interest, asking CODA to reconsider (and reverse) its decision to proceed with eliminating this language. However, the Commission chose to continue with this project, which was adopted unanimously at its February 2018 Meeting.

This change in terminology clarifies that the Commission accredits education programs and does not designate which disciplines in dentistry are specialties. Also, as other entities are being created to formally recognize specialties, CODA believes retaining specialty language within its public website and documentation with regard to dental education programs will push the Commission further from its stated goal. The Commission’s sole mission is to serve the public and profession by developing and implementing accreditation standards that promote and monitor the continuous quality and improvement of dental education programs. The Commission’s decision to continue with this effort is intended to support the scope of that mission.

More information regarding the Commission’s action to remove the word “specialty” and to eliminate terminology that unintentionally suggests which advanced dental education program is a dental specialty from the CODA website and CODA documentation are included in this newsletter.

In other news, our project to develop an electronic accreditation system for the use of CODA staff, volunteers and programs has made significant progress. Staff from the ADA’s Division of Technology began demonstrating the backend (internal) interface to CODA staff in June 2018, and further development of the electronic accreditation tool is scheduled to occur through 2018 and 2019. Rest assured that staff will devote a significant amount of time and effort to testing, in order to ensure the new system will be error-free before launch.

There are additional interesting things happening for CODA, too many to list here, and so I encourage you to read on. As I conclude my term as Chair, I want to thank the Commission members for their commitment to accreditation standards, and I congratulate Dr. Loren Feldner as he assumes the role of incoming Commission Chair.

William G. Leffler, D.D.S, J.D.
Chair, Commission on Dental Accreditation (2017-2018)

Summer 2018 Commission Meeting Highlights

This year’s Summer 2018 Meeting was held on August 2-3, 2018. The Unofficial Report of Major Actions provides a summative review of the major activities during this meeting.

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Major Actions of Interest to All Accredited Programs

The Commission reviewed accreditation reports and took 364 accreditation actions on dental, advanced dental and allied dental education programs and recorded one (1) mail ballot on a maxillofacial prosthetics education program. Accreditation Status Actions can be found on the Commission’s website.

Three (3) dental assisting, one (1) pediatric dentistry and, two (2) oral and maxillofacial surgery programs received a formal warning that accreditation will be withdrawn in February 2019 unless the requested information, demonstrating compliance with the accreditation standards, is submitted prior to that time.

The Commission affirmed the reported voluntary discontinuance effective date or planned closure date of four (4) dental assisting, two (2) dental hygiene, one (1) endodontics, one (1) dental anesthesiology, and one (1) general practice residency education programs, at the request of their respective sponsoring institutions.

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Additional Commission Actions of General Interest

CODA Progresses with Removal of “Specialty” Terminology

At its February 2, 2018 meeting, the Commission on Dental Accreditation took action to remove the word specialty from all CODA documentation, as well as its website, and instead refer to all advanced dental education disciplines as advanced education programs.

At its Winter 2018 meeting, the Commission directed CODA staff to identify all necessary CODA materials to be revised, including CODA’s Rules, policies and procedures, Accreditation Standards and supporting documents, and CODA’s website. The Commission also directed staff to submit an Action Plan, to include a high-level schedule of all revisions and a strategy for communicating the implementation of these revisions to CODA’s Communities of Interest. 

The Commission reviewed this Plan and, on August 3, 2018, adopted the following actions:

  • Adopted the sample revised terminology for advanced education programs and directed staff implementation of consistent terminology within all accreditation and related guideline documents by January 1, 2019.
  • Adopted revisions found in the Commission’s Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures (EOPP) manual, with implementation in the manual and all appropriate Commission documents by January 1, 2019.
  • Directed submission of revisions to the Commission’s Rules related to advanced education program terminology to the 2018 ADA House of Delegates for approval.
  • Adopted a communication plan to disseminate these changes with immediate implementation.
Per the communication plan, CODA staff will keep the Commission’s Communities of Interest informed, via CODA Alerts, its website, this newsletter, and other channels, as this terminology project progresses.

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Proposed Standards Circulated for Public Comment are due December 1, 2018, or June 1, 2019, as applicable. Read Hearings on Standards/Comments Due for the list of standards open for comment and their respective due dates.

2018 American Dental Association (ADA) Annual Meeting Hearing on Standards

The Commission will conduct a hearing on Accreditation Standards at the 2018 ADA Annual Meeting on Friday, October 19, 2018, in Honolulu, HI, from 10:30am to 11:30am, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Mid-Pacific Conference Center, Coral IV. Please verify the room location upon arrival. Visit Hearings on Standards/Comments Due for the agenda. Please note that no written materials will be provided at this hearing. 

2019 American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Meeting Hearing on Standards

The Commission will conduct a hearing on Accreditation Standards at the 2019 American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session in March 2019 in Chicago, IL. The agenda and other information will be posted at Hearings on Standards/Comments Due when these materials become available.

Winter 2019 Commission on Dental Accreditation Meetings:
• Review Committee Meetings – January 7-11, 2019 
• Commission Meeting – February 7, 2019 (Closed Session) and February 8, 2019 (Open Session)

For a more comprehensive list of all upcoming meeting dates, read Review Committee and CODA Meeting Dates.

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CODA Adopts Mandatory Volunteer Training Plan

The mission of CODA is to serve the public and profession by developing and implementing accreditation standards that promote and monitor the continuous quality and improvement of dental education programs. Accreditation is a peer-review process, and CODA volunteers are an integral part of that process.

The Commission provides comprehensive training to all its volunteers, to ensure they are ready to serve when their volunteer term begins.

To expand and enhance that training, the Commission has adopted a new Mandatory Volunteer Training Plan. In addition to in-person training delivered in Chicago, this plan includes compulsory web-based training programs which will be either live or on-demand, thus increasing the learning opportunities without increasing the need for travel.

CODA staff are now in the process of reviewing the features of web-based e-learning tools to make certain the tool chosen deploys training effectively and is easy for the learner to use. Development of the new volunteer training program, and the associated web-based system, will progress between now and Fall 2019. CODA volunteers will receive additional information as this training program is developed and implemented.

CODA Approves 2019-2023 Communication Plan

In Spring 2017, Commission staff deployed a communication survey as a follow up to one delivered in 2012. Some of the information gleaned from the follow up survey included the fact that CODA’s Community of Interest continue to prefer email as a communication channel, with websites as a second choice, and that this community is also open to webinars as a means of gaining information from CODA.

At its Summer 2018 Meeting, with these and other insights gained from the survey, the Commission adopted the 2019-2023 Communication Plan, a comprehensive blueprint which directly supports key elements in the Commission’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.

The communication plan includes high-level deliverables and on the ground tactics, including improving the use of CODA Alerts, supporting the web-based training mentioned in the previous article, enhancing the CODA Communicator which you are reading right now, and much more.

Watch your preferred Commission’s communication channels for enhancements based on the new 2019-2023 Communication Plan.

Call for Site Visitor Nominations

CODA requests nominations to fill vacancies for Site Visitor roles. You can learn more about all of these positions on the Commission’s Call for Nominations page. Site Visitor Nomination Forms are due to CODA staff by December 1, 2018 for consideration at the Commission’s Winter 2019 meeting.

Accreditation is a peer-review process, and CODA volunteers are an integral part of that process. The Commission provides comprehensive training to all its volunteers, so volunteers will be ready to serve when their term begins. In addition, CODA staff is available to support volunteers throughout their term.

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Deadlines for Program Reports

*Deadlines for many Program Change Reports are December 1. Please refer to the Program Changes and Other Report Guidelines page for details. The Commission expects programs to adhere to published deadlines. These deadlines allow sufficient time for the appropriate Review Committees and the Commission to review the report and determine whether the change could impact the program’s potential ability to comply with the accreditation standards. You may also contact Commission staff with specific questions about reports and deadlines.


Applications for programs pursuing CODA accreditation. The first opportunity for the Commission to consider the program,
provided that the application is in order, could be approximately 12 to 18 months following the application submission date.

November 15, 2018 Deadline for Progress Reports related to Site Visits
December 1, 2018  Deadline for Initial Response to Site Visit Reports
December 1, 2018 Deadline for:
Program Change Report
Request for Authorized Enrollment Report
Sites Where Educational Activity Occurs Report
Teach-Out Report
Other reports for Commission review in Winter 2019

NOTE:  Program reports and documentation must not include Patient Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).  A $4,000 penalty fee will be assessed if a program submits documentation that does not comply with the CODA policy on privacy and data security.  A resubmission that continues to contain PHI or PII will be assessed an additional $4,000 fee. Review the Policy on Privacy and Data Security Summary for Institutions/Programs on CODA’s website. 

Programs are also reminded that they must comply with CODA’s Electronic Submission Guidelines.

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Staff Contact Information

Commission staff are available to assist you.