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Office of the Dean

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Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, FAGD
The William N. Finnegan III Distinguished Professor in the Dental Sciences

Responsibilities of the dean include providing vision and leadership in directing, coordinating and integrating the teaching, research, practice and service missions of UTHealth School of Dentistry. In consultation with faculty and administrators, the dean has overall responsibility and authority for:

  • Strategic planning and operations.
  • Continuous quality improvement of curriculum and instruction.
  • Fiscal planning, resource acquisition and management, including budget preparation, supervision and utilization.
  • Student affairs, including admissions and enrollment management, financial aid, counseling and other student support services and activities.
  • Space and facilities planning and management including capital projects.
  • Academic program development, evaluation and revision.
  • Personnel administration, including faculty and staff appointments, retention and development.
  • Promoting cultural and ethnic diversity within the School of Dentistry.
  • Fundraising, alumni affairs and public relations.

The dean serves as spokesperson for the faculty and represents the School of Dentistry within the wider UT System, the academic and professional community and the business community. The dean is responsible for advocating for dentistry and maintaining relationships between UTSD and local, state, regional, national and international agencies and organizations.

He's the first UTSD dean on social media. For news, updates and commentary about the school, dentistry and life in general, follow @jvalenza on Twitter and @j_valenza on Instagram.

Student & Academic Affairs

The Office of Student and Academic Affairs provides student and academic services for applicants, current students, and faculty. Student Affairs is responsible for admissions, student records, student life, and support services. Academic Affairs focuses on planning, developing and evaluating academic programs and policies. The Office of Student and Academic Affairs is committed to the pursuit of excellence in all of the School of Dentistry’s student and academic activities.

Annual Security Report

The UTHealth Houston Annual Security Report is available online. Paper copies are provided upon request. The report contains information on campus crime statistics and security measures. You can contact The University of Texas Police Department at 713-792-2890 to obtain a copy of the report.


UTHealth has a communications officer stationed at each of its six schools, with members of the Media Relations Team (based at University Center Tower) assigned to specific schools as well.

UTSD Communications

Rhonda Whitmeyer, Communications Manager

Mallory LaSalvia, Communications Specialist

This office is the contact for:

  • Sharing news, photos, links in UTSD publications
  • General coverage of UTSD events and activities
  • UTSD social media
  • UTHealth School of Dentistry logos
  • FYI Monitors (elevator slides)
  • Calendar postings
  • General inquiries

UTHealth Media Relations

Robert Cahill, Senior Media Relations Specialist
713-500-3042 or 24-Hour Media Hotline 713-500-3030

This office is the contact for:

  • Journalists (print, broadcast, digital, etc.) interested in news stories
  • Access to UTHealth experts to interview
  • Any UTHealth employee who has been contacted by the media for work-related issues.

Office of Development


Gifts to UTHealth School of Dentistry make a difference in the lives of patients, students, educators, researchers, and – most of all – to the donors themselves. Our Office of Development specializes in matching dreams with opportunities in ways that maximize the positive impact for everyone involved.

By supporting the school with personally meaningful gifts, donors may also achieve certain tax or investment benefits. Our development team can provide guidance about planned giving; gifts of stocks, securities and real property; and other ways to give that impact the school’s three-part mission of education, patient care, and research.

The Office of Development also works to build a continuing relationship between alumni and the school, so that graduation day is not the end of the connection, but merely a new beginning.

“Our school depends on the support and generosity of our alumni, friends and others if we truly want to be a world-class institution. These additional dollars are difference-makers to the school, and we hope also in the lives of our donors.”

— Dean John A. Valenza, DDS ’81
The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

Finance and Administration

Guided by the policies and procedures of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and UT System, the associate dean for management provides financial analysis and reporting, advises the dean on ways to optimize operations and services, and is responsible for the coordination and administration of the operational and financial affairs of the school. 

Responsibilities include advising, assisting, and monitoring the school's business activities including finance, human resource management, contractual operations, equipment and inventory management, information systems, and space needs.

Patient Care

The Office of Patient Care is responsible for dealing with the needs of all patients at the School of Dentistry and its off-site clinics and hospital affiliations. From the initial contact through assessment and ongoing care, the Office of Patient Care is there to answer questions and deal with any issues patients may have.

The Office of Patient Care has two primary divisions:  Clinical Services and Patient Services. The office also is responsible for clinical education and quality improvement, community outreach, and day-to-day operation of the school's faculty practice, UT Dentists.  

We always have our patients' best interests in mind and will enforce their rights and ensure their privacy as patients of the School of Dentistry. 

Professional Development
& Faculty Affairs

The Office of Professional Development and Faculty Affairs was established to provide leadership, advocacy, support and assistance to administration and faculty in improving the quality of teaching and learning. Additionally, the office focuses on developing or enhancing leadership skills, communication, faculty development, research, academic skills, cultural diversity and interdisciplinary activities.

These goals are accomplished through a spirit of collaboration with all involved, while supporting the overall mission and goals of the School of Dentistry in pursuit of excellence of teaching and learning, education, research, patient care and institutional development. In 2013, the office established a new Center for Teaching and Learning, focused on supporting our dental educators.

The Office of Professional Development and Faculty Affairs is involved in the Summer Health Professions Education Program as well as the recruitment, employment and retention of faculty for the school.


UTHealth School of Dentistry's Office of Research provides support, liaison and guidance for all clinical, basic and student research efforts.  The office directs and maintains laboratories, in addition to managing intra- and extramural grant submissions.  The school's biomedical research focuses on the craniofacies with emphasis on normal and abnormal development, nonsyndromic oral clefts, tooth agenesis, oral carcinogenesis, mucosal immunity, autoimmunity, molecular imaging of cancer, biomaterials, biomarker discovery, pathogenesis of periodontal disease and tissue regeneration.

The School of Dentistry's location in the Texas Medical Center provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration with local, national and international research partners. The integration with the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences provides exceptional resources for planning clinical trials, biostatistics, bioethics, epidemiology, and core facilities for various types of biological assays. We also assist in the research for the Center for Craniofacial Research and the Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics.

Strategic Planning

The Office of Strategic Planning is responsible for applying the strategic-planning process to various UTHealth School of Dentistry activities. Through interaction with professional dental organizations, the strategic planning team identifies professional trends that impact dentistry and dental education. The team advises the dean and the UTSD faculty.

The office also serves as administrative liaison and resource for the Outcomes Assessment Committee. The office leads and oversees the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) Self-Study process and the ADA-CODA Accreditation Site Visit. The office is responsible for writing reports required by the dean, the health science center, the American Dental Education Association and other entities.

UT System Strategic Initiatives
UTHealth Strategic Directions

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Technology Services and Informatics (TSI) provides support for students, faculty and staff in the areas of library services, clinical and educational technology, media production and web services. It is also home to the informatics research group, which provides support and assistance with data collection, analysis, presentation and visualization.

TSI is the driving force behind technology innovations at the School of Dentistry. From technology assessments and implementation to training and hardware support we have a guiding hand in all aspects of technology. This ensures a consistent and professional level of support throughout the school and means that our systems are integrated correctly and are the most appropriate available for the required task.