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Bentley receives McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award

Published: May 24, 2024 by Dylan Allen

Dr. Dan Bentley holds his framed certificate for the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award inside his Red Practice.
Dr. Dan Bentley holds his framed certificate for the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award inside his Red Practice. Photo by Dylan Allen.

Associate Professor Dan A. Bentley, DDS, has been named the 2024 recipient of the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award at UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry.

Chosen by third- and fourth-year dental students, the McGovern Award recognizes excellence in clinical teaching. Bentley’s award was announced during the Schools of Dentistry’s annual DDS Senior Awards.

“It was a great honor to be recognized by these students,” said Bentley, who serves as director of the Red Practice. “This class has been nothing but kind to me since they entered clinic, and even ones who had no reason to be, because I had no input into their clinical experiences.”

The 2024 honor marks the third for Bentley, who was previously recognized in 2018 and 2011.

Bentley follows a simple but radical teaching philosophy that was inspired by a book he once read. The ideology governing his instruction is to “love the students first,” which has proven to create an environment that makes students conducive to high-quality learning outcomes.

“Dental students are amazing people with amazing talents and potential,” he said. “They are endearing. They draw you in to want to experience their learning with them. It is a relational experience involving the patient in the middle, a student in the lead, and a faculty member behind, sometimes besides, and, occasionally, in front of the student when needed.”

Making his students his top priority, Bentley says that the best part about his job is getting to see them become comfortable in a professional setting.

“I think the best part is watching the students who are transparent enough to let us know them well in the beginning of their clinical time at the School of Dentistry grow professional and personally by the time they graduate.

“They help me appreciate getting to do this, especially this time of year,” he said. “It is also with real sadness that I have to watch them leave.”

Bentley received his bachelor of science in microbiology from Texas A&M University and his doctorate of dental surgery from UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.

Before joining the UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry faculty team in 2007, Bentley spent 25 years in private practice in Amarillo, Texas. He currently divides his time between serving as a faculty member in the undergraduate clinic and at the private practice shared with his daughter, Michelle Camp, DDS, in Bryan, Texas.

The McGovern Award comes with a cash prize. Award winners include:

  • Dan Bentley, DDS, 2024, 2018, 2011
  • Stephen Laman, DDS, 2023
  • Bonita A. Wynkoop, RDH, DDS, 2022
  • Long D. Tran, PharmD, DDS, 2021
  • Dianna M. Arriaga, DDS, MEd, 2020
  • Cleverick (C.D.) Johnson, MS, DDS, 2019, 1993
  • Rodney Beetar, DDS, MS, 2017, 2012, 2010, 1996, 1989
  • Amity Gardner, DDS, 2016
  • Ralph Cooley, DDS, 2015
  • Trevor Treasure, DDS, MD, MBA, 2014
  • Debra Stewart, DDS, 2013
  • Shiwei Cai, DDS, PhD, 2009
  • Robert (Rod) Dosch, DDS, 2008
  • Donald Belles, DDS, MS, 2007
  • Richard Bebermeyer, DDS, MBA, 2006, 1990
  • Gary Frey, DDS, 2005
  • Donna Warren Morris, RDH, MEd, 2004, 2002
  • Gene Stevenson, DDS, MS, 2003
  • Jayne McWherter, RDH, MEd, 2001
  • Maribeth Stitt, RHD, MEd, 2000
  • Jeffrey Chang, DDS, 1999
  • Sam Adkisson, DDS, 1998, 1994, 1992, 1985
  • Leslie Roeder, DDS, 1997
  • Edmund Strickler, DDS, 1995
  • Cornelius Sullivan, Jr., DDS, 1991
  • Kenneth Porter, DDS, 1988, 1986
  • Willis Smith, DDS, 1987
  • Clyde Coe, DDS, 1984
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