'Room with a View' by Professor Grant McIntyre, Dean of the Dental Faculty
20 October 2023
Since being handed the reins by Professor Phil Taylor at the Faculty AGM in September, I have not been short of things to do. As Dean, I try to be physically present in the College and when I first used the Dean's office, it struck me that it was indeed, a room with many views. This article is a bit of a twist on the 1908 novel "A room with a view" and 1985 film critiquing early 20th century society.
I would like to thank Phil publicly for encouraging me during my time as Vice-Dean and providing a rich source of wisdom since I became Dean. The role is not a solo effort, and I am grateful to Dental Executive, Dental Council, the Faculty team, Members & Fellows, our super College staff and many other people across the College for helping me settle in. The Dean's office is at the heart of the College, but also has a view over our gardens and the Playfair building. I notice when sitting at the Dean's desk just how many global citizens visit the College on a daily basis. Being Dean, I have a new viewpoint of how our Faculty fits in the College and wider world.
I have just returned from holiday in the South of France and, in addition to the lovely views, two things were clear to me. Firstly, like Edinburgh, even the Côte d'Azur can be sunny one day and very wet & grey the next. Secondly, whilst money can buy most things, RCSEd membership is more exclusive than even the most 'exclusive' clubs in Monaco. Moreover, I have been taking a 'view' on our qualifications which are of significance in all of our careers. The majority of educational systems in mainland Europe are based on the licence, master and doctor system. RCSEd qualifications are of course diplomas, and the word "diploma" relates to different educational standards in different countries. As a Faculty, considerable work is going on to get our new suite of Diploma examinations ready for 'go live' during 2024. If you would like to become involved with question writing and examining, I would encourage you to become involved. I 'view' the suite of Diplomas as being a key step in the evolution of our Faculty to engage with a new group of non-specialists but nevertheless, very skilled practitioners.
On the topic of Diplomas, I have been on the platform for many diploma ceremonies over the years at RCSEd, as well as graduation ceremonies at the University of Dundee. Being Dean, I now have an important ceremonial role, through a new viewpoint at the lectern addressing the diplomates along with the President. It is always a pleasure to welcome many new Members and Fellows across our dental family, and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes by the College staff for these is considerable. These are set to become a regular feature in my diary, with a number of additional ceremonies being added to the six standard events each year in order to help clear the backlog of diplomates waiting to formally join the College. This is a good sign of health for our Faculty and the wider College.
The conflict in Israel and Gaza has been distressing for all of us and while other global conflicts are now slightly out of focus, this in no way means that those suffering elsewhere should be forgotten. The College will monitor the situation in Gaza and Israel and the implications for neighbouring countries. My thoughts are with everyone involved, and I hope that a peaceful solution to all world conflict can be found quickly.
Closer to home, Dental Executive has taken a view on the recent Labour party media release on their plans for dentistry should they form the next UK government. The Faculty issued a press release, and we plan to lobby politicians in the UK for improvements in access to dental care through the College's parliamentary unit and manifestos. As a Faculty, this is an important objective across the globe as well and we will be developing plans to work with governments in other countries.
Throughout the College and within the Faculty of Dental Surgery, we are actively looking to develop our fellowship base. If you have held a Specialty Membership for 5 years or more, you are likely to be eligible to 'upgrade' to Fellowship by application. The process is relatively simple, and I would encourage you to become a Fellow so that you can play a greater part within the Faculty and wider College as your career develops. Being a Fellow of our College is valuable, and fellowship in its broadest sense is something that shapes us, our Faculty and the College.
Unlike 'A room with a view', our Faculty continually innovates and reinvents whilst maintaining our stable base at the heart of our College. From my office with many views in Edinburgh, I hope to help shape our Faculty over the next three years. I would welcome your views too, so please get in touch.