National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

By Sofia Atsali

School of Dentistry, Athens Greece: One of the best #50 dental schools wordwide by QS

Τhe dean of the School of Dentistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), Prof. Fivos Madianos talks to Sofia Atsali & Dental Tribune Greece about this important recognition.

 

1.What is the meaning of this high-ranking achievement?

The recognition of the School of Dentistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) as one of the best 50 Dental Schools worldwide by QS, one of the most reliable and valid World University Ranking systems, is a major achievement. We feel very proud of this recognition, which reflects on the combined efforts and the commitment of faculty, undergraduate and postgraduate students and all personnel. Despite numerous challenges and limitations, including the very limited financial resources and the ever decreasing number of faculty, the School of Dentistry NKUA has demonstrated resilience and unwavering commitment to its core value of pursuing academic excellence. Intensifying and focusing our efforts, we have achieved to maintain a high level of undergraduate and postgraduate education, while we continued and frequently expanded our academic endeavors in the fields of research and scholarly activities, culminating into a significant number of high quality scientific publications. The recognition of these efforts by our international peers, as objectively measured by the scores we received in the relevant QS-assessed parameters of academic reputation, employer reputation, citations and h-index, give us further strength and motivation to keep working hard and improving.

 

2.Have your students realized the importance of this international recognition?

I believe that our students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, fully realize that this significant international recognition reflects on them, their efforts and their future as much as it reflects on the faculty and the personnel of the School of Dentistry NKUA.

If we look at each one of the parameters evaluated by QS, the citations and the h-index are directly related to the scientific productivity and the publication record and performance of our School, which, of course, includes our students. Especially, our postgraduate students, at both the Masters’ and the PhD level, have made a major contribution by performing and publishing their Masters’ theses and PhD dissertations. At the same time, numerous highly motivated undergraduate students have actively participated in research projects and scientific publications. In addition, a large number of our graduates either pursue their post graduate studies in institutions abroad or work as dentists in Europe and overseas, where they excel in every way. Therefore, the high scores in the parameter of academic and employers’ reputation reflect on the level of our graduates.

 

3.Has this recognition parallel linkings to the professional careers of your students?

Further to my answer to your previous question, the assessed parameters of academic reputation and, especially, employers’ reputation measure, among other things, the overall opinion of the international academic community and potential future employers for the graduates of our School. This is directly related to the future career opportunities of our students, who not only share the pride and the ownership of this achievement, but can also take advantage of this recognition; for example if somebody applies for further studies, academic positions or jobs worldwide.  Moreover, regardless of the career path that each of our graduates may follow, studying in one of the best 50 Dental Schools in the world guarantees that our students receive all the tools, including the scientific knowledge, up-to-date information and access to new technological and research achievements, that will be necessary in order to pursue a successful and fulfilling career in the dental profession.

 

4.Do you feel more responsible because of this recognition? What does this great achievement generate?

This great achievement reasonably generates higher expectations and an even stronger sense of responsibility to all of us, first and foremost to the School Administration. We all recognize that in order to maintain and further improve our position in the international rankings, we need to expand on our advantages, but also to find effective ways to solve our chronic problems and deficiencies. Achieving this goal requires decisive solutions, especially with regards to the financial support of the School and the recruitment of new Faculty and staff. We believe that the excellent reputation of our School, which was gained despite major obstacles in recent years, is a very strong argument in favor of decisions and actions by the University and the Government that could secure the future of the School.

 

5.Let’ assume that a foreign student choose to study in School of Dentistry in Athens, would such a scenario be possible?

At the moment, our Postgraduate programs are provided in Greek. However, our Postgraduate students have to demonstrate a very good knowledge and command of the English language, considering that most of the literature is in English. In addition, the Postgraduate students can select to write their Masters’ Thesis or PhD Dissertation in English or another language. We have long contemplated with the idea of providing our Postgraduate Programs in English too, so to attract foreign students. Surely, our increased academic reputation and improved international ranking is an additional motivation to intensify these efforts.

 

6.Professors can inspire their students and lead them to achieve their goals. What feelings are generated to you from being on the best 50 dental schools worldwide?

As Dean of the School of Dentistry NKUA, I feel extremely proud and fortunate to lead a School with such great faculty members, staff and students. This recognition and success is by no means the work of a single or a few individuals, not even the work of only the current generation of administrators, faculty, staff and students. Many generations of Deans, Professors, personnel and students have worked very hard to fulfill our vision to bring our Dental School among the best in the world. Personally, I feel blessed that I serve as the Dean at the moment that the collective efforts and dedication of so many great leaders, scientists and clinicians are recognized by the international scientific community. Especially, I feel obliged to express my gratitude and admiration to the current faculty and staff for managing to overcome major challenges in recent years, still providing a very high level of education and training to our students, who, in turn, have proved to be our greatest hope for the future.

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