Adams School of Dentistry: Technical Standards


These Technical Standards describe the personal attributes and capabilities essential for admission, promotion, and certification for Adams School of Dentistry (ASOD) Students and Residents. All ASOD Students and Residents are expected to have read and understood these standards.


Unit Standard


Adams School of Dentistry: Technical Standards



These Technical Standards describe the personal attributes and capabilities essential for admission, promotion, and certification for Adams School of Dentistry (ASOD) Students and Residents.


All ASOD Students and Residents are expected to have read and understood these Technical Standards.

Technical Standards

ASOD faculty believe that an ASOD provider must possess specific knowledge, skills, and abilities. Therefore, to earn their degree and/or certificate, ASOD providers must be competent in the necessary knowledge and application of that knowledge in their professional practice and must interact appropriately with patients and other health care professionals. The standards described below detail qualifications required, in addition to academic and clinical achievements, which ASOD faculty consider essential for successful completion of the educational objectives of the curriculum. Therefore, to progress through the program, or be approved for graduation or certification, students and residents must demonstrate the following qualifications with or without reasonable accommodations.

The University and the ASOD are committed to equitable educational opportunity. The University does not discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and activities on the basis of an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Students and residents who seek accommodations, either academic or clinical, for disabilities or medical conditions must contact the University’s Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) as soon as possible. ARS will determine eligibility and recommend appropriate accommodations and services. ARS may be reached by phone at 919-962-8300 or by email at In addition, residents affiliated with the Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) at UNC Hospitals may be referred to the GME Office for further information regarding available accommodations consistent with applicable GME policies, as appropriate.

A. Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes

The ASOD provider must exhibit the attributes demanded by a rapidly evolving profession. Sound judgment, emotional and psychological stability, adaptability, and professionalism characterize the ASOD provider’s practice of oral health care. Exhibiting integrity in both clinical practice and interpersonal relationships, they must demonstrate benevolence, veracity, and accountability. An understanding and appreciation of the legal and ethical requirements of their work is necessary, and the ASOD provider must practice in accordance with the law and standards of the profession.

A high degree of humility, self-awareness, and vulnerability is required. ASOD providers must recognize their limitations, proactively take ownership of mistakes, and demonstrate emotional intelligence and capacity for self-improvement. Acceptance of critical feedback and willingness to modify one’s behavior are required. The ASOD provider is expected to be a lifelong learner.

The ASOD provider must lead with empathy and practice with compassion, prioritizing others’ needs over self. The ASOD provider must also demonstrate awareness of and actively maintain their own mental and emotional health and well-being. The ASOD provider must model agency that includes inclusivity and collaboration, embracing their role in team-based care. They must examine their assumptions and biases, recognize and understand others’ lived experiences, and treat all with dignity and respect. Understanding concepts of privilege, power, and positionality, the ASOD provider must recognize how these factors affect their role in the health care delivery system.

The ASOD provider is a model of selflessness and dedication to those they serve, making decisions motivated by concern for, and made in the best interest of patients.

NOTE: the terms in bold font are taken from ten Cate O, Chen HC.  The ingredients of a rich entrustment decision. Medical Teacher 2020;42(12):1413-1420.

Graphic ven diagram of "ingredients of trust". The components include: reliability, integrity, capability, humility, and agency

B. Stamina

The study and ongoing clinical practice of dentistry often involves a taxing workload and time-sensitive and stressful situations. The ASOD provider must demonstrate the physical, mental, and emotional stamina to maintain a high level of functioning in the face of these working conditions.

C. Intellectual Skills

The ASOD provider must demonstrate the intellectual skills necessary to study and practice oral health care. Beyond showing capability for knowledge gathering and critical appraisal, however, the ASOD provider must also exhibit intellectual curiosity. As both a student and provider, they will distill and analyze complex information, leveraging knowledge gained through scholarship and personal experience alike. The ASOD provider will seek understanding that may challenge preconceived conceptions and/or biases, considering the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of others in forming conclusions.

Demonstrating critical thinking, the ASOD provider is expected to synthesize knowledge from a diverse array of sources and learning modalities, including classroom and laboratory instruction, small group discussion, individual study, and experiential and service-based learning. The ASOD provider also will understand and effectively use computer-based technologies in pursuit of learning.

The ASOD provider will exercise their best judgment in accordance with the evidence, preparing in advance, reviewing standard practices, and anticipating potential challenges. Intellectual capacity for managing all aspects of care delivery is required, including skills related to procedural events, instrumentation and materials, patient management including post-treatment complications, and non-clinical drivers of health.

D. Communication Skills

The ASOD provider must demonstrate proficiency in both spoken and written communications. Effective interpersonal communication is required, including interpretation of nonverbal communication (e.g., body language, voice inflection). Relaying information in a professional manner with cultural humility, the ASOD provider must meaningfully consider differing backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences. Acknowledging and affirming what the patient, caregiver, care team, or community conveys, they must demonstrate empathetic listening and communicate with sensitivity and respect.

ASOD providers must exhibit  the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively in English with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients, and those supporting patients, in person and in writing. They must be able to clearly and accurately record information and accurately interpret verbal and nonverbal communications.

ASOD providers with hearing or speech disabilities will be given full consideration. In such cases, use of a trained intermediary or other appropriate communications aid may be appropriate if this intermediary functions only as an information conduit and does not serve technical or integrative functions.

E. Visual, Auditory, Tactile, and Motor Competencies

The ASOD provider must possess visual, auditory, tactile, and psychomotor capabilities to perform specific tasks in a variety of contexts that allow them to collect, synthesize, and use information from various sources in clinical and non-clinical settings. These sources include written and oral communications, illustrations, and hands-on experiences. The ASOD provider must be able to observe and participate in clinical procedures and demonstrations in a manner consistent with the highest expectations of quality. These activities include evaluation of patients and their environment through data collection and interpretation, and performance of direct care delivery.

F. Professional Standards

In both clinical and non-clinical activities, the ASOD provider must demonstrate reliability - consistent, predictable and conscientious behavior driven by a sense of curiosity and responsibility. The ASOD provider must act in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws as well as standards required to maintain accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Regulatory rules issued by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners (NCSBDE), including appropriate licensure or permit, and other agencies must be followed. The ASOD provider must conform to ASOD compliance standards, including those related to infection control, quality assurance, and credentialing. ASOD providers must protect patient confidentiality and comply with all ASOD policies and protocols, as well as state and federal policies, procedures, and laws related to protected health information (PHI), including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In summary, the ASOD provider must possess agency, reliability, integrity, capacity, and humility; qualities enabling entrustment.

Review and Approval

Reviewed by the Office of University Counsel (OUC) and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC) June 2023 and approved by the Adams School of Dentistry division chairs July 2023.

Contact Information

Topic: Questions about these Technical Standards

Officer: Executive Vice Dean for Education



Article ID: 131316
Thu 4/8/21 9:06 PM
Fri 1/5/24 10:34 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Adams School of Dentistry
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Executive Vice Dean for Education
Policy Contact
Person who handles document management. Best person to contact for information about this policy. In many cases this is not the Issuing Officer. It may be the Policy Liaison, or another staff member.
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
06/30/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
06/30/2023 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/05/2023 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
12/03/2019 2:30 PM

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