Campus News

Dean Scott De Rossi steps down, returns to the faculty

Known for creating a bold plan, “Moving Beyond Excellence,” De Rossi reimagined the curriculum and exceeded fundraising goals.

Dean Scott De Rossi
Scott De Rossi led the UNC Adams School of Dentistry in creating a new curriculum. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Scott De Rossi, dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, has decided to step down effective Jan. 15, 2021, and will return to the faculty, Provost Robert A. Blouin announced today in a campus email.

“Scott has been a visionary and a change agent since he arrived in January 2017, leading the school through a transformational plan to update its curriculum and surpass its fundraising goals,” Blouin wrote in his message.

As the school’s eighth dean, De Rossi led the school in its first strategic planning process in recent memory resulting in the creation of a bold plan, “Moving Beyond Excellence.” Under his leadership, the school began to rework the DDS program courses into a new format called the Advocate-Clinician-Thinker curriculum, which will see the initial phases of implementation next fall.

“He oversaw a reimagination of the school’s academic structure, creating five integrated divisions from nine departments, enhancing the school’s internal collaboration and providing new efficiencies to operations,” Blouin wrote. “These changes are critically important now as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced dental education to identify new, integrated ways to care for patients while educating its students.”

De Rossi played a key role in helping the school exceed its For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina fundraising goal of $70 million, one of the largest fundraising goals set by a U.S. dental school. He also deepened the relationship with his colleagues at UNC Health, opening new channels of communication and moving the school to the same electronic health record system to enable better and more comprehensive care for patients.

Globally, he is credited with the formation of DentAlliance, a first-of-its-kind international four-member dental school partnership designed to advance and transform research, education and practice in dentistry and the oral and craniofacial health sciences.

After he steps down, De Rossi will return to his roots as an educator, joining the Division of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences as a full-time faculty member while pursuing opportunities outside the school to advance global partnerships.

An interim dean will be appointed to begin work in January and form a search committee to find a new dean.