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Assistant Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development
Office of Academic Affairs

3302 Gaston Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75246
Phone: 214-828-8485
Email: lholyfield@tamu.edu  

Dr. Lavern Holyfield is Assistant Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development.  She is chair of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC).  She is directly responsible for oversight, planning and implementation of initiatives to foster professional development and skills enhancement among the faculty.

Dr. Holyfield is a fellow of the American Dental Association’s (ADEA) Leadership Institute and the 2012-2013 ADEA Gies Foundation Education Fellow.  She also completed the Institute for Teaching and Learning, a program sponsored by the ADEA and the Academy for Academic Leadership.

As chair of the Faculty Development Committee, Holyfield works collaboratively with faculty and students throughout the institution to foster and sustain a culture that practices, values, and rewards high-quality teaching and learning as both an individual and institutional priority.

Dr. Holyfield can be reached at:


Education and Post-Graduate Training

D.D.S., General Dentistry. Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, Texas; 1977
B. A., Biology, Grambling State University; Grambling, Louisiana; 1974

Career History

  • Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development, Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX;  2019 – present
  • Associate Professor, Texas A&M College of Medicine, Education for Health Professionals Program, College Station, TX; 2012 to Present
  • Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Development, Office of Academic Affairs, Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX; 2010 to 2018
  • Assistant Professor Department of Public Health Sciencesand Director of Faculty Development, Office of Academic Affairs, TAMU Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX; 2005 – 2010
  • Assistant Professor, Departments of Public Health and Diagnostic Sciences, TAMU Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX; 2001 - 2005
  • Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, Department Community Health and Preventive Dentistry, Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX; 1988 -1992

Teaching Interests

Dr. Holyfield's interests have focused on training skilled clinicians, enhancing pedagogy and fostering a climate of cultural sensitivity and inclusion. Initially, I instructed pre-doctoral students in Preventive Dentistry and Oral Diagnosis clinics. This included oversight of students in extramural clinics.

Shortly after being appointment director of faculty development, Dr. Holyfield learned that faculty manpower shortage was a major cause of concern among administrators of U.S. dental schools. Studies identified the scholarship of teaching as one of the greatest factors contributing to this shortage Surmising that the inability of individual faculty members to successfully meet the responsibilities of teaching could be attributed, in part, to a lack of formal training in academia, I set about determining options to help address the concern.

First, she received approval for a selective, Exploring Dental Academia. The course was designed to introduce the idea of an academic career early during the students’ professional training as a means of enhancing the future faculty pipeline and to provide a foundation for undergraduate dental students in the pedagogical skills necessary to succeed as dental educators. She also introduced a teaching component to the Faculty Development and Networking Series through which colleagues would gain instruction in specific aspects of pedagogy ranging from engaging students in interactive classroom learning to teaching and assessing with technology. Currently, Dr. Holyfield is a graduate faculty member for the Educational for Health Professionals Program where she serves as course director and instructor for an online course on teaching strategies. Similarly, she has served as a guest presenter in the teaching skills course.

Research Interests

Periodically, Dr. Holyfield served as a research mentor for five students in the College of Dentistry Summer Research Program between 2003 and 2013. Subjects included tobacco education and cessation and cultural competence. Grants in which has served a key role are listed below:

  • Bridge to dentistry: Awareness to practicing/teaching/research. HRSA D34 HP24458; 2012-2017; (Co-Investigator)
  • CUSPID: College of Dentistry's oral health research education grant. NIH/NIDCR 1R25 DE018883; 2008-2013; (Steering Committee)
  • Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Network, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Sept. 1, 2009 – August 31, 2010 (PI
  • Spit Tobacco Prevention Network, Texas Cancer Council, Sept. 1999 - August 2009 (PI)
  • Translating Dental Student Tobacco Education, National Institute of Dento-Cranial Research, Sept. 1, 2003 – Aug. 31, 2008. (Co-investigator)

Selected Publications

  1. Holyfield L, Miller B. A Tool for Assessing Cultural Competence in Dental Education. JDent Educ. 2013 77:992-999.
  2. Holyfield L, Berry C. Designing an Orientation Program for New Faculty. J Dent Educ. 2008 72: 1531-1543
  3. Wilder RS, O’Donnell JA, Barry JM, Galli DM, Hakim FF, Holyfield LJ, Robbins MR. Is Dentistry at Risk? A Case for interprofessional education. J Dent Educ. 2008 72: 1231-1237
  4. Holyfield L, Bolin K, Rankin K, Shulman J, Jones D, Eden B. Use of computer technology to modify objective structured clinical examinations. Journal of Dental Education. (October, 2005)
  5. Holyfield, L. “Spit Tobacco: Content, Nicotine Delivery, Health Effects, & Cessation.” Texas Dental Journal, (June, 2005 pp. 536-545)

Academic & Professional Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, American Dental Education Association (ADEA)/Gies Foundation Fellowship, 2012
  • Recipient, Texas A& M Baylor College of Dentistry Institutional Service Award, 2012
  • Recipient, ADEA/GlaxoSmithKline/National Dental Association Jeanne Sinkford Fellowship, 2007
  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude, Grambling State University, 1974