Owens Graduate, Dental Assisting Faculty Member Receives Teaching Excellence Award

Nicole Buchanan

Nicole Buchanan

The plans we have in our lives can change in an instant with a spur of the moment opportunity. That was the case for Nicole Buchanan, a 2013 Owens Dental Hygiene graduate who is now a Dental Assisting instructor and this year’s recipient of the School of Nursing and Health Professions Teaching Excellence Award.

“I am honored to receive the Teaching Excellence Award. I love what I do and it’s surreal to be recognized by the School of Nursing and Health Professions,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan’s road to teaching began by chance when she was pursuing her degree. Beth Tronolone, Chair of Dental Hygiene Programs, came into a lab class asking if someone could help teach blood pressure in dental assisting. Buchanan jumped in to help out. “I had to go to a meeting and by the time I went back to check in, Nicole was running the course with no issues,” said Tronolone. “It was pure luck in the best way. Nicole stepped up in a big way,” she added.

After graduating, Buchanan became an adjunct faculty member at Owens and later became a full-time faculty member.

In her nomination, Tronolone noted how Buchanan constantly uses new and innovative ideas to improve student learning outcomes. In the dental program, students learn about classifications of tooth decay and Buchanan found a unique way to make the lesson not only information but memorable as well. “Nicole will make tooth cookies and has students apply icing on the tooth for different types of decay,” said Tronolone.

“The most rewarding part about teaching is helping the student learn the knowledge and skills necessary to have a great career,” said Buchanan. “Dental hygiene and dental assisting can be life-changing careers and it’s awesome to be a part of the students’ success.”

Dental Hygiene >>
School of Nursing and Health Professions >>

Published June 2023