Lyon College names founding dean for dental school

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,163 views 

A new veterinary and dental school will be located in Heifer International's current headquarters.

Lyon College appointed Wednesday (Jan. 11) Dr. Burke Soffe of Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine (CODM) in South Jordan, Utah, as founding dean of the Lyon College School of Oral Health and Dental Medicine.

“We are very excited that Dr. Soffe has agreed to serve as the founding dean of the Lyon College School of Oral Health and Dental Medicine,” said Lyon College President Dr. Melissa Taverner. “His vision for dental education in the 21st Century completely aligns with that of Lyon College and OneHealth, so we believe that we have found the perfect partner to bring our collective vision to fruition.”

Soffe will begin his official duties on July 1 and will serve in an advisory capacity for the next few months as Lyon College pursues accreditation with the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

He currently serves as assistant dean for faculty development and curriculum at Roseman University CODM. He has served as a full-time faculty member at Roseman University CODM since January 2013 and previously served as director of curriculum, director of clinical education and clinical practice team leader.

Dr. Soffe also practiced in a private clinic in Virginia for five years before joining Roseman CODM.

Dr. Burke Soffe.

Soffe has a doctorate in medical dentistry from the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine in Las Vegas. He also holds a master’s degree in curriculum design from Western Governors University and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Virginia University.

“I was intrigued with the idea of joining Lyon College to develop not just a stand-alone dental school, but also a dental home safety net for the entire state that includes partnerships with local dentists and clinics,” Soffe said. “As founding dean, I look forward to addressing the oral health needs of the underserved across Arkansas. I look forward to the school improving oral health literacy, access to dental care, and enhancing the efficiency of dental education with a focus on quality, person-centered care. I also look forward to working with state and local officials, organized dentistry, dental industry stakeholders, and dentists across the state to understand their professional needs and develop partnerships.”

Lyon College announced in March 2022 it would develop dental and veterinary schools in Little Rock. In late November, the Higher Learning Commission Institutional Actions Council approved the college’s requests to offer the Doctor of Medical Dentistry and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine professional degrees.

The college is preparing to submit accreditation applications with both CODA and American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education early this year. Pending the accreditors’ approvals, inaugural classes could start as early as 2024 or 2025.