Kathleen Newell earned her graduate dental hygiene degree in 1968, her bachelor’s in 1971, master’s in education in 1976, and her doctorate in education in 1987, all from the University of Minnesota. Beginning as a teaching assistant in the Program of Dental Hygiene in the Dental School in 1969, Dr. Newell’s growing academic achievements positioned her for promotion. She became director of the Division of Dental Hygiene in 1984. She retired in 2005 but continued to serve the Dental School and the Division of Dental Hygiene in smaller capacities, earning the Alumni Service Award from the University in 2013.
Dr. Kathleen Newell begins with an overview of her upbringing and education. She discusses the degrees she earned at the University of Minnesota, including a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate, her experiences as a student in dental hygiene, her decision to pursue graduate work in education. She then reflects on varying atmospheres of retrenchment and manpower issues, her work with other dental hygiene schools across Minnesota, changing dental hygiene practice, the creation of the dental therapist, and changing roles of the dental hygienist. Dr. Newell then discusses collaborations between the dental students and the dental hygiene students, her committee work, her work on professional organizations, comparisons of different hygiene programs, the culture of the dental hygiene program, Dr. Erwin Schaeffer’s tenure as dean, and Ione Jackson and then Donna Aker’s leadership of the Division of Dental Auxiliaries. In considering her own leadership of the hygiene program, Dr. Newell discusses the relationship among the allied health sciences, her work with Drs. Richard Oliver and Richard Elzay as consecutive deans of the Dental School, the threat of closure to the Dental School in 1988, and gender and professionalization in the Dental School. She concludes with brief comments on Dr. Michael Till’s tenure as dean.
Dr. Kathleen Newell was born and raised in Wadena, Minnesota. After graduating from High School, Dr. Newell arrived at the University of Minnesota, where she completed her dental hygiene training (Graduate Dental Hygienist, GDH) in 1968. From 1969 to 1971, she worked part time in clinical practice and part time as a teaching assistant while concurrently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene education, which she completed in 1971. While teaching full time in the Dental School, she completed in her Master’s in Education in 1976, with an emphasis in curriculum and higher education instruction. In 1984, she became director of the Division of Dental Hygiene. She completed her PhD in Education in 1987. She retired in 2005 but continued to serve the Dental School and the Division of Dental Hygiene in smaller capacities, such as promoting the creation of a master’s program in dental hygiene. She earned the Alumni Service Award from the University in 2013.