Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


The purpose of this Major Applied Research Project was to determine the cost-effectiveness of the two-year Dental Hygiene Program at Fayetteville Technical Institute and to assess the employment opportunities for graduates of this program. Pressures have been mounting at the national, state, and institutional levels for administrators to justify their budget requests, particularly requests for health profession educational programs. This study of the cost - effectiveness of the Dental Hygiene Program addressed questions about program operations in quantitative terms using cost analysis. A cost-effectiveness study was conducted using data compiled on the operation of the Dental Hygiene Program for the years 1982 to 1986. The study conducted specifically on the flow and patterns of resource consumption and the services required by the program. This entailed a review of the costs of the program, and an investigation of possible alternatives to providing these services at Fayetteville Technical Institute. The methodology employed four major steps: Step one was the compilation of dollar inputs depicting them in a flow diagram (cost construction model). Step two consisted of the needs assessment which utilized the surveys of dentists in the local area, graduates of the Dental Hygiene Program, and students who are currently enrolled in the program. Step three utilized the cost-effectiveness analysis that considered all co piled data to draw conclusions and make recommendations to the administration about the costs and effects of the program. Step four detailed the conclusions about the dollar inputs, results of the program, and the requirements for the continuation of the program. From 1982 to 1986, a total of one hundred seventy two students, or an average of thirty-four students per year, have been enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program. A total of seventy-eight students graduated during this period. The average number of faculty was 4.4. The results of this study will assist administrators in their decision making process by allowing them to examine and manipulate the relationship between the program elements of student enrollment, faculty involvement, class size, and basic program structure to obtain optimal educational experiences from available resources. Employment opportunities for graduates of the program were studied by surveying all sixty-two prospective employers in Cumberland County, the primary area serve by Fayetteville Technical Institute, and seventy-eight students who graduated during the past five years. Eighteen students who are currently enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program were also surveyed to determine what factors influenced their enrollment decisions. The in-depth approach of this study, involving both the actual costs and outcome of the program, provided the information necessary for assessing program performance and management. Additionally, this study developed a model for administrators of the institution, as well as others, to use in future program and budget planning. The results of the study indicated that the Dental Hygiene Department meets, or exceeds, the requirements of the American Dental Association and the North Carolina Community College System. The revenues generated by the Dental Hygiene Department have never covered the costs of the program. The cost of the Dental Hygiene Program has risen over the past five years while enrollment has declined. The major portion of the program cost is faculty salaries. Rising costs for the department and the decline in the FTEs generated have created a situation that concerns the department chairman and the school administration. Although employment opportunities for dental hygienists in general are good, seventy percent of the graduates of Fayetteville Technical Institute are employed outside of the local service area. This situation, and the American Dental Association's guidelines for student/teacher ratio of seven to one, makes it difficult to justify extensive recruiting efforts to increase student enrollment as a means to improve the financial picture for the department. In an effort to improve the coat-effectiveness of the Dental Hygiene Program, it recommended that the administration place the Dental Hygiene Department on a ten month program, eliminating the Summer Quarter. It was further recommended that the administration consider the feasibility of replacing, through attrition, part of the faculty with adjunct faculty. The Dental Hygiene Department should continue recruiting efforts at its current level. There should be further studies conducted in the following areas: Appropriateness of the American Dental Association student/teacher ratio, reasons for declining enrollments in this institute's Dental Hygiene Program while other institutes in this state have had an increasing share of the total enrollment, and investigating the possibility of offsetting the coat of the program by crediting the Dental Hygiene Department with funds received for services rendered.

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