Senior Associate Dean Dr. W. Leandra Best Retires

Leandra Best

Dr. W. Leandra Best

After an exemplary career of dedication, innovation, leadership and collaboration, Dr. Leandra Best, Clinical Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the Faculty of Dentistry, has retired effective December 2, 2019 from UBC.

A DMD graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in 1985 and a successful General Dentist practicing in the Vancouver area, Dr. Best joined the Faculty of Dentistry as a part-time Clinical Instructor in July 1, 1999, was appointed full time as a Clinical Assistant Professor in 2002 and promoted to Clinical Professor in 2014. Dr. Best served the Faculty with integrity and an unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching, service and scholarly activity.

Dr. Best has been widely recognized for her work. She has received multiple awards for teaching excellence and contributions to dental education, including a Dentistry Teaching Award in 2004, the Killam Teaching Prize in 2006, the 3M-ESPE Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry (ACFD) National Teaching Award in 2007, a nomination for a prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2015, and an Award for Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Interprofessional Professional Development given by UBC Health in 2017. Her collaborative work with the Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) resulted in a 2016 First Place Award for Curriculum Innovation to the UBC Faculty of Dentistry team.

As an educational leader, Dr. Best developed and implemented significant curriculum change, based on her deep understanding of student learning and her own research on assessment, curriculum revitalization and student learning skills. She contributed numerous Problem-Based Learning (PBL) cases, developed PBL assessments for both admissions and DMD curriculum, created Dental Applied Learning Experiences (DALEs) connecting basic science learning to clinical practice, and took a leadership role in a project assessing essential basic science objectives in dental education. She also oversaw the DMD curriculum renewal from start to finish. Dr. Best’s continued commitment to educational research has been recognized beyond Dentistry, where she initiated or was a co-investigator on UBC projects that were awarded almost $600,000.00 in funding. Her first-author manuscript on reaching consensus on biomedical science objectives was recognized as one of the top ten articles published in the Journal of Dental Education for 2016.

Dr. Best has also demonstrated a notable commitment to service at UBC and beyond. She coordinated Years One and Two of the DMD program from 2003-2011, and served on numerous committees. She was appointed Associate Dean Academic in 2011. She was elected to Fellowship in both the American College of Dentists (2013) and the International College of Dentists (2014). She served as Acting Dean in July 2017 and was appointed Senior Associate Dean in July, 2017 by the Acting Provost.

On a personal note, Dr. Best is immensely grateful to her husband, Dale (family physician), and their two daughters Ashley and Allison, as well as other family for their unwavering love and support, and to her many friends and colleagues, staff and faculty, for their passion and shared vision. She feels privileged for having had years of inspirational interactions with students. She is looking forward to more time for painting, playing her piano, cello and ukulele. The Drs. Best plan to retire in the Lower Mainland, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.