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School recognizes two faculty members for outstanding teaching

The School of Dentistry has honored Dr. Xavier Lepe and Dr. Sami Dogan with its highest faculty recognition, the Bruce R. Rothwell Awards for Teaching Excellence.

At a Zoom faculty meeting on Wednesday, Dr. Lepe received the Bruce R. Rothwell Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award, which is given to senior or emeritus faculty members. Dr. Dogan received the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award, which goes to a junior or mid-career faculty member.

Dr. Xavier Lepe
Dr. Xavier Lepe

Dr. Lepe, who is Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Director of the Division of Prosthodontics, joined the faculty in 1993 after teaching for 10 years at Loyola University of Chicago.

One student wrote in support of his nomination: “If corrections are needed during a procedure, he always provides us with direct, positive, and constructive feedback following each and every clinical session and away from the patient to ensure their confidence in us is not lost. He allows us to be independent while working with our patients but knows when to step in if necessary.”

Another student wrote: “He has guided a generation of students at both the pre-clinical and clinical levels, and he is a huge reason graduates are able to maintain the school’s exceptional reputation.”

Dr. Dogan, an Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry, joined the faculty in 2005 after teaching at Germany’s Leibniz Universität Hannover for four years.

He has been recognized by students for teaching excellence several times, and a faculty colleague wrote in support of his nomination: “He delivers thoughtful, innovative, and engaging presentations, hosts productive and interactive small-group discussions, has successfully and quickly adapted his teaching modalities in response to the most recent pedagogical shift, and encourages critical and independent thinking, all of which ultimately motivate students to perform at their highest level.”

The awards were created in 2001 to commemorate Dr. Bruce R. Rothwell, who chaired the school’s Department of Restorative Dentistry from 1993 until his death from kidney cancer in 2000 at the age of 52. Renowned as a forensic dentist, he served as a consultant to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office and in the 1980s worked with UW colleague Dr. Tom Morton to identify victims in the Green River serial murder case.   He was posthumously honored by the American Society of Forensic Odontology.

Dr. Rothwell also directed the School of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency program and was noted for his expertise in teaching, research, and care of medically compromised patients. He devised Rothwell’s Solution, a painkilling mouthwash still in use to help patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for mouth cancers.