Achievements & Awards Dental Hygiene Faculty Periodontics & Oral Medicine

Janet Kinney named inaugural Dorothy Hard Professor4 min read

July 16, 2021

Janet Kinney named inaugural Dorothy Hard Professor4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Janet Kinney

Ann Arbor, Mich., July 16, 2021 – Janet Kinney, director of the Dental Hygiene Program at the School of Dentistry, has been named as the first recipient of the Dr. Dorothy G. Hard Legacy Professorship. The appointment was approved Thursday by the University of Michigan Board of Regents and is effective Aug. 1, 2021, through July 31, 2026.

Earlier this year Dean Laurie McCauley, with approval of the school’s Executive Committee, announced the creation of the professorship to honor Hard, who built the school’s Dental Hygiene program into a national leader during her 45 years as director from 1924-68. The establishment of the professorship carries two distinctions: It is the first professorship to honor a dental hygiene faculty member and the first professorship to honor a female faculty member at the school.

Kinney has been director of the DH program since 2012. She earned her BSDH at U-M in 1983 and worked in clinical practice in the United States and Europe for 20 years. She returned to the program in 2004 to pursue her MSDH and added a master’s degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. After finishing her graduate degrees in 2007, Kinney joined the DH program as an adjunct clinical lecturer for a year, then was hired as a clinical assistant professor. In 2012 she was named Director of Dental Hygiene and became a full professor in 2020, all within the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, which is home to the DH program.

Kinney administers the DH program, teaches both entry-level and graduate-level courses, and conducts research. She is the chair of the Dental Hygiene academic review board and has served on numerous committees, including the Periodontics and Oral Medicine Advisory Committee and the Undergraduate Admissions Advisory Committee at U-M since 2012. She was instrumental in leading a major curriculum redesign to transform the Dental Hygiene bachelor’s program from a three-year program to a two-year, year-round program and has led this change through its successful accreditation.

Currently a board member on the Michigan State Board of Dentistry, Kinney is also a committee member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Research Advisory group, an associate editor for the International Journal of Dental Hygiene and a member of the American Dental Education Association’s Policy and Research Advisory Committee. Her research interests include salivary diagnostics and social science research in the area of professional identity development. 

McCauley noted Kinney’s extraordinary commitment to the profession of dental hygiene and her dedication to mentoring students in the program. “Beyond the significant accomplishments of her career, Janet is a thoughtful and dedicated educator thanks to her compassionate approach and attention to detail in everything she does,” McCauley said.

The Hard Professorship received the generous financial support of Dr. Robert W. Browne, a DDS alumnus from the Class of 1952 and graduate of the school’s orthodontic program. “Dr. Browne has been a loyal donor to our school for more than half a century,” McCauley said. “He made this new gift to honor Dorothy Hard, our school’s longest-serving director of the dental hygiene program and a faculty member who was impactful to him during his time as a student.”

Dorothy Hard, circa 1967.

McCauley said the timing of the professorship announcement is a fitting way to help the Dental Hygiene program celebrate it centennial this year. In 1921, Dental School Dean Marcus Ward started the program with an instructor and several students. He hired a Detroit dentist who was an alumnus of the school to lead Dental Hygiene for the next two years before hiring Hard in 1924. Hard was a 1922 DDS graduate who worked for two years as an industrial dentist in the Parke Davis laboratories in Detroit before returning to the dental school as an instructor and director of Dental Hygiene. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1935, to associate professor in 1944, and to professor in 1953. Under her guidance for more than four decades, the curriculum in dental hygiene grew to meet the many changing demands within the profession.

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.