July 6, 2011

Dentistry gives highest teaching award to J. Martin Anderson and Frank Roberts

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Mark Drangsholt (left) and Patricia Rothwell present a bouquet and plaque to J. Martin Anderson, recipient of Dentistrys 2011 Bruce R. Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Teacher Award. Not shown is Frank Roberts, who received a Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Steve Steinberg

Mark Drangsholt (left) and Patricia Rothwell present a bouquet and plaque to J. Martin Anderson, recipient of Dentistrys 2011 Bruce R. Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Teacher Award. Not shown is Frank Roberts, who received a Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. J. Martin Anderson and Dr. Frank Roberts received Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Awards, the School of Dentistrys highest faculty recognition, during the annual faculty retreat on June 14.

Anderson, a lecturer, course director and mainstay of the Restorative Dentistry faculty since 1966, received the Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Award. Roberts, associate professor of periodontics since 2004 and dental director of the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program, received the Rothwell Distinguished Teacher Award.

The awards were presented by Rothwell selection committee member Dr. Mark Drangsholt, chair of the Department of Oral Medicine, along with Dr. Patricia Rothwell. The awards are named for her late husband, Dr. Bruce R. Rothwell, who was chair of Restorative Dentistry from 1993 until his death in 2000 at the age of 52. He was also the longtime director of the Graduate Practice Residency program.

The awards recognize qualities including effective and innovative teaching, motivation of students, contributing to School of Dentistry goals, and activity in the community.

Anderson, who became senior lecturer in July, noted that he knew Bruce Rothwell as a friend, colleague and teacher. “This honor is very special,” he said. “I really love this school, and I love teaching.” After likening teachers to shepherds, he said, “Educators must constantly evaluate instructional intent, which itself is often a learning experience.”

Roberts, on sabbatical in the Netherlands, could not receive his award in person, but voiced his thanks in a brief video phone call during the presentation.

Rothwell, respected for his warmth as well as his intellect, was also a leader in forensic dentistry. Working with Dr. Thomas Morton, who retired in June as acting chair of the Department of Oral Biology, he won national recognition in the mid-1980s for helping to create  a computer program that used dental records to identify victims of the Green River killer. Rothwell also won acclaim for creating a painkilling mouthwash for oral cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

In 2001, friends and colleagues started an endowment to establish the teaching awards in his honor. To date, more than 300 donors have contributed to the endowment.