He announced his decision through a letter sent to the school’s faculty and staff on Tuesday, April 21. Sauk will serve as dean through December 31, and guide the school through its accreditation process and site visit this September. He later plans to rejoin the faculty as a professor in the Department of Surgical and Hospital Dentistry, section of Oral Pathology.
“It has been a privilege to lead the dental school, and I am proud of our faculty, staff and students for working alongside me these past seven years to elevate our school to new heights,” Sauk said.
During his tenure, the school underwent a renovation and renewal of its clinical operation, along with the completion of a new facility for faculty practice. The school also established the Miller Clinic in Elizabethtown, opened a pediatric dentistry office at the renovated Kosair Charities facilities on Eastern Parkway, and recently began operating the Children and Youth Dental Clinic on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus.
Under his leadership, the School of Dentistry has created a combined D.M.D. – Ph.D. program, and plans are underway to embark on a D.M.D. – M.B.A. joint program with the School of Business. In addition, the school has enriched its curriculum with a commitment to critical thinking and modern information technology, and is involved in a federal grant to engage dental students in interdisciplinary education with the School of Nursing, an effort to cultivate collaboration and patient-centered care among the professions.
“Dr. Sauk has greatly contributed to the success of the dental school and in building our health sciences,” said David L. Dunn, MD, Ph.D., UofL Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. “His leadership has paved the way for the academic achievement of our students and helped foster innovation in the profession that has helped grow our national reputation not only in dentistry, but academic health.”
Sauk earned his D.D.S. from the University of Detroit, and a MS in pathology from the University of Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Navy at the Naval Dental Research Institute and later joined the University of Minnesota faculty rising to the rank of professor in the Department of Orofacial Genetics and Pathology.
During his career at the University of Maryland from 1985 -2007, he was named chair of pathology and associate dean for research and training in the School of Dentistry, and professor of pathology in the School of Medicine and the Greenebaum Cancer Center.
A fellow of the American Head and Neck Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sauk has been a strong advocate for biomedical research. He has served as a consultant for basic sciences and research to the Commission on Dental Education and the Advisory Committee to the Commission of Dental Accreditation for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
He also has lent his expertise as a consultant to the Veterans Administration, United Cerebral Palsy Center, American Brittle Bone Society, American Fund for Dental Health, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, The Smithsonian, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, Wellcome Trust, and the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dunn will soon select a committee to conduct a national search for a new dean.