Kenneth R. Tilashalski, DMD, has been named executive associate dean for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Dentistry. He will join the faculty effective September 1.
Prior to joining UTHSC, Dr. Tilashalski, known as Dr. T, served as the associate dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), a position he held for more than 12 years.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Tilashalski join our college’s leadership team,” said James Ragain, DDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FACD, dean of the College of Dentistry. “Ken will serve primarily as our chief operating officer. He will be bringing years of experience and strong leadership to our college.”
His arrival comes as the College of Dentistry is preparing for its 2025 Commission on Dental Accreditation site visit. In addition, the college continues to experience multiple milestones, including its $53 million Healthy Smiles Initiative, a state-funded project to increase access to dentists and dental care across Tennessee over the next five years, and the opening of the state-of-the art Delta Dental of Tennessee Building on the Memphis campus in April.
In his new role, Dr. Tilashalski is excited to oversee initiatives that impact student success. His passion for training the next generation of clinicians and caregivers is evidenced in the classroom and in his leadership. He sees the importance of being a visible presence and building relationships that make open communication possible.
“Two values that guide my life are competence and hard work,” Dr. Tilashalski said. “I’ve seen these values reflected the moment I set foot on the UTHSC campus. I’m excited and honored to join such a hard-working and prestigious group of students, staff, faculty, and engaged alumni.”
Dr. Tilashalski earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine degree from Southern Illinois University and completed residencies at UAB in oral pathology and endodontics. He joined the UAB faculty in 1994 and served as a professor and associate dean. In addition to his primary appointment in the UAB School of Dentistry Department of Restorative Sciences, he holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pathology in the Heersink School of Medicine. He has served in numerous leadership positions within the dental school, including director of Advanced Education in Endodontics, associate scientist in the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease, director of Clinical Operations of the Division of Oral Diagnosis in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences, director of Oral Diagnosis-Oral Radiology-Urgent Care, and chair of Diagnostic Sciences.
In addition to his academic leadership, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, he is also an internationally recognized master clinician in the area of oral pathology, and provides numerous continuing education courses. He has been honored as a recipient of the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Tilashalski is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists, a curriculum consultant for the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), past president of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Phi Phi Chapter National Dental Honor Society, and a recipient of the Most Excellent Fellow Award from the Alabama Dental Association.