“I will say that when we were doing the search one of the things that we really wanted was someone who could bring together the clinical elements of the school and the research elements of the school, and I think we very clearly found someone who has a deep passion for both,” Dean said.
De Rossi said he has a passion for education and public service. He said he hopes to encourage young professionals to pursue teaching and public service.
“I have some sort of personal initiatives that I always wanna focus on which includes building and creating and maintaining a diverse environment, making sure we are addressing the global needs of the community in Chapel Hill and also the state and really retaining faculty and generating some interest in people coming into academic dentistry,” De Rossi said.
He said he has a passion for teaching because both his parents were public school teachers, and they instilled that love in him.
"I want to try to get more and more students doing it, but it’s a hard thing to do because they come out with some debt and sometimes you don’t earn as much in academics as you do in private practice. We’re gonna try to develop programs to incentive people to actually stay and teach,” he said.
Besides engaging the students with the community more, De Rossi said he wants to work toward changing the curriculum of the School of Dentistry.
“We are going to engage all of our stakeholders in really reimagining the curriculum to be future oriented to provide a workforce that can meet the needs of the state, not in five or 10 years, but in 20 years,” De Rossi said.
Zaineb Khan, a fourth-year student in the School of Dentistry, said she hopes to see the school continue with the outreach work that has meant so much to her class, the class of 2017, as they started DEAH Day and want to see it live on once they graduate.
She said her hopes aligned with what De Rossi has spoken about and is optimistic about his goals for the school.
“I’ve had a chance to talk to him. He seems very approachable, very nice and easy to talk to,” Khan said. “We as students love to speak to our administration if we have any problems and to sort anything out.”