Penn Dental Medicine Faculty Recognized with Annual Teaching Awards


Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine faculty members have been honored for excellence in teaching by the Class of 2020. Each academic year, the graduating class recognizes members of the faculty who have had a significant impact of their educational experience; this year’s awards and recipients included the following:

Dr. Michael Speirs

The Basic Science Award – presented for excellence in teaching within the basic sciences. This year’s recipient is Dr. Michael Speirs, Lecturer in the Department of Basic & Translational Sciences. Dr. Speirs has been teaching at Penn Dental Medicine since 2006 and a member of the Penn faculty since 1996. Since the advent of the new Penn Dental Medicine curriculum, Dr. Speirs has taught systemic and clinical anatomy across the two-year basic science track and directs both the first-year and second-year cadaveric anatomy lab courses. This was the second time Dr. Speirs has received this award, also having been honored in 2015.

Dr. Frank Smithgall

The Robert E. DeRevere Award – presented for excellence in preclinical teaching by a part-time faculty member. The award is named in honor of Dr. DeRevere, a member of the Penn Dental Medicine Class of 1945, who served on the School’s faculty. This year’s recipient is Dr. Frank Smithgall (C’79, D’83), Clinical Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry, who has been a member of the School’s part-time faculty since 1984. Dr. Smithgall lectures in preclinical courses, and for the past six years, he has been Course Director of “Partial Removable Dental Prosthesis.” This is the sixth time Dr. Smithgall has been recognized with this award, also receiving it in 1990, 2010, 2011, 2016, and 2018.

Dr. David Nepa

The Joseph L. T. Appleton Award – presented to a part-time faculty member for excellence in clinical teaching. Dr. David Nepa, Clinical Associate in the Department of Preventive & Restorative Sciences, has been part of the School’s clinical faculty since 2017. Over the past year, Dr. Nepa has been an assistant group leader for DMD students in the clinic and has worked extensively teaching chair-side CAD-CAM technology. The Appleton Award is named in honor of Dr. Joseph Appleton, a 1914 alumnus of Penn Dental Medicine, who served as dean of the School from 1941 to 1951. The award was founded in 1979 by Dr. Abram Cohen, a member of the Class of 1923 and father of Dean Emeritus D. Walter Cohen, Class of 1950.

Dr. Frank Setzer

The Earle Bank Hoyt Award – presented for excellence in teaching to a faculty member who is a Penn Dental Medicine graduate. The award was established by a grateful patient in honor of Dr. Hoyt, a distinguished clinician and educator and member of the Class of 1918. This year’s recipient was Dr. Frank Setzer (GD’06, MS’07, D’10). Dr. Setzer is Assistant Professor of Endodontics, and Director of the Predoctoral Endodontics Program and the Endodontic Clinic. He teaches endodontic courses/seminars in both the pre- and postdoctoral programs.

Artur Kofman, C.D.T

The Senior Outstanding Teaching Award – presented to a faculty member who has gone beyond the scope of his/her responsibilities to significantly impact the class’s education at Penn Dental Medicine. This year’s recipient is Artur Kofman, C.D.T., Director of Laboratory Affairs and the Office of Laboratory Affairs Supervisor for the clinical labs at the School; this is the fourth year in a row that he was recognized with this award. Mr. Kofman has been sharing his knowledge and expertise in dental lab work with students as a member of the School’s staff for the past 19 years. Among his responsibilities, he coordinates students’ lab work from the School to commercial laboratories and vice versa, guides dental students in lab-related technical issues, and provides hands-on assistance as needed for minor adjustments to dental appliances at a chair-side setting.