Goodwin College Welcomes Carmen Hufcut
Goodwin College is pleased to announce that Carmen Hufcut has been named Goodwin College’s Program Director of Dental Hygiene.
Hufcut, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and currently resides in Milford, came to the United States in 1986 to pursue a Dental Hygiene career at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. “I learned English as I went through the program,” Hufcut said. This feat was not an easy one, but she was determined to pursue an education, as are many of our students, and she became the first member in her family to earn a college degree.
Hufcut received an associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene and went on to receive a bachelor’s in Health Science and a master’s in Dental Hygiene with a concentration in Education and Public Health.
Hufcut previously worked as a full-time dental hygienist for 16 years. After getting married and having children, she worked part-time for four years and opened a placement agency for dental hygienists, assistants, and dentists.
As a dental hygiene faculty member at the Fones School of Dental Hygiene School at the University of Bridgeport, her alma mater, she secured a $50,000 grant from the state to develop a school-based dental sealing program. As a result of this grant, a dental hygiene clinic was opened in one of the elementary schools in Bridgeport.
In 2011, Goodwin College was looking for a consultant for its upcoming Dental Hygiene Program, and Hufcut fit the criteria perfectly. She quickly assessed the overall needs and began the process of developing a new program. “I researched and incorporated current trends and standards into the dental hygiene curriculum,” Hufcut said.
In 2012, Hufcut was hired as an Associate Professor, leading the Dental Hygiene Program as the Program Director, responsible for its overall development and academic integrity.
Hufcut brought the expertise and specified skill set needed to make Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene Program successful. Scheduled to open in May 2014 pending accreditation, the program has exceeded expectations in accordance with the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). “It took a year and a half to come to fruition. This specific program has been developed differently from other programs, integrating clinical/classroom-based learning and eLearning,” Hufcut noted.
Goodwin’s program is the first to offer hybrid core courses – a combination of online and in-class sessions – to enrolled students. Students will be using the latest state-of-the-art equipment. Two patient simulators have been purchased to make the learning experience as hands-on as possible. The program will be taught in six consecutive semesters, spreading out the curriculum, and making it more manageable.
“Goodwin’s vision is different. The majority of our students have to support families. They need to work, but at the same time they want to succeed in life. The program’s structure will be more conducive to their lifestyles,” Hufcut said.
The demanding program includes studying anatomy, radiology, nutrition for oral health, and x-ray technology. It involves many hours of clinical work, interacting with patients, field work, and much more. “Goodwin’s clinic will be fully operational, offering cleaning, x-rays, and fluoride treatments to the public for a fraction of what they would have to pay in a private practice. This benefits those in Hartford County as well as our students,” Hufcut mentioned.0
Dental Hygiene is a promising field to enter into. “In this field, you have freedom of choice. You could work full-time or part-time, and you can choose the type of environment you’d like to work in. Registered hygienists could provide dental hygiene services for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and public health clinics. You could teach hygiene students in dental schools and dental hygiene programs, as well as, research, office management, and business administration,” Hufcut said. Dental hygienists can earn an impressive hourly rate after just two years of schooling.
As the opening date approaches, Goodwin is busily readying faculty and staff to launch a successful program that will help many students reach their goals. “We are really excited. The clinic is beautiful, and there is great access to the community. With the right faculty we will exceed expectations,” Hufcut said.
By: Hannah Stacy