An Interview with Spear Education
Frank Spear, DDS, MSD, Founder and Director
Known for his passion for dentistry and his innate gift for imparting complex material in an easy-to-grasp manner, Frank Spear, DDS, MSD, is one of the most trusted names in dental education. Founder and director of Spear Education, www.speareducation.com, Dr. Spear’s lectures, seminars, and workshops have transformed how clinicians approach dentistry today.
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): What are your company’s main advantages? How is it unique?
FRANK SPEAR (FS): At Spear, we have created a curriculum that offers conceptual learning in the form of seminars in which participants are immersed for 2 days. Each of these seminars is now available online through the Spear Digital Campus. This allows participants to review the content at home on their own schedules.
We have taken the same content to create Spear Study Clubs, which support dentists in their local communities. Dentists attend seminars and then access the online repetition as well as review the materials and collaborate with their study clubs.
ID: If you had to rank the most important elements of your success, what would they be?
FS: My parents were both big advocates of education. My father was a mechanic and my mother was a second-grade schoolteacher. From them, I learned the value of education early on. While I was in dental school, I knew I wanted to teach. I even told my best friend on the day I graduated, “Someday, I’m going to have a teaching institute.”
I realize how fortunate I have been throughout my career, and it’s important for me to share my passion with others.
Even though I have taught as long as I have, I understand there is always more to learn. Much of this comes from the students and the questions they ask. Also, each year, I do a full literature search on the topics I teach to stay current.
The single biggest learning experience for me is the study club in which I have been a member for 29 years. I have learned more in our many years together than from anything else during my entire dental career.
ID: What most emphatically defines your approach to business?
FS: We regularly assess the feedback from all of the seminars and workshops we offer, and then make informed decisions on changes and updates every 6 months to a year. We take our evaluations very seriously and use them to learn how we can become better.
ID: What inspires the forward motion of your company in today’s marketplace?
FS: Our approach is new in dental education. We provide an integrated campus with conceptual and hands-on application courses and study clubs for dentists to learn in their local communities. We also regularly update our Digital Campus with original content. I think this is a big shift within dental education and it inspires our forward motion.
ID: What are your thoughts on where you would like to take Spear Education in the future?
FS: In June 2012, we launched the Spear Case Assistant, an additional resource within our Digital Campus. Case Assistant is an education tool for dentists, their practice teams, and their patients. It implements short videos and photos to be used for treatment planning, and it also enables dentists to show patients images from the videos while they narrate the presentation themselves. The Case Assistant, which is designed to help treatment plan most clinical findings, also includes additional resources such as literature on the topics covered. Case Assistant provides valuable information that can sometimes be difficult for practitioners to acquire. It gives us the ability to help dentists at their practices with education and case presentation.
We are also excited to announce another new addition coming soon to our Digital Campus, Spear Discussion Forums. These forums will be an innovative way for those in the dental community to interact with one another, to receive input about challenging topics, and to exchange ideas.