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Alumnus finds fulfillment in returning to teach

Apr 14, 2022
5 min Read
Eugene Curtin
Markham returns to School of Dentistry to teach

After 37 years practicing dentistry in small-town Iowa, Mark Markham, DDS’79, some seven years ago, brought his accumulated wisdom to the faculty of the Creighton University School of Dentistry

He has, he says, never looked back. 

“Creighton students really want to do well, and they are so hungry for knowledge,” he says. “They have great questions, and they appreciate the time you give them. I just can't say enough about the remarkable quality of the students Creighton has.” 

A native of Harlan, Iowa, who earned his DDS from Creighton in 1979, Markham operated two practices in the Iowa communities of Atlantic and Anita, before being approached by Dennis Higginbotham, DDS’67, associate professor of general dentistry at Creighton, who in 2015 invited him to join Creighton’s faculty. Higginbotham, who joined Creighton’s faculty in January 1973 and is still teaching at the University almost 50 years later, had been among Markham’s instructors. 

Markham had by now sold his practice and was working for the new owners, so he signed up for a part-time faculty position that allowed him to teach while continuing his practice. 

Creighton, Markham says, permits its dental faculty to shape their teaching schedules according to their needs. When he held a part-time faculty position, for example, he worked up to three days in his private practice. And when he took on full-time duties, he remained available to his patients. 

“When a friend of mine started a practice and didn't have a dentist to work on Fridays, I said, ‘Hey, I can arrange that,’ and I did. It certainly kept me busy, but I was able to do it,” he says. 

Creighton University has much to offer experienced dentists interested in passing their skills and knowledge on to new generations, Markham says, not the least of which is the opportunity to work with well-motivated young people. 

Creighton students have told Markham that dentistry appealed to them from their own dental experiences when visiting their family dentist — sometimes while receiving long-term orthodontic care, sometimes for reconstructive services after sporting accidents and sometimes simply through observing the interesting activity of a dental office. 

“We have many students who want to return to where they grew up and give back through their services,” Markham says. “I find it really rewarding when I hear students talk about wanting to work with the underprivileged. The number of students who come out to treat the patients in the OneWorld clinic as volunteers is refreshing. They really want to give back, and they feel that this is an opportunity to do so. It’s fun working with them.”  

“For those people who are not quite yet ready to give up private practice but are perhaps ready to slow down a little and give some time to teaching, I say you will find it very rewarding working with the students. They really want to learn, and you would have so much to offer them.” 

“The faculty here are amazing, the support staff and administration top notch, and, of course, we have a brand new dental school to work in with the most modern equipment. What more could you ask for?” 

We continue to recruit top-notch full- and part-time faculty to support the delivery of our curriculum and expanding enrollment. We see our alumni as a rich pool of potential faculty candidates who are willing to support their alma mater by applying their skills, talents and abilities to the teaching mission. Current open positions are posted on the Creighton Human Resources website.