Michele L. Darby, RDH, MS

Michele L. Darby, RDH, MS (deceased)

Michele L. Darby, RDH, MS, (deceased) Eminent Scholar, University Professor, and Graduate Program Director, Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene, Old Dominion University.

Ms. Darby taught, wrote, and inspired future generations of dental hygienists for more than 36 years both in the United States and abroad. After working in a periodontal practice, her interest in teaching and scholarship was sparked by her passion for learning and the appeal of the academic calendar.

Ms. Darby was the editor of two renowned textbooks, Comprehensive Review of Dental Hygiene and Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice, both published by Elsevier. She was a Fullbright Scholar, which enabled her to teach and conduct research at Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan.


What is a typical work day like for you?

Daily, I anticipate time in the schedule to invest in my research or writing, and it never turns out that way. Every student has compelling needs and unique challenges and their realities must be factored into each day. Students always come by and ask, “Are you busy?” And I frequently want to say, “Oh yes I am!” Instead, I invite them into my office so that we can discuss their concerns. In terms of what an educator does, I think our biggest responsibility is to mentor and socialize students into the profession of dental hygiene. I want students to graduate with a strong conviction of social justice and responsibility to a global society, and with the belief that they play a critical role in solving the access to care problem worldwide. College teaching is a privilege because I learn constantly from students and colleagues. To them I am forever grateful.