Bates Technical College Instructor Honored as Educator of the Year

Submitted by Bates Technical College

An instructor who helped develop and implement new digital dentistry technologies at Bates Technical College will receive the Educator of the Year Award from the National Association of Dental Laboratories.

Instructor Bob Criss
Instructor Robert Criss has co-taught the Dental Lab Technician program for seven years. Photo courtesy: Bates Technical College

Instructor Robert Criss has co-taught the Dental Lab Technician program for seven years. With more than 40 years of experience in the field of dentistry, Criss was instrumental in the purchase of digital computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) equipment, which helped the dental lab program evolve with industry standards and eventually provide continuing education to industry partners.

Bates Technical College President Lin Zhou said, “Bob Criss exemplifies the best of our faculty. This honor is an outstanding example of the impact our instructors have on our students and the industry they represent.”

A program administrator for accreditation through American Dental Association, Criss lead the development of comprehensive curriculum aligned to state and national standards, developed an online learning environment, created and currently advises a student-lead dental laboratory club, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington state Dental Laboratory Association.

“Every opportunity I have been given has enhanced my ability to influence our next generation of dental laboratory owners, managers and technicians,” said Criss. “I enjoy the profession of teaching and my commitment to students is seen in everyday interactions. I have fun while at the same time holding every one of my diverse students accountable for meeting high expectations,” Criss said.

Bates Technical College is the first and only accredited dental lab technician training program on the West Coast to implement dental CAD/CAM education into the curriculum. Students learn to fabricate orthodontic appliances, complete and partial dentures, and gold or porcelain crowns and bridges. The program offers an Associate of Applied Science and a Certificate of Competency. It is the only American Dental Association-accredited dental lab technician program in Washington state.

Criss will accept the award at the National Association of Dental Laboratories Vision 21 event in Las Vegas on Friday, Jan 18. As part of the recognition, Criss will also author an article for the Journal for Dental Technology focusing on the current and future landscape of dental lab education.

Learn more about the Dental Lab Technician program at, or call 253-680-7000.

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