end costs of this strategy are relatively low compared to starting a faculty practice plan or creating a research capacity. A positive side effect (indeed, a condition) of an alumni strategy is improved ties with alumni that strengthen the school's political position and its ability to place graduates. On the negative side, the committee's site visits suggested that strong alumni can limit a school's flexibility to innovate.
Cost reduction through program consolidation or merger can be achieved in various ways. The discussion of curriculum efficiencies mentions consolidation to eliminate redundant or duplicative courses. Consolidation or merger of departments has been advocated both as a means of achieving administrative savings and as a strategy for increasing educational flexibility and innovation.
Similar arguments have been made for the consolidation of departments or programs across several schools within an academic health center or university. For example, the 1970 report by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education noted that the "self-contained Flexner model" of internal basic science departments "leads to expensive duplication and can lead to some loss in quality" (cited in Fein, 1987, p. 71). A strategy mentioned to this committee on several occasions would merge basic science faculty into a single unit serving all health professions programs (if not the entire university). Three institutions with dental schools— the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and Virginia Commonwealth University—have followed this model, but the last institution has recently dropped it. Compared to faculty merged under medical school control, the separate basic science unit might be somewhat more considerate of dental school interests.
In Chapter 4, one specific type of cross-school consolidation— incorporation of dentistry as a specialty within the medical school— has already been discussed. The emphasis in that discussion is on the character of future practice and its appropriate educational foundation. Financial savings are, in this committee's view, a minor rationale for this kind of consolidation, although savings in administration, student services, alumni programs, and other areas might be expected.
Regionalization of dental education focuses on dental education collectively not just on schools individually. In some cases, regionalization might involve a consolidation or merger of spe-