A recent study in Nature, showed the emerging trend in universities to be concerning as well as very specific. Fewer than half of the surveyed academics  felt positive with their work prospects, while the dissatisfaction disproportionally affects mid-career academics.  Mid career academics are critical links in the  university “chain of command”, as they have significant experience, while having capacity for “hands-on” fieldwork. They are also the ones to drive change and mentor early career and new recruits. 
Rather than a “sudden death” effect like in travel and hospitality, the pandemic affected higher education significantly but quietly, like a massive undercurrent. It amplified chronic deficiencies and undermined faith in old narratives. It is no surprise therefore to see the “fatigue fracture” in the mid-career academic life cycle. These are the people who have worked hard to grow in a system they appear to have lost faith in, but who still see themselves as “having a few good years left” that they cannot afford to waste. Complaints of deteriorating work-life balance in academia have surfaced all over the world, placing current academics under immense pressure, while also deterring  others from entering. Long working hours including weekends, increasing teaching workload and administrative duties, coupled with immense pressure for publications and grants have reportedly taken a toll in many academics family life. The “Great Resignation” might be the tip of the iceberg, but the great disillusionment has been for many the true undercurrent.
Is this trend also hitting dental education? Hard to find the exact data, as not many organisations observe and share such “vital signs”. Yet, in a concerning tone, the American Association for Dental Education (ADEA) recently reported that advertised academic vacancies of all ranks in Dentistry doubled between 2020 and 2021, with currently 486 full time and 188 part time academic positions vacant in USA alone.  Maybe unsurprisingly, “lack of interest” as a reason for the vacant positions  has jumped to 34% in 2021 from 14% in 2020. Combined with a well known chronic difficulty to attract and retain entry level academics in dentistry, a trend of weakening mid-career lines might soon have an amplified effect. Furthermore, with dental academic teachers being clinicians in their great majority, a “great resignation” might be also manifested with an preference for part-time employment among previously committed tenured staff.