Further Developing & Diversifying a Robust, Highly-Qualified National Applicant Pool
ASCO will develop strategies to involve practitioners, national, regional, and state optometric organizations, the ophthalmic community, the health professions advisors and secondary and post-secondary education communities, and the public at large in the promotion of optometric career opportunities by continuing to develop a robust, diverse, and highly qualified national applicant pool.
The schools and colleges of optometry require a diverse, highly qualified pool of applicants capable of successful completion of the OD program. The Association’s focus is to raise awareness among potential applicants and advisors about the attractiveness of careers in optometry, and to raise the awareness of the profession’s leadership and practitioner community about the need to broaden the applicant pool and develop programs to reach these objectives. Our goal is to increase the applicant pool to three qualified applicants for each first year position and to develop an applicant pool that reflects the national diversity of the U.S. population. Achieving applicant/student diversity is emphasized. New ideas will be explored to stress the association’s commitment to diversity within the student bodies and profession. This objective also incorporates student affairs/services activities.
Faculty Promotion & Development
Faculty is central to optometric education and ASCO will facilitate faculty promotion and development (including leadership development).
ASCO will develop recruitment initiatives to promote academic optometry as a rewarding career option. Achieving a more diverse faculty is emphasized. The demands on faculty are constantly changing and ASCO will serve as a resource to develop the skills and knowledge base required to meet these demands.
ASCO, through professional groups such as the Chief Academic Officers, the Academic Affairs Committee, and SIGs, such as the Educational Technology SIG, should foster collaboration among schools to utilize technology to develop virtual classrooms and related innovated teaching methods that advance faculty development.
Ideas to attract and develop new faculty, reward and retain current faculty, and to encourage the development of new researchers and PhD’s will be identified.
Faculty & Administrators Involvement Via SIGs & Committees
ASCO’s Committees are the workplace of the organization and its volunteer-based Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are the vehicle for faculty interchange and the sharing of ideas, resources, and experiences.
ASCO will encourage the SIG and Committee leadership to increase efforts to involve faculty and administrators with ASCO through the volunteer-driven SIG structure. ASCO’s leadership and staff will involve faculty and administrators in ASCO’s committee structure that develops policy recommendations and programs that support the association’s strategic objectives.
The development of new SIGs that foster implementation of ASCO’s mission and strategic objectives will be encouraged. This will be at the initiative of interested faculty and administrators willing to assume leadership of SIGs.
ASCO leadership will foster increased communication among the Boards, Board liaisons to the SIGs and the SIGs leadership and participants.
The ASCO Board will challenge and strengthen SIGs to do more in their respective areas to address key issues facing optometric education.
Executive Leadership Development
ASCO will develop leadership and Board development programs for new and current Deans and Presidents.
A significant number of new chief executive officers of member institutions have become members of the Board of Directors in recent years. Identifying and developing future Deans, Presidents, other executives/administrators, and ASCO leaders is of critical concern. It is incumbent on ASCO as the leadership organization representing the optometric education enterprise to begin addressing this challenge.
ASCO will continue to develop and hold mini CEO workshops on governance, leadership, and management topics; implement a mentoring program for new Board members/Deans/Presidents; and will reach out to new and emerging institutions.
Continue efforts to streamline and focus ASCO Board meetings on Board-related action issues and to make meetings more efficient, productive and informative.
ASCO will encourage involvement by member institutions in government affairs activities and will work closely with, and provide support to, the Washington Office of the American Optometric Association to represent the interests of optometric education to Congress, appropriate government agencies, and other health professions and educational organizations.
Emphasis is on issues which move ASCO’s mission and strategic objectives forward such as funding of optometric education, optometry’s inclusion in the National Health Service Corps and other programs and related issues.
Data Collection, Analysis and Dissemination
ASCO will continue to be the national clearinghouse for data regarding optometric education and will identify ways to refine and expand such activities.
There is an ongoing need for current and historical data on optometric education. ASCO will maintain and continually refine its on-line data surveys and directories and will gather data on areas of special interest, when appropriate. Focus will be given to compiling, analyzing and validating summary data in order to provide more information on trends in optometric education. An effort will be made to investigate and/or coordinate activities with other organizations, where appropriate and feasible (i.e. ACOE).
Financial Resource Development
ASCO recognizes that in order to expand its resource base to provide the programs and services necessary to fulfill its strategic objectives, alternative funding sources must be identified and nurtured.
ASCO will work with its corporate contributors, industry, foundations and other potential sources of funding to implement its organizational strategic objectives.
ASCO, as a national leadership organization, understands the importance of having a strong voice on issues facing its member institutions and on related needs of the profession and other constituencies.
The development and implementation of internal and external communication strategies will enable ASCO as an organization to provide leadership both within and outside the profession by sharing its expertise and being more deliberative in engaging its various constituencies.
Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice
ASCO recognizes the importance of educating Doctor of Optometry students in multi-disciplinary environments and preparing them to be part of collaborative health care teams, and will work to support, encourage and facilitate the development of interprofessional education (IPE) programs at member institutions where Doctor of Optometry students will have the opportunity to learn about, from and with students from other health professions.
The new health-care model is one of collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams of professionals working together to improve population health, provide a better care experience to patients and reduce health-care costs. Graduates of the schools and colleges of optometry must be prepared to work with members of other health-care professions under this new model. ASCO believes that effective preparation to be a Doctor of Optometry includes educating students in collaborative care, and that this is best accomplished through development of interprofessional education initiatives in collaboration with other health professions.
ASCO will identify and share best practices in IPE with member institutions so that IPE can be incorporated or expanded in their curricula, with recommendations for assessing both learning and patient care outcomes. ASCO will also raise public and professional awareness of the role optometry has in team-based collaborative patient-centered care.