I’d like to welcome all of our students back to campus. While the week got off to a shaky start because of the weather, we’re now off and running at full speed.
While many of you were chipping ice from your cars or sleeping the other night, social media outlets were lighting up over the recently published National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) scores for all of the schools and colleges of optometry. The Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s (PCO) results, especially for Part I of the NBEO, have been less than stellar, an unfortunate trend that began in the early 2000s. We have been acutely aware of this and have been making significant changes to the optometric curriculum and academic policies, as well as the schedule for third year optometry students, which is the academic year the exam is taken.
Previously, PCO was the only optometry program in the country that sent students off campus for externships prior to the exam. For the class of 2019 and subsequent classes, we changed that policy, requiring them to remain on campus in order to better prepare for the exam. Dean Trego has also implemented other significant academic policy changes in addition to making adjustments to the core curriculum. I recently shared my thoughts with the Class of 2019 concerning our mutual responsibilities in achieving success and I am certain we will see progress moving forward.
Below are links to our website so you can see and hear Dr. Trego’s thoughts and initiatives concerning this important issue:
On January 5, University faculty took part in an abridged University Development Day. Attendees participated in three sessions to enhance their skills in the creation of syllabi, and to learn more about instructional technology and online resources across the University. Although shorter than originally scheduled, thanks to the inclement weather, the sessions provided a great overview of the areas covered. From my perspective, the only low point of the entire day was having Dr. Scharre, vice president for Academic Affairs, announce her impending retirement at the end of the academic year. As I said last week in my note to everyone, she will be sorely missed.
I encourage all of you to head over to the Hafter Student Center to check out the newest art exhibition in the D’Arrigo Gallery, the “3rd Street Gallery Members Exhibition.” It’s a real treat to see all these wonderful works of art, many of which are for sale, displayed on the walls of the Hafter Center lobby. Please take the time to wander over to enjoy the artwork. There’s also a reception scheduled for Saturday, January 13 from 1-3 p.m. in the Gallery as the official opening of the exhibit.
Earlier this week we hosted one of our Montgomery County Commissioners, Mr. Ken Lawrence, as an opportunity to show him and some of his staff members around the University. He clearly was impressed by all we do, not only on campus but also in the community. It’s important to ensure our local representatives understand what Salus brings to the greater Philadelphia and Montgomery County communities so I really welcome and enjoy the times I have to share (and often brag) about all the great things you do every day. Next week we will be hosting State Representative Thomas Murt who I know is looking forward to his visit.
Thanks to some legwork by Dr. Linda Casser, we also hosted several folks from Carolinas Chinese Chamber of Commerce earlier this week. They are interested in working with us to help expand our educational efforts in China. I want to express my thanks to everyone who took the time to prepare and meet with the three representatives from the group. I know they walked away very impressed with our staff and programs. Any time we have the opportunity to educate others about what we do and how we do it is a good thing.
I’d also like to thank Drs. Saba Hans and Hei In Tang for their very informative lectures during PCO’s Grand Rounds this morning. Dr. Hans reported on a patient who was going through opioid withdrawal and the associated ocular symptoms. Her talk addresses what has become the public health issue of this decade – that of opioid addiction. As healthcare professionals, we all must be acutely aware of this to ensure we can recognize those afflicted and help to direct them towards the appropriate treatment options. Dr. Tang reported on a patient who had neovascular glaucoma, which is always a very interesting topic as there are many complications and multiple ways to treat this disorder. Both lectures were thought provoking and provided great insights for everyone who attended.
Wishing everyone a great weekend and an Eagles win on Saturday!