Eye on Education

ASCO Looks to Develop and Nurture the Next Generation of Leaders with New Optometric Education Leadership Institute

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ASCOs Leadership Development Implementation Task Force successfully launched the Optometric Education Leadership Institute (OELI), which is an initiative aimed at addressing ASCOs strategic objective of establishing and promoting career and leadership development programs for faculty, administrators, residents, and students.

The goal of the Institute is to improve the leadership skills of senior-level faculty and administrators who have been identified as having the potential to be a leader in optometric education at one of ASCOs member institutions.

Ten handpicked leaders were chosen to undertake a two-day pilot program at Alcon’s campus in Fort Worth, Texas. The aim was for emerging and existing leaders to test the program and provide feedback about format and content for future Institutes. The Institute was also designed to give participants an opportunity to bond and establish an alumni network of supportive colleagues that would continue beyond the event. The elements of the program included formal presentations, workshops, case studies, and shared activities in the areas of leadership and management. Ninety-three percent of this year’s program attendees rated the program as very good or excellent. Here’s what a few participants had to say:

“The things learned at this program will filter into my work in many, many, ways, most of which are subtle/intangible. The program was kept at an appropriate balance of being focused enough on optometric education while also being balanced enough to apply to our wide array of different institutions (public, private, etc). I think a key benefit, formal programming details aside, is simply being in the same room and having the ability to network with leaders present and future. I had more face time with key opinion/thought leaders in the profession than I could hope to acquire in probably four or five national meeting's worth of 'chance encounters'. I am incredibly appreciative of ASCO's commitment as well as to the presenters and participants for making their valuable time available for this - it's difficult to measure how helpful something like this truly is.”

“The information presented has made me question certain ways that I approach situations as well as my decision making process. It has also sparked my interest and made me want to get involved in other efforts at my college that I am currently not associated with, but where I think I could be influential in helping move their initiatives forward.”

The 2020 initiative was coordinated by the following members of the Leadership Development Implementation Task Force:

  • Dr. David Damari, MCO (Chair)
  • Dr. Gary Chu, NECO
  • Mr. Tom Duchardt, Alcon
  • Dr. Fraser Horn, PUCO
  • Dr. Millicent Knight, Essilor
  • Dr. Stephanie Messner, ICO (Immediate Past Chair)
  • Dr. Howard Purcell, NECO
  • Dr. David Troilo, SUNY
  • Ms. LaShawn Sidbury, Staff Liaison
  • Ms. Dawn Mancuso, ASCO Executive Director

Given the success of the program, the Task Force has decided to launch its official first cohort on January 14-16, 2021. The Institute will be held biennially in odd years. The Task Force will spend this year developing a well-designed leadership development program that incorporates the feedback of those who participated in the pilot program.

ASCO thanks Alcon and Essilor for generously sponsoring the Institute. For more information on the OELI, e-mail ASCO’s Director of Meetings and Special Interest Groups LaShawn Sidbury, or call her at (301) 231-5944 ext. 3012.



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