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Southern College of Optometry’s Diversity and Inclusion Effort Expands

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Southern College of Optometry’s Diversity and Inclusion Effort Expands

Janette Pepper, OD, has been named Coordinator for Student Diversity & Inclusion, effective July 1. Dr. Pepper previously led SCO’s diversity recruiting effort, but this expanded role demonstrates the increasing importance represented by SCO’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

“This area represents a top priority for our institution, so it’s important that we devote a dedicated effort to provide student inclusion initiatives for diverse students within the SCO community,” said President Lewis Reich, OD, PhD.

Dr. Pepper will provide critical student academic and social support, specifically in:

  • Building relationships with underrepresented students once admitted
  • Coordinating with the Director of Academic Support Services to serve as the official advisor for underrepresented students and to plan and implement initiatives related to this area
  • Serving as a faculty leader to support diverse student organizations such as Spectrum and NOSA and to help identify the need for additional affinity and/or student-centered groups as we plan a way to establish and support this effort

Dr. Pepper will continue to assist with recruiting efforts as SCO promotes the profession of optometry to minority student populations. In recent years, she has hosted events for interested prospective students and applicants from underrepresented groups.

“For the profession to thrive, we must continue to prioritize support and resources devoted to expanding opportunities for applicants from a wider variety of backgrounds and experiences,” Dr. Reich added.

“Working together, I’m confident that SCO will make great progress on student diversity and inclusion initiatives.”


Elkins Promotion Announced

Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, was recently named the Chair of Optometric Education at SCO, filling a department chair position left vacant when Bart Campbell, OD ’87, became SCO’s Vice President for Academic Affairs four years ago.

Named Director of Academic Programs in 2016, Dr. Elkins distinguished herself in her role, demonstrating not only superb organizational ability but also an excellent rapport with faculty and students. 

“Dr. Elkins has proven that she can effectively address complex issues in a diplomatic and effective manner,” Dr. Campbell said.

“In addition to these qualities, she has demonstrated that she is an incredibly hard worker, willing to take on the multiple tasks necessary to ensure that our educational programs not only continue to function but continue to be among the very best.”

Over the past four years, Dr. Elkins gained significant experience both inside and external to SCO. Two examples of the latter are her recent completion of the TICUA Executive Leadership Institute and her international leadership role as the Beta Sigma Kappa Central World Council Chancellor. 


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