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Hats Off to Optometry School Leadership

Educating future optometrists is a passion shared by these great optometry leaders at the nation’s schools and colleges of optometry. While this listing calls out the top spots of academic leadership, many associate deans, directors and faculty support the effort to continue to improve and enhance optometric education.

*Updated December 2023

Alabama
Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, Dean of University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry

 

Arizona
Alicia Feis, OD, FAAO, Dean of Arizona College of Optometry, Midwestern University

 

California
Julie A. Schornack, OD, MEd, President of Marshall B. Ketchum University

Read her recent story with WO here.

Eric Borsting, OD, MSEd, FAAO, FCOVD, Dean of Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B Ketchum University
John Flanagan, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, Dean of University of California – Berkeley Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry and Vision Science
Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH, Founding Dean of Western University College of Optometry
Ida Chung, OD, MSHE, FCOVD, FAAO,
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Associate Professor
Tiffenie Harris, OD, FAAO,
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, Associate Professor

 

Florida
Linda S. Rouse, OD, MBA, FAAO, Dean of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Rachel A. “Stacey” Coulter, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Cristina Llerena Law, OD, Ph.D, FAAO, Dipl-ABO, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

 

Illinois
Mark Colip, OD, President, Illinois College of Optometry
Stephanie Messner, OD, FAAO, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs of Illinois College of Optometry
Leonard Messner, OD, FAAO, Vice President for Strategy and Institutional Advancement, Illinois College of Optometry
Erik Mothersbaugh, OD, FAAO, Dean of Student Affairs, Illinois College of Optometry
Melissa Suckow, OD, FAAO, Dean of Chicago College of Optometry, Midwestern University

 

Indiana
Rowan Candy, BSc, MCOptom, Ph.D,  Interim Dean of Indiana University, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Suresh Viswanathan, OD, MS, Ph.D.,  Dean, effective June 3, 2024

 

Kentucky
Donald J. Egan,, OD, FAAO,
Interim Dean of College of Optometry,
Professor of Optometry at Kentucky College of Optometry

 

Massachusetts
Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, President of New England College of Optometry
Erik Weissberg, OD, FAAO, Dean of Academic Affairs, New England College of Optometry
Gary Chu, OD, MPH, FAAO, Vice President, Professional Affairs, New England College of Optometry
Nancy Coletta, OD, PhD, FAAO, FARVO,
Dean, Professor & Associate Dean for Academic Programs of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Optometry
Larry Baitch, OD, PhD, FAAO,
Professor, Associate Dean for Research
Greg Waldorf, OD, MPH, FAAO,
Associate Dean for Clinical Programs

 

Michigan
Daniel A. Taylor, OD, EdD, MS, MBA, FAAO, DipOE, Dean of Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University

 

Missouri
Keshia Elder, OD, MS, FAAO, Dean of University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry
Vinita Allee Henry, OD, FAAO,
Associate Dean of Clinical Operations, Clinical
Julie Ott DeKinder, OD, FAAO,
Associate Dean of Academic Programs

 

New York
David A. Heath, OD, EdM, President of State University of New York, College of Optometry

 

Ohio
karla zadnik theia 2020 Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost of The Ohio State University, effective Jan. 1, 2024

She will continue serving as interim dean of the College of Public Health.

 

Oklahoma
Douglas Penisten, OD, PhD, Dean of Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Nathan Lighthizer, OD, Associate Dean
Jeffrey Miller, OD, FAAO, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
Earlena McKee, OD, MS, Assistant Dean

 

Oregon
Jennifer Coyle, OD, MS, President of Pacific University
Fraser C. Horn, OD, FAAO, Dean of Pacific University College of Optometry

 

Pennsylvania
Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE, President of Salus University
Melissa Trego, OD, PhD, Dean of Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Maria Parisi, OD, FAAO, Optometric Clinical Affairs, Associate Dean
Elizabeth Tonkery, OD, MPH, Curriculum and Assessment, Associate Dean
Bhawan Minhas, OD, FAAO, Accelerated Programs, Associate Dean
Bisant A. Labib, OD, FAAO, Dipl. CEC, Optometric Special Programs, Associate Dean

 

Puerto Rico
Andrés Pagán, OD, MPH, Dean of Inter American University School of Optometry
Ángel F. Romero Ayala, OD, Dean of Academic Affairs
Iris R. Cabello, OD, Dean of Student Affairs
Damaris Pagán, OD, MPH, Dean of Clinical Affairs

 

Tennessee
Lewis Reich, OD, PhD, President of Southern College of Optometry
James Venable, OD, FCOVD, Vice President for Clinical Programs
J. Bart Campbell, OD, FAAO, Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

Texas
Sandra Juarez Fortenberry, OD, FAAO, ABO Diplomate, Dean of Rosenberg School of Optometry at University of Incarnate Word
Michael D. Twa, OD, PhD, FAAO, Dean of University of Houston, College of Optometry
Andrew M. Archila, OD, MBA, FAAO, Associate Dean for Clinical Operations
Kimberly Lambreghts, RN, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean For Professional Studies
Laura J. Frishman, Ph.D., FAAO, FARVO, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
Ralph J. Herring, OD, MHA, Assistant Dean for Professional Studies
Danica Marrelli, OD, FAAO, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education
Lucy Kehinde Darnell, OD, Ph.D, FAAO, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

 NEW OPTOMETRY SCHOOLS

Utah
Adam Hickenbotham, OD, MPH, PhD, Founding Dean of the College of Optometry, Rocky Mountain University
Court Wilkins, OD, MHS, FAAO, Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs
Donnie Akers, OD, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
North Carolina

Catherine Heyman, OD, Founding Dean at High Point University School of Optometry

Read her recent story with WO here.

 

Read more about ODs who have made their career in academia here.

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