The University’s president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman recently announced the appointment of Melissa Trego ’04 OD, PhD, as the new dean of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)
. She is the first female graduate of PCO to hold this title. In her new role, Dr. Trego will be responsible for the development, implementation and assessment of PCO’s academic programs, personnel and fiscal resources, as well as maintaining the program’s accreditation status.
Dr. Trego has acted as interim dean for PCO since May 2016, which has greatly prepared her for new role as dean.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the next dean of PCO,” she said. “I am fortunate enough to be working closely with some pretty incredible faculty every day, educating our students and caring for our patients.”
Dr. Trego brings more than 10 years of optometric clinical expertise and academic leadership to the position. After earning her Doctor of Optometry from Salus PCO
in 2004, she held a two-year primary care residency at The Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University. She then became an instructor for PCO and a clinical instructor at TEI, while earning her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. From there, she rose through the ranks as an assistant professor, associate dean of Optometric Academic Affairs, associate dean of the Accelerated Scholars Program and ultimately interim dean. Dr. Trego was instrumental in the development of the University’s Accelerated Scholars Program
, the first three-year Doctor of Optometry program in the U.S., which has seen much success in its first graduating class this past May
“My hope has been and always will be to make PCO a little bit better every day,” she said. “As a program, we've started to make our stride in moving forward and we are ready to start the next chapter in PCO's innovative history. My hope is to facilitate and support this pathway.”
University provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Janice Scharre, is pleased to have Dr. Trego as PCO’s dean. She is confident her leadership skills and innate passion for the optometric profession will be immense assets as she transitions to her new position.
"Dr. Trego brings significant experience as a classroom teacher, clinician and administrator to the position,” she said. “She is a strong advocate for the optometry profession, program and students.”
Dr. Scharre noted that in her role as interim dean, “she has led a major curriculum review with the faculty, successful accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, and a significant faculty development project.” In addition to being an active administrator and faculty member of the innovative Scholar's Program, Dr. Scharre is excited for PCO’s next chapter. “We are confident that under her leadership, PCO will continue to be innovative and progressive in optometric education, leading through change," she said.
In addition to her work at Salus and TEI, Dr. Trego holds an array of leadership positions; she is the Chief Academic Officer for PCO with the American Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Special Interest Groups as well as serving on ASCO's board of directors. She has also served as residency accreditation team member for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). She has published various peer-reviewed abstracts and presents professionally both nationally and internationally. Throughout her career, she has won various awards including Alcon’s Clinical Excellence Award, Clinical Excellence in Low Vision, National Optometric Student Association (NOSA) Faculty Recognition Award and Outstanding Optometry Professor of the Year.