Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Strategic Plan 2021-2026


The Pennsylvania College of Optometry innovates and leads in the development of Doctors of Optometry who advance health and health care through excellence in discovery, patient care, and professional leadership.


The Pennsylvania College of Optometry will be recognized as an innovator in providing optometric education with emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare.


Recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified and diverse faculty best-suited to deliver the curriculum.

1.1 Conduct faculty salary and FTE analysis by department to align with the needs of our optimal, sustainable traditional class size.
Outcome Measures:
  • Assess, report on, and align faculty salaries as related to rank, tenure, gender, and assignments.
  • Conduct a review of the 2019-2020 FAS template to assess programmatic impact.
1.2 Develop and maintain faculty leaders in academic and programmatic assessment.
Outcome Measures:
  • Support APCAss committee members to attend assessment training at conferences/workshops.
  • Identify additional programs and resources to train PCO Faculty.
  • Identify future APCAss members
1.3 Increase faculty awareness of educational pedagogy, innovative teaching options, and technological resources.
Outcome Measures
  • Support interested faculty in a meaningful way to attend educational conferences.
  • Support interested faculty in a meaningful way to attend workshops in innovation.
  • Increase utilization of TLS services for technological training.
  • Increase faculty participation and attendance in University Development Day activities.
  • Identify additional programs and resources for training.
1.4 Support and promote lifelong learning and growth opportunities that cultivate leadership, discovery, and scholarly activity.
Outcome Measures:
  • Increase faculty membership and representation at national and international conferences and professional meetings.
  • Identify internal and external institutional collaborative leadership opportunities for faculty.
  • Support faculty scholarship to align with University promotion guidelines and faculty education on merit expectations.
  • Implement performance review metrics that value and reward leadership activities.
1.5 Assess and identify needs for basic science and clinical research faculty support and recruitment.
Outcome Measures:
  • Assess student/faculty teaching ratio to establish a baseline faculty FTE need given the expectation of our optimal, sustainable class-size.
  • Conduct assessment of basic science curriculum and identify content areas where additional faculty expertise may be necessary.
  • Encourage and support research opportunities for basic science and clinical faculty participation.
1.6 Strengthen faculty recruitment by expanding the basic science and clinical faculty applicant pool and refine the committee process through the use of documented best practices in the
recruitment of faculty with a) diverse backgrounds and b) content knowledge and skills c) clinical expertise.
Outcome Measures:
  • Develop a recruitment plan for basic science and clinical faculty.
  • Develop and implement faculty search committee processes to effectively evaluate faculty from all backgrounds.
  • Increased number of qualified and diverse applicants for each faculty search.

Goal 2: Implement and assess a progressive curriculum that prepares students to provide state of the art optometric care.

2.1 Engage Curriculum Committee members including Chair, Sub-Committee Chairs, and Committee Members, in continued curriculum review processes.
Outcome Measures:
  • Update the PCO Student Learning Outcomes with the PCO APCAss committee.
  • Update charges for sub-committees.
  • Review sub-committee course composition.
  • Add Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion topics in all sub groups in collaboration with the PCO Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Continue assessment of curriculum via sub-committee structure as needs evolve.
  • Analyze data, review outcomes assessment and create summarized recommendations with curriculum committee.
  • Share data, outcomes assessment and recommendations with key stakeholders.
2.2 Initiate curriculum mapping to identify gaps, redundancies, and areas of potential expanded instruction.
Outcome Measures:
  • Engage PCO APCAss committee to propose a curriculum mapping plan.
  • Categorize where curricular goals reside in the curriculum following the IRMA method: introduced (I), reinforced/practiced (R), mastered (M), and Assessed (A).
  • Eliminate curricular areas with unplanned redundancy.
  • Curriculum outcome analysis and the development of recommendations are summarized each year and shared with faculty.
2.3 Revise and implement curricular modifications according to evaluation of assessment results.
Outcome Measures:
  • Identify curricular areas in need of additional educational resources (faculty, time, technology).
  • Evaluate and assess curricular areas at key points within the curriculum where students are known to struggle; including clinic entry, NBEO assessment, and externship progression.
  • Modify curriculum to include changes in support of improving student learning outcomes.
2.4 Continue and strengthen innovative educational TLS resources for increasing efficiency in student learning and assessment.  
Outcome Measure:
  • Identify a PCO Educational Electronic Services Workgroup to work in conjunction with the FOSU Learning Resource Committee, faculty, and TLS to determine personnel, facilities, technology and infrastructure support needs.
  • Improve the use electronic testing including the utilization of ExamSoft and Panopto quizzing.
  • Improve faculty education and utilization of the updated learning management system.

Goal 3: Develop an enrollment management plan for PCO programs (traditional, scholars, APOD).

3.1 Establish an optimum, sustainable class size for the PCO didactic and clinical program.
Outcome Measures:
  • Evaluate and modify, as needed, pre-requisite requirements including minimum GPA, OAT/GRE required scores, and courses.
  • Assess and identify the section size for all clinic, clinical problem solving, laboratory, and didactic facilities and the ideal faculty/student ratio for each course.
  • Assess and identify the ideal size of the on-campus PCO externship program.
  • Assess and modify, if necessary, the structure of primary care suites (number, size).
  • Obtain sufficient number of clinical FTE for patient care services and student education.
3.2 Evaluate the recruitment model for the Accelerated Scholars Program and determine strategies to increase the number of qualified candidates completing applications.
Outcome Measures:
  • Adjust marketing strategy to candidates within the pool.
  • Increase the number of interviews completed each year.
  • Evaluate and modify, as needed, pre-requisite requirements including minimum GPA, OAT/GRE required scores, and courses.
3.3 Develop a sustainable model for implementing and assessing the Advanced Placement
Optometry Degree (APOD) program.
Outcome Measures:
  • Evaluate and assess the appropriate number of students in the APOD program.
  • Review the APOD program admissions requirements.
  • Streamline coursework between the traditional and APOD program for APOD students who are taking courses in the traditional program with a focus on clinical education.
  • Develop a core set of courses and course sequence to be taken for all APOD students.
  • Provide an assessment model for the APOD program to determine its continued efficacy.

Goal 4: Strengthen student learning outcome assessment strategies, analyses, and appropriate interventions for the Traditional, Accelerated Scholars, and Advanced Placement in Optometry Degree programs.

4.1 Assess the scope and quality of the didactic educational experience.
Outcome Measures:
  • Evaluate average GPAs for matriculated students for each class year.
  • Track the National Board Pass Rates and trends for first time test takers.
  • Track the National Board Pass Rates and trends for the overall pass rate at the time of graduation.
  • Increase student participation in the course evaluation process.
  • Coordinate with Curriculum Committee/APCASS on data review, outcome assessment, and recommendations.
  • Develop and implement a review process for didactic instruction based upon assessment feedback from faculty self-assessments, student feedback, and administrative input.
4.2 Assess the scope and quality of the on-campus clinical educational experience.
Outcome Measures:
  • Evaluate and update student assessment rubrics for patient care.
  • Educate and train faculty and students on appropriate use and understanding of the clinical feedback/grading rubric.
  • Evaluate and identify ideal student-to-faculty ratio for clinical education, including clinical skills training and assessment.
  • Re-establish regular schedule of clinical conference-related activities during clinical assignments.
  • Strengthen the consistency of varied on-campus specialty clinic services.
4.3 Assess the scope and quality of the off-site externship program experience.
Outcome Measure:
  • Develop and implement framework for external site evaluation.
  • Increase participation in the preceptor education program to provide students with high quality clinical feedback.
  • Identify quality sites to provide additional specialty experiences.
  • Implement external site visitation plan.
4.4 Assess scope and quality of the Advanced Studies experience.
Outcome Measures:
  • Align course options with areas of advanced optometric education via curriculum review process.
  • Identify redundancy within the advanced studies sequence to ensure content provides an experience beyond entry-to-practice.
  • Utilize student survey data to improve available options and courses.
  • Track graduate placements and practice modalities for Advanced Studies students.
  • Develop strategies for marketing internal Advanced Studies Training.

Goal 5: Develop graduates who are life-long learners trained to practice full scope optometry with a diverse patient base and in a variety of healthcare settings.

5.1 Provide students with diverse clinical experiences during their internship and externship.
Outcome Measures:
  • Increase quantity and quality of encounters in specialty and primary care in the student on-campus experience.
  • Include multidisciplinary professional settings and collaborative health care delivery systems in the primary care training model.
5.2 Implement laser/minor surgical curricular content and build a lasers suite within PCO.
Outcome Measures:
  • Monitor state licensure requirements and align core competencies and curriculum to meet, as necessary.
  • Identify space requirements and resources for a lasers suite, in coordination with Facilities.
5.3 Improve first time pass rate for all parts of NBEO testing.
Outcome Measures:
  • Assess the number of D’s students are allowed to earn in the curriculum.
  • Engage with PCO APCAss committee to update PCO academic policy in an informed, data driven fashion.
  • Maintain NBEO Part 1 first time scores above the National Average.
  • Evaluate a comprehensive training program for Part 2/TMOD to improve first time pass rate.
  • Equip a NBEO Part 3 National Board style ‘suite’ for practice testing and implement a training program prior to students leaving campus in 3rd year.

Goal 6: Maintain full accreditation by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (Next self-study 2024/2025).

6.1 Identify Self-Study Committee including Co-Chairs, Standard Chair’s, Committee Members, and University contacts.
Outcome Measures:
  • Self-Study Committee Co-Chairs begin self-study design January 1, 2023.
  • Self-Study Committee appointments completed by May 15, 2023.
  • Standards assignments delineated and disseminated by August 15, 2023.
  • Self-Study final report completed by December, 2023.
6.2 Engage faculty in the self-study process.
Outcome Measures:
  • Faculty participation in Self-Study Committee.
  • Faculty review of the Self-Study report.
  • Faculty preparation and engagement in the site visit.
6.3 Develop a self-study document in preparation for 2024/2025 ACOE Accreditation site visit that includes analysis, assessment, and implementation of processes.
Outcome Measures:
  • Assessment, outcome, and implementation measures identified through the self-study process are achieved.
  • ACOE accreditation is granted to PCO 2024/2025.

Goal 7: Develop innovative models for optometric education that reflect the changing healthcare and educational landscape. 

7.1 Identify areas of strength and opportunity relative to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the didactic and clinical environments.
Outcome measures:
  • Conduct course level content assessment relative to curricular content delivery and update courses to include additional DEI training where appropriate.
  • Conduct a TEI climate survey.
  • Develop and implement a data-driven improvement plan (student training/faculty development) based on TEI climate survey results.
7.2 Provide support for external environmental issues as they impact students’ education. (examples: should address things such as climate change, pandemic/epidemic disease, social issues, political unrest, election results, etc.)
Outcome measures:
  • Creation of a nimble and versatile system to quickly roll out initiatives and assess stakeholder needs for a variety of unexpected events.
  • Creation of faculty mentors for student support.
  • Enhance student engagement and awareness of CPPD through regular seminars and workshops for students and faculty during orientation and regularly thereafter.
7.3 Provide students and faculty with functional, current technologies.
Outcome measures:
  • Regular assessment of current equipment to ensure they are up to date and in good working order.
  • Regular assessment of advances in technology to determine if additional technologies should be adopted.
  • Acquisition and maintenance of laboratory and clinical equipment, as identified by above.

Goal 8: Coordinate with other Salus programs (i.e., OT, AuD) to develop and implement models for interprofessional collaborative care.

8.1 Encourage active participation in IPE healthcare events.
Outcome measures:
  • Increase the number of faculty participating in events both on- and off-campus.
  • Increase the number of students participating in events both on- and off-campus.
8.2 Increase faculty awareness, understanding, and use of services provided at other on-campus
Outcome measures:
  • Number of referrals made by PCO faculty to other Salus clinics.
  • Work with partners across campus to identify space where clinicians can learn and work together in-patient care settings.
8.3 Increase faculty participation in interprofessional scholarship
  • Increase the number of IPE/IPC scholarly works
Educational Goals to Develop Entry Level Practitioners of Optometry:
  1. Practice with the highest level of ethical standards for the profession.
  2. Demonstrate superior abilities for clinical skills and patient care.
  3. Attain licensure to practice evidence based contemporary optometry in any state.
  4. Exhibit a high degree of professionalism.
  5. Recognize the importance for continued growth, development, and learning.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to act as a mentor within the program and profession through acts of service.
Educational Objectives to Develop Entry Level Practitioners of Optometry:
a) Apply background knowledge of basic sciences and systemic disease in the management ocular disease.
b) Properly utilize clinical skills in the acquisition of collecting data and performing comprehensive eye exams.
c) Analyze pertinent clinical data to arrive at appropriate diagnosis and treatment plans.
d) Effectively and confidently communicate to all involved healthcare providers in the delivery and management of patient care.
e) Demonstrate competence in compliance with optometric healthcare regulations.
f) Recognize of the role of research in optometric care.
g) Illustrate commitment to becoming lifelong learners.
h) Demonstrate competency in the use of ophthalmic materials.
I) Apply effective problem solving skills.
j) Summarize the tenets that define good practice management.
k) Use evidence-based knowledge to facilitate individualized patient care.
l) Employ effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills when interacting with patients, colleagues, and other professionals.
m) Evaluate the systems of the body as it relates to the ocular system.
n) Illustrate the ability to apply critical thinking skills to clinical scenarios.
o) Select and interpret results of relevant ophthalmic diagnostic technology.
p) Execute high levels of ethics and professionalism.