ASCO Code of Ethics and Statement of Values

Statement of Values

The values of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry include the following:

  • We are accountable to the public, patients, students, the profession of optometry and ourselves.
  • We respect the worth and dignity of individuals within the context of diverse ideas and life experiences of our members and those whom we serve.
  • We are committed to personal and collective integrity and strive to maintain trust of the public, patients, students and ourselves through excellence, transparency and responsible stewardship of resources that are entrusted to us.
  • We are committed to a philosophy of continuous improvement relative to the art and science of optometric education.

These values inform and guide the actions that ASCO should take in developing its policies and in forming its practices.

Code of Ethics

A. Personal and Professional Integrity
All staff, board members, and volunteers of the organization make a commitment to act with honesty, integrity, and openness in all their dealings as representatives of the organization. The organization promotes a working environment that values respect, fairness, and integrity.

B. Mission
The organization has a clearly stated mission and purpose, approved by the board of directors, in the interests of public, patients, the profession of optometry and students. Programs shall be designed to support that mission. All who work for or on behalf of the organization seek to understand and maintain loyalty to that mission and purpose.

C. Governance
The organization has an active governing body, the board of directors, which is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of the organization and oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of the organization. The governing body:

  • Ensures that members of the executive committee have the requisite skills and experience to carry out their duties and that all members seek to understand and fulfill their governance duties acting for the benefit of the organization and its public purpose;
  • Has a conflict of interest policy that avoids any conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof  or are appropriately managed through disclosure, recusal, or other means; and,
  • Is responsible for the hiring and  termination of the chief executive officer;
  • The executive committee is responsible for the regular review of the chief executive officer and establishes ranges of compensation for each staff position that are reasonable and appropriate;
  • Requires the CEO and appropriate staff to provide the governing body with timely and comprehensive information so that the governing body can effectively carry out its duties;
  • Conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty;
  • Promotes working relationships with board members, staff, volunteers, and program beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness, and openness;
  • Is fair and inclusive in its hiring and promotion policies and appointment practices for all board, staff, and volunteer positions;
  • Establishes and maintains policies of the organization that are in writing, clearly articulated, and officially adopted;
  • Manages the resources of the organization responsibly and prudently; and,
  • Regularly reviews the effectiveness of its programs.

D. Legal Compliance
The organization is knowledgeable of and maintains policies and procedures that promote compliance with all laws, regulations, and applicable international conventions.

E. Responsible Stewardship
The organization manages its funds responsibly and prudently. This should include the following considerations:

  • It spends a reasonable percentage of its annual budget on programs in pursuance of its mission;
  • It spends an adequate amount on administrative expenses to ensure effective accounting systems, internal controls, competent staff, and other expenditures critical to professional management;
  • The organization compensates staff, and any others who may receive compensation, reasonably and appropriately;
  • The organization has reasonable fundraising costs, recognizing the variety of factors that affect fundraising costs;
  • The organization does not accumulate operating funds excessively;
  • The organization ensures that all spending practices and policies are fair, reasonable, and appropriate to fulfill the mission of the organization; and,
  • All financial reports are as factually accurate and comprehensive as is required to meet legal requirements and facilitate effective oversight.

F. Openness and Disclosure
The organization provides comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and is responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. All information about the organization should fully and honestly reflect the policies and practices of the organization. Basic informational data about the organization, such as the Form 990, reviews and compilations, and audited financial statements are available to members and the public. All solicitation materials shall be designed so as to accurately represent the organization’s policies and practices and will reflect the dignity of program beneficiaries. All financial, organizational, and program reports will be comprehensive and accurate in all material respects.

G. Program Evaluation
The organization regularly reviews program effectiveness and has mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. The organization is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and to developing mechanisms that promote learning from its activities and the field. The organization shall strive to be responsive to changes in its field of activity and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.

H. Inclusiveness and Diversity
The organization has a policy of promoting inclusiveness and its staff and volunteers reflect diversity in order to enrich its programmatic effectiveness. The organization takes meaningful steps to promote inclusiveness in its hiring, retention, promotion, recruitment under the purview of the organization and constituencies served.

Approved by the Board of Directors, November 16, 2010