ASCO Strategic Plan 2018-2022


The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) advances optometric education and research to enhance the health and well-being of the public.


The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) accomplishes this mission through collaboration with educators, administrators, residents, students, industry, government, healthcare organizations, and other stakeholders through its education, research, advocacy and development activities, in order to nurture robust, forward-thinking, and evidence-based optometric education and research.


The public benefits from enhanced eye and vision health through excellence in optometric education and research.


The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) serves as a catalyst for the advancement of optometry. ASCO member schools and colleges provide the best education, conduct the most innovative research, and attract and graduate the highest quality professionals who reflect the diversity of the populations we serve. Our graduates go on to serve as doctors of optometry, researchers, educators, collaborators, and leaders in the health care community.


The strength of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is rooted in our core values: providing forward thinking leadership; making a difference in the lives of our students, residents, patients, faculty, and administrators; seeking creative and innovative approaches in our pursuits; and striving for excellence in all that we do. As we increase our effectiveness as an association and expand our reach and endeavors, our core values allow us to stay true to our founding principles and proud legacy.

  1. Leadership
  2. Innovation
  3. Inclusion
  4. Integrity


What do these core values mean?

  1. Leadership. ASCO leads the optometric education community and encourages excellence and leadership in students, residents, faculty, and administrators through the promotion of an inspiring vision for the future. ASCO is a highly trusted source/authority for information about optometric education. Its audiences include the public, the media, and public policy makers. ASCO promotes outcomes that are best for students and patients.
  2. Innovation. ASCO is a catalyst for a better future through innovation. Creative approaches to education, research, scholarship, and service are demonstrated by a culture that recognizes and celebrates diversity of thinking and perspectives; strives for excellence; accepts reasonable risk, and appreciates the learning that comes from valuable failures.
  3. Inclusion. No individual is as creative or effective as a group of well-focused, collaborative individuals. The same is true for organizations. ASCO sustains a strong sense of community among those involved in optometric education. ASCO creates an environment where students, residents, faculty, administrators, patients and their families, other healthcare practitioners, researchers, and scientists all feel heard, safe, respected, and supported. This value is evidenced by appreciation for a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds, by strong teamwork among volunteers and staff, and by actively pursuing opportunities to work cooperatively with other organizations. It is further supported by an inclusive organizational structure that provides opportunity for engagement, allowing a variety of stakeholders to contribute, and providing for enhanced communications and collaboration.
  4. Integrity. ASCO acts consistently in accordance with its mission, being honest and transparent in what we do and say, with an unwavering desire to conduct the highest quality programs and to collaborate with other groups and organizations with similar goals. ASCO focuses on pursuits that have a direct impact on people’s lives, through the thoughtful establishment of priorities, and the use of evaluation processes, centered on the impact to students, residents, faculty, administrators, researchers/scientists, and patients. This value is demonstrated in behavior that exhibits commitment to high professional standards; that upholds accountability for the trust placed in us by our faculty, students, and residents; and that promotes ethical behavior among all individuals involved in the work of the association and in optometric education.



  • Attract a robust, highly qualified, diverse applicant pool of students pursuing the necessary education required to treat, care for and improve overall vision and health of patients everywhere. (Applicant Pool Development)
    • Recruit at least 2 applicants with a GPA > 3.0 from their undergraduate institution(s) for every available training slot in a US-based optometry program by June 2022.
    • Increase by 100% the number of highly qualified applicants from Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black backgrounds by June 2022.
    • Maximize the percentage/number of high school students who are aware of optometry as a career option.
  • Establish and promote career and leadership development programs for faculty, administrators, residents and students. (Leadership & Career Development)
    • The amount of research about optometric education being conducted and published increases.
    • Provide resources to faculty and administrators at optometry schools/colleges to improve individual proficiency and effectiveness.
    • Faculty and administrator participation in ASCO programs and services doubles by June 2022.
    • The number of students completing optometry residencies increases.
    • Promote academic career options to optometry students and residents.
    • Increase by 100% the number of residents from Latino/Hispanic and African American/Black backgrounds by June 2022.
  • Serve as the leading voice for optometric education. (Advocacy)
    • Maximize the number of external stakeholders who look to ASCO as a resource for reliable information pertaining to optometric education. (“External stakeholders” is defined as public policy makers, government officials, higher education institutions, other healthcare organizations, and members of the media.)
    • Develop funding sources for students wishing to pursue optometric education.
    • Advocate for policy changes at other optometric associations/organizations to promote excellence in optometric education.
    • Become a major supporter of advocacy efforts to raise public awareness about the value of the optometric profession.
    • Federal agencies are funding more optometry-led research.
  • Develop and facilitate inter-institutional and interprofessional collaboration among ASCO member institutions as well as between ASCO and other organizations. (Collaboration)
    • 100% of ASCO schools/colleges are participating in IPECP (as defined by the IPECP Committee).
    • Promote collaboration among ASCO member institutions.
    • Institute cost-saving or income-producing opportunities otherwise not available to individual members.
    • International collaborations with schools/colleges outside North America increases by 200%.
  • Develop systems to assure effective governance, responsible resource allocation, and appropriate infrastructure development. (Organizational Sustainability)
    • Increase funding for ASCO operations and programs at least 25% by June 2022.
    • Review and revise ASCO’s governance structure to provide an effective framework for achievement of ASCO’s mission.
    • Internal systems provide appropriate controls, staffing, resources, policies, and procedures in order to meet ASCO’s goals.


Posted 10/2017