Dr. Jack Bennett Innovation in Optometric Education Award

Dr. Jack Bennett

ASCO’s Dr. Jack Bennett Innovation in Optometric Education Award was established in March 2000 to recognize an ASCO volunteer for an outstanding innovation to optometric education. The award was named in June 2000 in honor of Dr. Bennett, a creative leader in optometric education, who served as Dean at three optometric institutions.

Nominations are now being accepted.

Dr. Jack Bennett Innovation in Optometric Education Award Recipients








2022 Jack Bennet Award for Innovation in Optometric Education is awarded to all of the teaching faculty, both didactic and hands-on clinical teachers, at ASCO’s member institutions in the US and Canada.



Dr. Linda Casser pictured left (Salus/PCO)

Following graduation in 1978 from the Indiana University School of Optometry, Dr. Casser completed a two-year primary care optometry residency program at the Wilson Health Center in Rochester, NY.  From January 2009 through 2013, Dr. Casser served as Dean, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and subsequently Interim Associate Dean for the Practice of Optometric Medicine until August 2014.  In 2015, she served as Interim Director of Education for the Physician Assistant Program, Salus University College of Health Sciences. Dr. Casser currently serves as a tenured professor in PCO and Coordinator of Interprofessional Education for Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gary Chu (NECO)

Dr. Chu is the Vice President of Professional Affairs at the New England College of Optometry. He received his OD degree from NECO in 1995 and his MPH in 2002 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Chu has been immersed in the issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for over ten years and has served on the Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee for ASCO from 2011-2020. He is the founding chair of ASCO’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion special interest group and was the Guest Editor for the Journal of Optometric Education’s theme issue on diversity and cultural competency in 2017.


Dr. Mark Colip (Illinois College of Optometry)
For his outstanding work as an ASCO volunteer focusing on analysis of applicant pool trends and data


Dr. Charles Haine (Retired)
For establishing and administering the first optometry residency matching service



Dr. Janice Scharre (Illinois College of Optometry) and Dr. David Heath (New England College of Optometry)
For developing the ASCO Summer Institute for Faculty Development


Dr. Jerry Strickland (University of Houston College of Optometry)
For conceiving and leading the effort establishing the Partnership Foundation for Optometric Education


Dr. Kent Daum (University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry)
For his leadership in outcomes assessment in optometric education


Dr. David Heath (New England College of Optometry)
For the development of “A Model for Entry-Level Determination” (MELD Report)


Dr. Nada Lingel (Pacific University College of Optometry)
For the development of an accreditation study module for the Council of Optometric Education site team members