2011 State of the College

suny college of optometry

Building Renovations Creating spaces for learning and community

Workforce Study The changing face of optometry

Over the last 2 decades, the profile of a typical optometrist in New York State has been steadily shifting. This past year, SUNY Optometry’s Center for Vision Care Policy, led by Dr. Mort Soroka, conducted a comprehensive study to better understand the new face of optometry. Analyzed in conjunction with broader trends in healthcare, ophthalmology and the evolving demand for eye care services, the results of the study provide insight into who’s practicing optometry in New York State, where they’re practicing and why they chose the profession.

Workforce Study Highlights:

• 15% of survey respondents indicate that they plan to retire within the next 5 years.

• 3,049 optometrists are registered as licensed in New York State, with 560 of them active only in other states and countries. • Of the remaining 2,489 optometrists, 2,124 (85%) completed Dr. Soroka’s survey. • There are a confirmed minimum of 2,124 and a projected maximum of 2,310 doctors of optometry practicing in NYS. • Over the past 10 years, the average total number of optometric licenses has grown at less than 1.4% per year (new licenses minus attrition). At the current level of enrollment, this rate of growth is likely to decrease due to increasing retirements.

• With increasing retirements in optometry, and if all else remains the same, the growth projection is likely to flatten within 5 years. • 38% of survey responders were women. Currently, women comprise two-thirds of SUNY Optometry’s student body, highlighting a gender shift occurring over the past 2 decades. • The gender shift in optometry has an impact on supply. Studies indicate that women physicians work on average 7.4 hours per week less than their male counterparts. It is reasonable to assume the same is true in optometry, thus as the male providers retire and are replaced by women, there is/will be approximately a 15% decrease in the supply of patient care provided.

The renovation of our historic building continues to be a priority for the College. Construction has begun on the Center for Student Life and Learning, a major renovation that involves 3 floors in the building. The Center will provide the College community with a physical focal point for all types of educational, recreational and social activities. The design phase for the ground-floor and main-lobby renovation has been completed with a construction start anticipated in 2013. In the short term, the lobby will be painted, some minor space alterations will be completed and new signage and branding images for both the College and the State University of New York will be installed. Necessary improvements to the infrastructure and preventive maintenance of our building include a new building-wide fire alarm and building management system. Other improvements include several space alterations on patient care floors, upgrading restrooms on multiple floors and other electrical and mechanical improvements throughout the building. We also completed a campus-wide “Facilities Master Plan” that will guide our capital projects through the next 2 5-year capital budget cycles beginning in 2013 and 2018.

An outstanding evaluation report reaffirmed the College’s accreditation this year. Both evaluating agencies—the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)— found the College in compliance with all accreditation standards and offered no recommendations. In fact, MSCHE elected to “commend the institution for the quality of the Accreditation College’s accreditation reaffirmed

self-study report” and ACOE requested permission to use the College’s self-study as an example in its application for re- accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education. The accreditation process in higher education is transform- ing rapidly, and more emphasis is being placed on meaning- ful assessment involving both student learning and general college operations. In response to the new evaluation pro- cess, the College assembled 7 working groups composed of faculty and staff members. Each group reviewed operations

in areas including planning and assessment, student learn- ing and curriculum, research and scholarship, student affairs, clinic operations, administration and finance. Reports written by the groups formed the basis for the self-study document. A site-visit team composed of educators from both agencies visited the College on April 10-13, 2011. They met with faculty, staff, students and administrators to assess the College’s performance relative to the 14 MSCHE and 8 ACOE accreditation standards.

Additionally, the College is increasingly using data to assess its operations and to make improvements. Much of these data are now published online in the College’s Factbook. Data on admissions and enrollment, student learning outcomes, research, faculty, the University Eye Center (UEC), library and other areas are included.

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