Through CIAO, New England College of Optometry has formed university partnerships and collaborations that bring and send both faculty and students to other universities around the world.
In 2000, New England College of Optometry and Aalen University, Germany developed a collaborative program in which third or final year Bachelors student at Aalen could to elect to spend one semester at NECO, auditing courses at the College and working in dispensing units at either the community health centers or New England Eye Commonwealth or New England Eye Roslindale. Aalen students are well-trained in dispensing, and their degree requires them to complete an extensive internship abroad. Aalen students have been well-received by the various centers and provided expertise in dispensing to the patients. They also reorganized the dispensary for better marketing and sales of glasses. They have provided some hands-on workshops for NECO students rotating at the sites.
As a result of this collaboration, New England College of Optometry developed an elective course in the area of dispensing optics called “Learning and Applying Dispensing Optics to Patient Care”. Four students from NECO, after completion of their first year, can elect to spend four weeks during the summer at Aalen University. The professors at Aalen University provide them with lecture overviews, laboratory hands-on experience and also some visits to industries related to spectacle and lens wear. Students participating in this program have appreciated being able learn and understand more in-depth about lenses, and as gaining cross-cultural experience and understanding of optometry in Germany. Faculty at New England College of Optometry who teach dispensing optics are interested in learning more about the program in Germany and how they may incorporate this into their course curriculum here at the college.
Israel – Continuous Practitioner Programs
Mr. Maurice Saval, former chairman of the board of trustees at the College, established a fund to advance Optometric education in Israel. The funds were used in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to support student travel to Israel if NECO students elected to complete a clinical rotation in Israel. In the 1990’s, the funds were used to sponsor faculty from Hadassah College of Optometry to visit New England College of Optometry and vice versa, to help them with curriculum development in specific courses, and to implement clinical education programs. In 2000, NECO faculty visits to the two Optometry colleges in Israel, along with meetings with the representatives of the Israel Council of Optometry, helped to bridge differences between these groups. It also provided a collaborative educational exchange of ideas and more cohesiveness between faculty and the Optometric association. In the recent years the Saval funds have been used to help support the annual continuing education meeting that is put together by The Israel Council of Optometry. Faculty from New England College of Optometry and other institutions have been sponsored to participate in the meeting.