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Scholars From Aalen University in Germany Visit NECO

Scholars From Aalen University in Germany Visit NECO image

Visiting students from German University receive lectures, interactive workshops, labs, and clinical observation

Germany has long been involved in the field of optometry and eye health. German scientist and philosopher Hermann von Helmholtz is credited with inventing the ophthalmoscope in 1851, allowing individuals to see the interior of an eye on a living person.

For the past two weeks, 18 students from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy have come to study at New England College of Optometry (NECO) as an elective of their masters degree program at Aalen University in Aalen, Germany.

The Masters of Vision Science (Optometry) and Business program at Aalen University is a collaborative program with the New England College of Optometry and Pacific University in Oregon. The program has four components to the curriculum: Vision science curriculum with an emphasis in biomedical science and disease provided by NECO; binocular vision and pediatric curriculum provided by Pacific University, Oregon USA; and business curriculum and the Masters thesis provided by Aalen University. Degrees are conferred by Aalen University.

The program is part of NECO’s ongoing commitment to international optometry and enhancing the skills and knowledge of optometrists currently working in other countries. As part of the collaborative program, New England College of Optometry sends faculty to Germany to teach in one component of the program and Aalen students may elect to come to NECO or Pacific University for a two week elective program in the summer. Over the past year faculty from NECO traveled to Aalen in July, August, September, October, February, April, and May to teach 5-7 day modules. Representing NECO this year were current faculty members Dr. Debora Nickla, Dr. James Mertz, Dr. Tony Cavallerano, Dr. Zimmerman, and Dr. Bina Patel, complemented by alumni and adjunct faculty members Dr. Kirkness, Dr. Jin Jong Chung, Dr. Diane Adamcyzk and Dr. Kathleen Krenzer.

As part of the collaboration, Aalen students may choose to visit NECO or Pacific University to take a two-week elective program. The current summer elective program represents the seventh time NECO has participated with Aalen University. The goal of the program is to help students gain a higher understanding of primary care optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease as they apply principles of their coursework from Aalen.

While participating at NECO, Aalen students receive lectures, interactive workshops, labs, and clinical observation to reinforce the material they have learned in Aalen through their NECO faculty. This year, the participants are here from June 15-July 26, 2015, receiving lectures, taking part in interactive clinics, and exploring Boston. The lectures and labs were presented by Dr. Bruce Moore, Dr. Matt Garston, Dr. Tony Cavallerano, Dr. Bina Patel, Dr. Maureen Hanley, Dr. Debora Nickla, Dr. Jane Gwaizda, Dr. Walter Potaznick, Dr. Torsten Weigend, Dr. Baha Ashefezadeh, Dr. Jennifer Gustafson, Dr. Kevin Houston, Dr. Thomas Freddo, Dr. Bob Dunphy, Dr. David Murakami, and Dr. Frances Rucker.

The Aalen masters program is unique in that it allows a full-time practitioner or educator to study on a part-time modular basis in Aalen over a two year period for the didactic portion of the course work. Students come to campus in Aalen for intensive long weekends every few weeks to study for their advanced degree. Students come from different parts of Europe. The teaching style includes traditional in-class teaching with hands-on laboratory experience, with both local and international teaching expertise in different course areas. In addition, there is a Web CT component which involves voice streaming and power point to allow for some distance learning.

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