Alumni Association

Board Meeting Minutes | September 29, 2002

Attending:

Dr. Christine T. Clancey, Dr. Mark E. Clement, Dr. John  Crozier, Dr. Albert Dichter, Ms. Shannon L. Hippler, Dr. William F. Johnston, Jr, Dr. Harry Kaplan, Dr. Wilmer O. Kron, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, Dr. Marie A. Marrone-Moriarty, Dr. John T. Ochsenreither, Dr. Alan B. Ostroff, Dr. Ranjoo K. Prasad, Dr. Lawrence A. Ragone,  Dr. Robert A. Rosenberg, Ms. Kristina A. Voyna, Dr. Harold Wiener, Dr. Karen M. Wrigley, Ms. Lynne C. Corboy, and Ms. Ellen J. Mueller .

I. Call to Order

Dr. Marie Marrone-Moriarty called the meeting to order at 10:23 a.m.

II. Minutes of the previous meeting

The motion to accept the minutes of the Alumni Association Board meeting held on Saturday, May 4, 2002, was approved first by Dr. Crozier and seconded by Dr. Johnston.

III. Treasurer’s Report

After Dr. Ochsenreither presented the report, Dr. Kaplan opened discussion on how the Association’s funds are invested with the College's endowment. It was noted that because the funds are invested very conservatively, the value has not dropped as severely as the stock market.

The motion to accept the treasurer’s report was approved first by Dr. Crozier and seconded by Dr. Johnston. The report was approved as presented.

IV. Committee Reports

On behalf of Dr. Thomas J. Landry, committee chair, the Awards Committee Report was read by Dr. Ostroff. The Awards Committee is in the process of soliciting nominations for Alumnus of the Year. Members of the committee are planning a meeting to consider the options for distributing the award nomination forms and for publicizing the award. The form will appear in PCO World and will be publicized in Perspectives. The board members were asked to take a form and to consider nominating an alumnus themselves or to encourage their state or local optometric society to submit a nomination.

On behalf of Dr. Robert M.Cole, III, committee chair, the Student Relations Committee Report was read by Dr. Ostroff. The Alumni Association co-sponsored the annual “Get Acquainted” party held on Monday, August 26, 2002. Every year several alumni also attend this reception with the first-year students. This year the party was the first event of orientation and was the first time this class of students met each other as a group.

The Alumni Association gave each first-year student a brochure welcoming them to the College and describing the Alumni Association.

In May, Jim Caldwell, OD ’89, represented the Alumni Association at the Annual Awards dinner before Commencement. Dr. Caldwell presented Rebekah A. Grant, ’02, with the Alumni Association Award. At this event, pens and brochures were distributed welcoming the Class of 2002 to the Alumni Association.

Finally, the tradition of inviting student officers to the Alumni Association meetings has resumed. All class and executive student council officers were invited to this meeting.

The Reunion/Special Events Committee Report was read by Committee Chair Dr. Rosenberg. The Alumni Association co-hosted the annual “Get Acquainted Party” during first year orientation in June, and several alumni attended. The next Alumni reception is on Saturday, October 12, in Atlantic City as part of the OptoEast educational conference. The College will also have a booth in the exhibit hall.

PCO will take part in a joint alumni reception at the Academy meeting in December in San Diego where Dr. Tom Lewis will become the president of the Academy. In 2003, the College will also be present at SECO International in February in Atlanta and at the AOA Congress in June in San Diego.

Reunion 2003 will be held May 3 and 4, 2003. The host hotel will again be the Philadelphia Marriott West. The committee will be meeting to discuss themes and the Elkins Park Campus open house.

In addition, this committee will start to re-evaluate our reunion. Traditionally, PCO reunion weekends consist of open house and dinner dance on Saturday, with a breakfast and Annual Alumni Association Meeting on Sunday morning. Everyone who attends always enjoys the weekend immensely. However, we only attract about twelve percent of the over 1,068 alumni celebrating a reunion. The committee’s task this year is to consider if there are changes to make to the reunion weekend that would encourage higher attendance.

The committee reports were approved as presented with the motion first approved by Dr. Crozier and seconded by Dr. Johnston.

Dr. Johnston suggested that the alumni be queried electronically through e-mail and the PCO web site to find out what they would prefer at a reunion. Dr. Marrone added that PCO World was another forum that could be used to survey alumni about their preferences.

V. Alumni Association President’s Report

Dr. Marrone announced that Dr. Christine Clancey has accepted the position of co-chair of the Ambassadors committee. She is still waiting to hear from one other candidate for the second co-chair position.

She reminded those attending OptoEast to stop by the PCO booth in exhibit hall and the Alumni Reception on Saturday, October 12.

The Annual Giving goal for the 2002-2003 fiscal year is $185,000. The Telefund started on September 19 and ends December 1.

As was mentioned in the committee reports, the Reunion/Special Events Committee has the task of reevaluating the current Reunion format. One suggestion from the classes in the ‘80’s is to add a more family-friendly event sometime during the weekend.

Dr. Marrone also commented on how the College’s alumni population is changing:

Changing Alumni Population
Category Totals 2002 1982
Alumni 6,445 4,006
Female Alumni 27.0% 6%
Pennsylvania Alumni 33.0% 52% (Alumni in 49 States)
Optometry Alumni 91.5% 100%
Audiology 1.0% 0
Master's Degrees 2.5% 0
Certificate Program 1.0% 0
International 4.0% 0

Dr. Marrone introduced Dr. Thomas L. Lewis. Dr. Lewis remarked that PCO was financially and academically successful during the past year.

Spring 2003 presents a challenge for the clinical part of the curriculum. Both the second-and third-year classes will be seeing patients at TEI and other clinical sites, including the Camden Clinic and the Strawberry Mansion Clinic.

Due to the increased demand for clinics, the PCO has started a dialogue with the Temple University Department of Ophthalmology. The discussions centered around creating a clinic, which PCO students would have access to, on Temple’s main undergraduate campus. Another possible clinic location is the Germantown section of Philadelphia.

This year the College has encountered problems concerning three states and the implementation of the new curriculum.

In New York, state laws prohibit any educational opportunities (either clerkships or externships) for students not attending the SUNY Optometry program, even if those students are state residents. The College asked the state Board of Regents to reconsider, but the appeal was denied again on Friday, September 27. The College will now consider its legal options.

New Jersey’s Board of Examiners has had a limit in place for twenty years to limit externships to fourth-year optometry students. When requested to change the limit to include all optometry students, the Board voted to oppose any change.

State practice law in Pennsylvania also only allows fourth-year optometry students to have externships. The necessary change means changing the state practice law.

Dr. Lewis commented that there is nothing new to report on mergers with Temple University or with any other institution.

Likewise, there is nothing new to report on the Student Community Center project. The Governor of Pennsylvania needs to release the $3 million appropriated for the project, and the College continues to meet with the current governor and with one of the candidates running for election.

The national decline in applications to all health professions continues to affect PCO. The current problems with malpractice insurance and with medical reimbursement affect the entire field.

ASCO currently has two programs to combat this trend. The first gives information to practitioners to keep in their waiting rooms. Surveys indicate that most optometry students become attracted to the field through their optometrist. The second program targets health-care advisors at colleges.

Faculty and staff at the College have participated in two retreats and have created a strategic plan to improve the environment for attracting and keeping students. A main feature of this plan is an Enrollment Management team, in which many PCO departments are represented.

Dr. Larry McClure, PCO Associate Dean for Student Financial Affairs, further explained the role of Enrollment Management from admissions recruiting to enhancement of student services.

Traditionally, he clarified, healthcare profession schools did not heavily recruit students. About fifteen years ago, PCO instituted a sophisticated marketing plan to educate students and healthcare advisors. This type of marketing plan was based on the strategy used by private undergraduate colleges and today most of the other optometry schools have followed.

He stated that at a recent meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges, he learned that allopathic medical schools have not used enrollment management; yet they still have the same drop in applicant pool experienced in optometry.

Because optometry has smaller numbers of applicants compared to medical schools, the national trend has a stronger impact on PCO. The College does not want to increase its class size; it simply wants to increase the applicant pool to ensure enough quality students to fill its current class size.

Enrollment management is an expansion of student services. The College acknowledges that just as getting students to enroll at PCO is fundamental, keeping them satisfied and preparing them to graduate successfully is equally essential. Likewise, the College wants alumni to feel good about recommending the profession to other people. Enrollment management is broader than just recruitment. This strategy specifies that every aspect of the College must emphasize student services.

Alumni are a critical asset because they can make the transition from current student to practitioner successful for those individuals currently attending PCO better than any other group. Alumni can feel pride that PCO was the first optometric institution to use sophisticated marketing as a successful recruitment tool, and now it is the first to utilize enrollment management.

As part of the PCO Community, alumni can participate in the progress of the College through the Ambassadors and Mentors program. Some alumni may be asked to help select potential ambassadors and mentors, especially those who live in key states. Others will be asked to attend a training session. Part of training will prepare alumni to attend College fairs and comfortably represent PCO and answer current undergraduate’s questions.

The first such training session for ambassadors will take place on campus for local alumni within the next year.

VI. New Business

The Alumni Association will send out congratulatory letters to alumni who have achieved recognition in national optometric organizations such as, but not limited to, AOA, AAO, and COVD.

VII. Adjournment

Dr. Crozier made a motion to adjourn, with Dr. Ragone seconding. Dr. Marrone adjourned the meeting at 11:55 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert A. Rosenberg, OD, ’61
Secretary