The Illinois College of Optometry recently earned continued accreditation, following a comprehensive review by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. The accreditation process includes an institutional self-study, external review and site visit to assess the quality of education programs against predetermined standards.
“The ICO community earned every bit of this accreditation. The process that the institution goes through is extensive and there is not a uniform result, said ICO president Arol Augsburger, OD. “We are beyond elation after reading the ACOE’s final report, which did not issue any required recommendations or suggestions for improvements to the program. This is indeed impressive and unprecedented in our institution’s history.”
Leading up to the site visit, which took place April 24-26, the faculty, staff and students spent months evaluating ICO’s program. The ACOE validated the work ICO submitted by conducting interviews, reviewing records and files, and examining the facilities. The ACOE report indicated ICO met all eight standards of accreditation by which all professional optometric degree programs are measured. The standards cover eight major areas including curriculum, program management, qualified faculty, student services, facilities, and clinic policies.
Dr. Stephanie Messner, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, led the institution through the self-study. “The work that members of our student body, staff, faculty and administration do each and every day has been, and will continue to be, the secret to our success,” she said. “I am proud of our community and the positive outcome we achieved together.” As part of the study, Dr. Messner worked with staff, faculty and students across the institution to document how well ICO subscribes to its own missions, goals, objectives, and meets ACOE standards.
ICO’s next comprehensive accreditation review is scheduled for 2025.