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Message from Dean Flanagan

The vernal equinox truly marks a season of renewal at UC Berkeley. Our 4th year OD students across the country experience Residency Match Day, our 3rd years complete their first round of the NBEO exams, and the entire campus celebrates Charter Day and Spring Break, with graduation as the season’s capstone. Spring also marks important phases of the admissions cycle for our VS and OD students, as we host prospective PhDs and newly-admitted OD students. Ironically, college admissions have been in the national news this month for all the wrong reasons. As an educator and parent, and most importantly as Berkeley Optometry’s Dean, I want to address admissions to our school.

Media reports suggest that many of the undergraduate admissions scandals are tied to alleged payoffs to coaches and falsification of test performance. I assure you that our graduate students are outside the realm of these scandals, primarily because our rigorous programs demand a sophisticated level of prerequisite knowledge, and an exceptionally high learning mindset that would be difficult to falsify. The Admissions and Student Affairs Office (ASAO), along with the faculty and student representatives of the Admissions Committees, demonstrate their integrity in advancing vision science and optometry in their tireless recruitment of the brightest minds. Our Interview Day, with its multiple, standardized workstations and evaluations, helps ensure that it is not just GPA or OAT scores that determine which candidates are selected. I am proud of our current and past students, who have all rightfully earned their places in our academic programs, and I have confidence in the integrity of our admissions process. We should all expect nothing less of Berkeley Optometry, its past, our present, and our exciting future.

As alumni and friends of the school, you also play an integral role in admissions. When alumni ask me how they can help our school, I reply with two requests: donate annually, and recruit always. Recruiting begins with the outstanding patient care you provide, as I hear often that current students were inspired by their own eye doctors, often years or decades earlier. That was certainly my own experience. Encourage the young people you meet to consider optometry as a career. Our future as a profession has never been brighter. Encourage them to apply for Berkeley Optometry’s summer OptoCamp. Invite them to shadow you as you care for your patients. Finally, broadly share in your patient communications and community communications. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) created a millennial-focused campaign to highlight the many reasons we entered this profession. I invite you all to request more information from the Development & Alumni Relations office, Thank you for being UC Berkeley’s best ambassadors.