Accreditation Council on Optometric Education Names Stephanie Puljak as Director

By

Stephanie Puljak

ST. LOUIS—The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) announced that Stephanie Puljak has been named as director of ACOE, effective Sept. 8, 2020. Following a thorough nationwide search, Puljak will take staff leadership role of ACOE—the only accrediting body for professional optometric degree programs, optometric residency programs and optometric technician programs in the U.S. and Canada—during a period of tremendous change in health care and historic advancement for optometry and optometric education, the announcement noted. Prior to moving into this new role as director of ACOE, Puljak demonstrated leadership experience in operations, process improvement and compliance, honed and tested especially during her work for Magellan Health and Express Scripts and her educational pursuits, according to the announcement.

She will help ACOE, composed of 11 members, serve the public and the profession of optometry by establishing, maintaining and applying standards to ensure the academic quality and continuous improvement of optometric education that reflect the contemporary practice of optometry.

Both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognize the ACOE as a reliable authority concerning the quality of education of the programs the Council accredits. ACOE accreditation means the programs that have attained accredited status:

• Meet the Council's standards of educational effectiveness.
• Show a demonstrated commitment to quality assessment and improvement.

Professional optometric degree programs are courses of study leading to a doctor of optometry (OD) degree. Optometric residency programs of postdoctoral optometry clinical education are designed to advance the optometric graduate's preparation for patient care services beyond entry-level practice.

Optometric technician programs prepare students to work as optometric technicians with a working knowledge and an understanding of the procedures within the current scope of optometric practice. These programs are a minimum of one academic year.

The ACOE serves the public and the profession of optometry by establishing, maintaining and applying standards to ensure the academic quality and continuous improvement of optometric education that reflect the contemporary practice of optometry. The scope of the ACOE encompasses professional optometric degree programs, optometric residency programs, and optometric technician programs.