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Our Mission in Action: We are the only optometry school in the country associated with a faith-based institution emphasizing individualized attention and placing a high importance on our student’s personal growth and development. In addition to our goal of graduating clinically proficient optometrists, UIWRSO is equally concerned with graduating well-rounded healthcare professionals. We challenge you to consider what it means to be a compassionate doctor and leader in the community.
In this effort, we have implemented the Health Professional Personal Development Pathway during specific courses within the first two years of professional study. Examples of lectures within the personal development pathway include topics on leadership, responsibility, effective communication, trust & relationship building, embracing diversity, ethics, service, social justice, human dignity and a patient-centered approach to healthcare.
In addition to organized lectures, UIWRSO in partnership with HOYA, has opened the Interfaith Room. This space, designed by three of our inaugural class interns, provides our students with a quiet place to pray, meditate and reflect. The Interfaith Room is a shining example of our continued commitment to our students’ personal & spiritual growth.
Community Service and the idea of giving back for the greater good, is a long held value & tradition at the University. UIWRSO incorporates this value into the curriculum through community outreach programs. During the 2nd Year of professional study, our students have the opportunity to provide vision & disease screenings to underserved populations. In addition to our service curricular requirements, our student organizations routinely offer members both vision related and general community service opportunities. Examples include SVOSH coordinating volunteers for Special Olympics – Opening Eyes programs at competitions in Texas and NOSA coordinating an Elf Louise Christmas Toy Drive.
Student Success: UIWRSO is committed to the success of each student enrolled in the professional program. We work hard to create a cohesive & supportive atmosphere, providing our students access to academic as well as non-academic support services. Support services offered include:
- Academic Support Services
- Career Resources
- Counseling Services
- Library Services
- Access to Healthcare
- Student Organizations
Our rigorous Curriculum, dynamic Faculty and strong student support combine to create a positive yet challenging academic environment. As such, our projected graduation rate for the inaugural Class of 2013 is 94%. The overall retention rate for our interns who are enrolled in the professional optometry program is currently 96%.
Rigorous Curriculum: The curriculum has been developed to provide our students with a stepwise, clinical educational experience throughout the four years of the professional program emphasizing personal & professional development. The didactic & clinical laboratory instruction by our talented & skilled Faculty begins in the first year and continues through the duration of the program. All courses, including basic science courses, integrate and emphasize clinical applications & scenarios.
Early clinical encounters occur in the second year of study through community based vision & disease screening activities. To emphasize these clinical activities, students undergo instruction in integrated clinical problem- based learning, gaining experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients.
The professional settings for your third and fourth year rotations include the UIW Eye Institute, the UIW Bowden Eye Care & Health Center, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind clinic and various Communicare Clinics. Your fourth year Externship sites vary in location across the country and internationally. Practice management is also focused on during this critical period, emphasizing the skills necessary to maintain a successful business or private practice.
Location: Nestled deep in the heart of Texas, an hour south of Austin and three hours’ drive from the Gulf Coast, San Antonio continues to be a destination for work, culture and recreation.
As the 7th largest city in the United States and growing, San Antonio’s cost of living continues to rank among the lowest of US cities, mainly among large metropolitan areas. The Brookings Institution named San Antonio one of the strongest performing economies among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the nation and #1 overall performance based on employment and unemployment levels.
Bloomberg Business Week voted San Antonio among America’s 50 Best Cities in 2012. Forbes.com also selected the River City as among America’s ‘Coolest’ Cities in 2012. According to BioMed SA, the Healthcare and Biosciences industries has shown steady growth over the past two decades. More than one of every six employees works in the Healthcare and Bioscience industry.
Our Facilities: The school is housed near the Medical Center area of San Antonio. The school consists of multimedia classrooms, technologically-advanced clinical laboratories, an optometry library, computer lab, study areas, a student lounge, faculty and administrative offices. In addition to numerous community clinics, the School offers two state of the art clinical facilities including the UIW Eye Institute, on-site of the main facility, and a second clinic located on the eastside of the city. The UIW Bowden Eye Care & Health Center will be a multidisciplinary teaching environment equipped to provide comprehensive health care to underserved populations.
Scholarships: There are a number of options available to assist UIWRSO students with financing their professional education. Upon admission and throughout the four years of professional study, students are eligible for merit-based scholarships primarily centered on academic & clinical achievements. We also offer character based scholarships in the areas of leadership, service & mission. Our Faculty Scholarship & Awards Committee routinely communicates announcements for numerous outside scholarships as well.