Kentucky College of Optometry’s Mission

We are practitioners of the healing arts defining the standard for excellence in optometric education and vision care. Our graduates apply their unparalleled knowledge of clinical care and vision science in a cultural environment of faith, social justice and human dignity of Appalachia and rural America.

Goals & Objectives

Kentucky College of Optometry’s goals are centered around the principles of teaching and learning; patient care; vision research; and community and public service. We are focused on achieving our goals in a variety of meaningful ways.

Teaching & Learning

Goal: To foster an effective and integrative learning-centered environment that provides opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth for students, staff and faculty; implementing innovative educational programs enabling graduates to possess entry level standards for the full scope of practice of optometry in areas of rural America.


  • Recruit and retain exceptional faculty
  • Nurture tenets of lifelong learning and educational curiosity
  • Integrate advanced technologies into the education process
  • Ensure current and continuously updated lecture and laboratory content
  • Promote faculty mentoring for every student
  • Develop critical thinking by incorporating higher levels of learning such as application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation
  • Promote, facilitate and reward faculty continuing education, learning and professional development to ensure the most current knowledge is presented to the students
  • Incorporate virtual learning technologies into the educational strategies
  • Increase faculty development opportunities for active and collaborative learning, service, education, integration of social justice and other innovative strategies used in teaching
  • Embrace religious and cultural diversity within the profession of optometry and the broader community
  • Provide information technology training for faculty, staff and students
  • Develop pathways to maximize exposure to diverse clinical educational experiences for every student
  • Coordinate a system of accountability and intervention whereby every student has the opportunity to reach his or her educational and professional potential
  • Provide a broad spectrum of patient encounters and practice modalities to the students and faculty
  • Develop advanced surgical ophthalmic and laser operative skills
  • Construct a pathway for personal growth and development as an integral piece of the four-year curriculum and facilitate regular student contact with the tenets of the University of Pikeville mission of access
  • Incorporate current knowledge and ongoing advances in genomics in didactic and clinical instruction
  • Develop an understanding of providing professional services specifically to the underserved
  • Understand the healthcare cultures characteristic of the rural areas of the country

Patient Care

Goal: To provide culturally sensitive, patient-centered, comprehensive and accessible vision care in an integrated clinical curriculum.


  • Optimize the development of clinical skills and critical thinking in all clinical personnel
  • Establish initiatives to develop and enhance good clinical practice in all clinical personnel
  • Emphasize the application of evidence-based clinical standards of care
  • Provide exceptional vision care to rural optometry in Eastern Kentucky and across rural America
  • Create a clinical environment that is sensitive to the cultural and socioeconomic needs of every patient particularly in a rural setting
  • Promote programs that emphasize community-based clinical eye care services
  • Develop and enhance faculty clinical skills in contemporary clinical technologies including applications of genomics in healthcare
  • Create a clinical environment whereby the mission and goals of the educational program is fully integrated into the patient care model
  • Provide a safe, secure and confidential clinical environment
  • Create and nurture the concept of rural optometry
  • Immerse the faculty and optometry students in the delivery of care in rural clinic settings

Vision Research

Goal: To foster research and scholarly activity as a foundation for exceptional clinical care in rural environments with limited or no access to medical or vision care.


  • Implement systems of recognition and support for faculty research and scholarship, including evaluation, promotion, travel grants and sabbaticals
  • Provide direct research support such as time, space, equipment and funding
  • Encourage and facilitate faculty participation in collaborative and externally funded research
  • Develop, support and promote student research and scholarship
  • Promote collaborative and mentoring relationships for research and scholarly activity with other entities of higher learning, including the main University of Pikeville campus and the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Encourage research which discovers the implications of vision care in rural America
  • Encourage research that demonstrates the impact of access to good vision care on the quality of life in rural areas of Appalachia and rural America
  • Pursue research which creates the healthcare delivery models best suited to the rural environment
  • Pursue research projects and collaborations that aim to predict and prevent visual conditions and ocular disease
  • Quantify the advantages of interprofessional collaboration in patient care in rural America

Community and Public Service

Goal: To enable and support faculty, students and staff to nurture, sustain and further the mission of the university in serving the local and broader communities of Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia. 


  • Promote student and faculty leadership in service and mission activities, to include vision and healthcare screenings
  • Incorporate ethics, social justice and service learning into the optometric curriculum
  • Deliver patient care consistent with the faith-based principles of our founding fathers
  • Foster an understanding and appreciation of diversity and cultural sensitivity
  • Plan and implement an infrastructure for disaster relief initiatives
  • Serve as a knowledgeable vision care resource to the broader community
  • Provide a public service to the University of Pikeville community: administration, faculty, students and alumni
  • Emphasize the active participation in service, non-profit, faith-based and professional organizations
  • Appreciate the responsibility of giving back to the community as respected members of society
  • Promote rural practice venues following graduation for the delivery of their optometric skills
  • Document the impact on the vision care of the region due to the Kentucky College of Optometry

The Kentucky College of Optometry is the fourth college under the University of Pikeville banner and reflects the institution’s mission of service and strategic initiatives. The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO  63141—telephone: (314) 991-4100, has granted the Kentucky College of Optometry the pre-accreditation classification of “Preliminary Approval.”  The University of Pikeville is the 22nd school in the country to have a college of optometry. The Kentucky College of Optometry is housed in the Health Professions Education Building, a new $72 million educational facility on UPIKE’s campus. Sixty students will be admitted per class for a total of 240. The university expects to provide for the underserved in Central Appalachia and other rural areas of the country.