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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recognized for lifelong commitment, IU's Meetz receives optometry's highest teaching honor

Dec. 14, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Optometry Associate Professor Dr. Richard E. Meetz, who for 20 years directed the school's mobile eye care program that has served thousands of Indiana children, has received the most prestigious teaching award in the field of optometry.

Richard Meetz

Dr. Michael G. Harris, left, presented optometry's highest award recognizing outstanding teaching to IU School of Optometry's Dr. Richard E. Meetz.

Meetz has been named recipient of the American Academy of Optometry's 2010 Michael G. Harris Family Award for his "ongoing and consistent excellence in the education of optometry students and the advancement of optometric education," according to IU School of Optometry Dean Dr. Joseph Bonanno.

"Although our school is fortunate to include a large number of truly excellent instructors, the combined quality, variety and amount of teaching that Dr. Meetz has performed during his 33-year career at the School of Optometry distinguishes him above all others," Bonanno said. "Regarded by all as the consummate academic optometrist dedicated to advancing and improving the profession, Dr. Meetz has committed his entire professional life to teaching, with the explicit goal being to ensure that students leave our program fully capable to handle the ever-expanding role of a modern optometrist."

Meetz is a clinical associate professor who in 33 years of teaching at IU has received every teaching award offered to IU School of Optometry faculty. That resiliency has been recognized repeatedly, most recently in 2007 and 2009 when Meetz was voted "Faculty of Most Significant Impact" by IU School of Optometry graduating classes.

In addition to classroom teaching, Meetz has played a leading role in the continued education of professional optometrists by lecturing at continuing education seminars and publishing in clinical literature journals. His wide range of clinical expertise has also been drawn upon by other departments and institutions such as the Indiana University Medical Sciences Program, the Optometry School of Bangkok, Thailand, and by national accreditation and certification organizations for optometry in the United States, including over the past eight years as a senior examiner for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Meetz currently teaches the introductory Clinical Methods Laboratory courses to first- and second-year optometry students, in addition to epidemiology and courses on physical assessment and medicine to third-year optometry interns.

"Within academia there are many awards both explicit and implicit for scholarship, but few are available to those faculty members who choose to dedicate their careers to teaching," Bonanno noted. "Dr. Meetz has distinguished himself by the sheer volume of his teaching, as some years his credit hour count has reached 29, by the sustained nature of his commitment to our students over 33 years, and through his retention of the same level of intensity and enthusiasm that he began with in 1976. Perhaps most telling is his commitment to a teaching style that engages students and requires them to adopt professional standards both procedurally and analytically."

For 20 years Meetz served as director of Screening and Evaluative Services, where he managed the School of Optometry's mobile clinics in a statewide program bringing eye care to thousands of children each year who otherwise would not have received any. During those years he testified before the state legislature, advised revisions in the school health laws and wrote the procedure manual for vision testing of children for Indiana public schools.

"In total, Dr. Meetz exemplifies the complete educator," Bonanno said. "The quality of our school's education program relies heavily upon his skills, dedication, and his encyclopedic knowledge of optometry."

To speak with Meetz or Bonanno, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or