Deakin University announces foundation director of new optometry program

28 January 2011

Deakin University has appointed Professor Harrison Weisinger as its foundation director and chair in optometry.

Professor Weisinger will lead the development of the University’s new optometry program that is expected to enrol its first students in 2012.

Professor Weisinger is a practising optometrist and medical practitioner. He studied at the University of Melbourne and has held academic and research positions at a number of universities. More recently he served as an executive director and ambassador for Specsavers.

The Dean of Deakin’s Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Professor John Catford, welcomed Professor Weisinger’s appointment.

“Harry has the perfect breadth of experience needed to lead the University’s new optometry program,” Professor Catford said.

“His experience as a practising optometrist and medical researcher along with his extensive knowledge of running successful optometry practices puts him in the best position to ensure the success of our new program.

“Harry also brings to the role an enthusiasm and commitment to improving the health of rural and regional Australians that complements the vision of Deakin’s existing health and medical programs.”

Professor Weisinger said he was pleased and honoured to be appointed to this exciting and important role.

“The role comes with the opportunity to directly and positively impact upon the eye care of Australian communities, especially those of rural and regional areas. This, combined with Deakin’s ability to truly innovate is what attracted me to the position. Deakin has demonstrated that it is a “Can Do” University which makes a difference to people’s lives,” he said.

Professor Weisinger said he was looking forward to the challenges of the new position particularly at this time of change in the optometry industry.

“The profession is experiencing a transformation, from changes in the eye-care needs of Australians to reform in the industry’s regulatory system and a shift in the setting that optometry is practised,” he said.

“I am passionate about developing an innovative optometry program that responds to these changes, while concentrating on producing graduates who are skilled, knowledgeable and motivated to work in the community particularly in regional and remote areas.”

About Deakin University’s optometry program

Deakin’s optometry program is being developed in response to the growing and unmet demand for optometrists throughout Australia.

The goal of the program is to contribute to and improve the eye health of Australians by educating new optometrists who are clinically competent, work ready and motivated to pursue a career in rural and regional areas.

The University plans to offer bachelor, graduate entry and masters degrees from 2012, subject to accreditation by the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand.

With industry leaders Luxottica and Specsavers already declaring support for the program, Deakin is optimistic that it will now be able to further develop its clinical placement network with independent, community optometry and ‘small chain’ practices throughout Australia.

The program will be delivered from a new, $47million, state-of-the-art teaching and research facility to be built adjacent to the School of Medicine on Deakin’s Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds.

News facts
  • Professor Harrison Weisinger appointed Deakin's foundation director and chair of optometry
  • His experience as a practising optometrist and medical researcher along with his extensive knowledge of running successful optometry practices puts him in the best position to ensure the success of Deakin's new program
  • New optometry program expected to begin in 2012

Media contact

Mandi O'Garretty
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 2776; 0418 361 890

Harrison Weisinger

Professor Harrison Weisinger, Deakin's
foundation director and chair of optometry

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

28th January 2011