Lillian Kalaczinski, an associate professor in Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry, has been named the Michigan Optometric Association’s 2021 Educator of the Year.
“Typically, an awards committee comprised of MOA members accepts nominees and makes the selection for the award,” Kalaczinski said. “However, the Educator of the Year is selected by the third-year MCO students, so this recommendation and result are extra-special in my opinion. My peer, professor Phil Walling, is the MOA’s college liaison who advocates for participation and response from these students.”
Kalaczinski is a 1998 MCO graduate following three years in the Pre-Optometry program at Ferris. She has professional experience in private practice in southeast Michigan. Kalaczinski served as director of Vision Services at a Grand Rapids-area community health center before joining the MCO faculty in 2015. Kalaczinski is also chief of Primary Care Services at the University Eye Center.
“The students who were responsible for my nomination see quite a lot of me during their third year in the program at MCO,” Kalaczinski said. “Over three consecutive semesters, they would have been in my classes relating to Public Health, Ocular Pharmacology, Posterior Segment lab and Third Year Clinic.”
Beyond her classroom and laboratory instruction with MCO students, Kalaczinski said she is an adviser to registered student organizations unique to the college.
“Because we are a small faculty at MCO, it is typical to participate in activities outside of the classroom that contribute to the excellence of our students’ learning and professional experience,” Kalaczinski said. “I support student involvement in several organizations, including the American Public Health Association.”
Kalaczinski would have typically received her Educator of the Year honor at an Awards Luncheon held in conjunction with the MOA Winter Seminar; an event canceled due to COVID-19.
“I expect there will be an event of some kind for the association at a later date,” Kalaczinski said. “I am now among those nominees being considered for the American Optometric Association’s Optometric Educator award, which will be announced in early spring.”