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Terri Call, OD, has been awarded the UAB 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is based solely on outstanding accomplishments in teaching as demonstrated, in part, by her thorough knowledge of the subject area and exemplary classroom instruction. 

Call earned her doctor of optometry degree from the UAB School of Optometry in 2015. She joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2016 following the completion of a residency in Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Call says she wasn’t interested in teaching while in school. 

“I enjoyed helping younger students with things like CEVS, but I fully expected to leave school and join a private practice somewhere—anywhere—outside of Alabama,” she says. “Even as I was finishing my residency, I was still interviewing at private practices across the Southeast.”

When a teaching position opened at the School of Optometry, Caroline Pate, OD, FAAO and UABSO director of residency programs, suggested that Call apply for the position. She expected to stay in the position for one year.

“I totally fell in love with it and now can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said.

At the school, Call was named the Primary Care Clinic director. She is the Clinical Evaluation of Visual Skills (CEVS) instructor and coursemaster as well. 

“More than anything, I want my students to take away from my courses the practical aspects, the meaningful things that they will use every single day in caring for their patients, Call says. “I don’t just mean the ability to do a refraction; I mean things like patient education and communication, the way you write a letter, the way that if you make the patient’s care the primary focus of every encounter, everything else falls into place around it. It’s that complicated and that simple.”