Joseph Bonanno has an eye for optometry.
After 12 years on the IU School of Optometry faculty, Bonanno has now been named the school’s new dean. Bonanno was chosen by IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz and IU Provost Karen Hanson.
His appointment is pending the IU Board of Trustees approval, which is expected to take place in the next week.
“Bonanno is an extremely successful researcher, optometrist, experienced associate dean,” Bantz said.
Bonanno, who previously served as the school’s executive associate dean for academic affairs, said he has had a long history and interest in optometry.
“I was always interested in the health field, and we had a family friend who was an optometrist,” he said.
“He seemed to really like what he was doing, so when I was in grad school in biology I decided I needed a change.”
Bonanno found this change at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry, thousands of miles away from his home in New Jersey, and he ended
up at IU after his graduation.
Bonanno said he gained experience from a variety of areas outside of his education that made him eligible for this position.
He has practiced as an optometrist, worked in optometry clinics, served as a professor and more.
“I understand the full scope of the mission,” Bonanno said. “I was honored that they had the confidence that I could do the job and put the school on the right track and move forward.”
Bonanno said his personal involvement with his research lab will be limited with his increased responsibilities as dean but that a research associate will manage it.
“It’s a lot more responsibility but a lot more help as well,” he said. “There will be more people working with me in different aspects of the program.”
Bonanno said he has several goals for the optometry program, including restoring and
“We’ve had to make some cuts in our academic programs. I’d like to restore some of those positions and increase the number of residency positions, a training position for people who have graduated and are licensed to practice, to enhance our research profile,” Bonanno said.
Bantz said he thinks Bonanno will be beneficial to the optometry program as well.
“I am hopeful that he’ll continue to improve success in all three areas: teaching, research and service,” Bantz said.