Mutti Receives Ohio State Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching

During a surprise visit to Fry Hall, Dr. Joe Alutto, Interim President of Ohio State, and Archie Griffin, CEO of Ohio State’s Alumni Association, interrupted Vision Science 6520, Optics of the Eye, to present Professor Donald O. Mutti, OD, PhD, with a 2013-14 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Professor Mutti has been teaching Optics of the Eye since 2001 in the College of Optometry’s professional program. He also teaches Optometry 6560, Ophthalmic Optics, and advises graduate students in the Graduate Program in Vision Science.

Optics of the Eye is the course that introduces first year optometry students to the optical principles of the eye and corrective lenses that underlie every pair of spectacles and contact lenses they will ever prescribe and every refraction (the well-known “Which is better, one or two?”) they will ever perform. If one conservatively figures the average optometrist practices for 30 years and sees 10 patients per day, 240 working days each year, given that there are 60 graduating students per optometry class at Ohio State, Dr. Mutti’s teaching ultimately, directly influences 4,320,000 patients for each year that he teaches.

Students cannot praise enough Professor Mutti’s teaching abilities. After Dr. Mutti’s first time teaching Ophthalmic Optics, one student wrote, “You have been one of the best teachers I have ever had. Your genuine desire to teach and the genuine love you have for optometry makes you one of a kind. I know this was the first time you taught this class, so I want to tell you the notes you gave are awesome. When I read through them, I can hear your voice in my head as if you are there talking to me. It’s obvious that you really care about us as students, and we want to do well for you, to show you how much we appreciate the time and effort you put in to make us good optometrists.”

Another student wrote, “Don’t stop doing what you are doing. You have made a lasting impression on me. I hope to make the kind of impact on a new/learning optometrist that you have made on me.” Other students’ comments include: “Dr. Mutti is the greatest professor in the entire college. He truly cares about his students and does everything he can to help them out in every way. I personally wish that he taught every single class.” “[Dr. Mutti] really cares if we understand something and provides great demonstrations. He takes time making sure we are all on the same page mentally and that we really understand concepts and how to apply them.” “Dr. Mutti is the best teacher I have ever had.” “This college needs more Dr. Muttis. Like most other professors, Dr. Mutti does research, but it is clear that his students come first. He knows his material inside and out. He made sure we understood [the material] before he moved on.” “Can we please have [Dr. Mutti] for future courses? I would take any class taught by him. He is so patient!” “I was absolutely honored that he was the one to give me my white coat last week, as I truly respect him.” “Dr. Mutti should get a raise or something named after him because he is awesome!!!” He has been recognized for his teaching by our students repeatedly. The professional students awarded him our College’s highly coveted Herbert G. Mote Award for Teaching in 2009, 2011, and 2013 and the American Optometric Student Association Faculty Member of the Year award in 2013.

Mutti was recruited to Ohio State from his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley, mainly because of his research portfolio on the study of children’s nearsightedness. He joined the faculty here in 1999 with tenure and quickly rose up in the ranks to become the EF Wildermuth Professor in Optometry in 2008.