Announcement: Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science

July 9, 2024

Dear Campus Community,

We are pleased to announce that, after a successful international search, Sharon A. Bentley has been selected to serve as the new dean of the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. Professor Bentley is currently professor of optometry, deputy dean of the Faculty of Health and director of the Centre for Vision and Eye Research at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She will join the UC Berkeley community on February 3, 2025. 

Professor Bentley brings over 25 years of experience in optometry, public health, and education. As the incoming dean, she will oversee the school's academic programs, research initiatives, and community outreach. Her extensive background in strategic planning and program management, as well as her deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, make her an excellent fit for this position. In addition, her research has focused on the effects of vision impairment on daily living and on the provision of low-vision services.

Professor Bentley’s exceptional leadership skills and dedication to creating a collaborative and inclusive atmosphere influenced the decision to appoint her as dean. She is consistently recognized for her transparent communication, strong problem-solving abilities, consensus building, and professional integrity, all of which have greatly contributed to her past successes. Professor Bentley has a proven track record of national leadership. She established the Leaders in Indigenous Optometry Education Network, involving heads of optometry schools from Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand, professional organizations, regulatory authorities, and Indigenous health groups. Her leadership in integrating Indigenous health into the optometry curriculum at QUT has set a benchmark for culturally safe education practices. Furthermore, Professor Bentley is a Diplomate of the Low Vision Section of the American Academy of Optometry.

Professor Bentley has extensive executive management and corporate governance experience. She has managed multi-million-dollar budgets, expanded metropolitan services to underserved populations, and partnered with state governments to enhance eye care services in rural Aboriginal communities. Her professional affiliations and recognitions speak to her expertise and dedication — she has served for years as a Board Director of Vision Australia, has been named one of the "Women Research Pioneers in Australian Optometry," and received the Australian College of Optometry's Honorary Life Membership.

Professor Bentley has a bachelor’s degree in optometry, a graduate diploma in special education, a master’s degree in optometry and a doctorate of philosophy in optometry & vision sciences, all from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She also has a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University, and is an associate fellow in Indigenous Knowledges with the Higher Education Academy. 

Please join us in welcoming Sharon Bentley to the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science and UC Berkeley. To learn more about Professor Bentley, please visit Berkeley News

We would like to express our deep appreciation to the search committee for all of their efforts in the recruitment process for this crucial role. We are also very grateful to current Dean John Flanagan, who has graciously agreed to continue in his role until February 2, 2025.


Richard K. Lyons

Benjamin E. Hermalin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

This message has been sent to all faculty and staff, and forwarded separately to students in the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science.

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