Posted on December 31, 2012
Department of Education staff and a DOE committee have recommended continuing the AVMA Council on Education’s recognition as the accreditor for U.S. veterinary schools and colleges and giving the council one year to comply with a series of department standards.
The DOE staff recommendations were delivered Dec. 12, 2012, during a hearing by the department’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity in Washington, D.C. Dr. David E. Granstrom, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, said the DOE advisory committee approved a motion with wording similar to that in the staff report.
The motion came at the end of the morning hearing, during which several speakers testified on behalf of continued COE recognition while others conveyed a variety of concerns. About 150 representatives from accrediting agencies, stakeholders, and others attended. Dr. Sheila W. Allen, chair of the AVMA Council on Education, and Dr. Granstrom represented the council.
The DOE staff report recommended that the Council on Education prove that it meets certain criteria, such as being widely accepted by educators and educational institutions, providing adequate training for individuals conducting site visits, reporting progress in student achievement, accepting and considering comments on individual institutions’ qualifications for accreditation, and promptly notifying the public of decisions. All told, the report suggested that the council would need to make changes in 14 of more than a hundred areas evaluated to come into full compliance with the criteria for recognition.
The staff and committee recommendations will be forwarded to senior DOE officials for a final decision as to whether to continue COE recognition for the coming year while the council becomes fully complaint.
Dr. Granstrom said one of the concerns identified by the Department of Education involved a recent DOE staff interpretation of regulations that prohibit sitting members of an accrediting body from serving on site visit teams. AVMA Council on Education members have participated in such site visits since its inception in 1906, he said, and the council will need to develop a process to identify and train new volunteer teams within the year.
The Department of Education determines whether to recognize agencies such as the AVMA Council on Education as qualified to evaluate the education and training provided by higher education programs and provide accreditation or pre-accreditation when appropriate.
The AVMA Council on Education is the only accrediting body for U.S. veterinary colleges and schools. It has been recognized by the DOE since 1952, and, prior to the December 2012 review, the Council on Education was given five years of recognition starting in 2007. The council also completed the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognition renewal process in 2011 with no deficiencies noted (see JAVMA
, April 1, 2012, page 785
A more detailed report will appear in an upcoming issue of JAVMA News.