March 15, 2015


 Major changes the COE has made in the past few years

Posted Feb. 25, 2015 

How members are selected 

The process for appointing AVMA Council on Education members changed in July 2013, with the AVMA and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges now sharing this responsibility. Under the new method, the AVMA and AAVMC developed separate selection committees that choose eight and seven COE members, respectively. The COE itself continues to elect the three public members of the council, the Canadian VMA continues to appoint the Canadian representative, and the AAVMC continues to appoint a veterinarian (formerly “liaison”). Formerly, the AVMA House of Delegates elected 15 of the council’s 20 members. 

The AVMA and AAVMC also now share the costs of participation and staff support for the council. The change came after commenters voiced support for the creation of a joint accrediting body similar to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools, which is run by the Association of American Medical Colleges and American Medical Association. 

Who goes on site visits

Council members no longer go on site visits to veterinary colleges as team members. Since October 2014, they have attended only as observers. Instead, 35 independent volunteers are given extensive training and go on site visits. The council member observers are there to train new site team members and to ensure the evaluations are done in a fair and unbiased manner. Each site team is put together to achieve a balance of backgrounds and gender. Site visits last about three-and-a-half days and involve visiting campus buildings and rotation sites as well as core sites for veterinary colleges with distributive models; interviewing students, faculty, and staff; and filling out a rubric that was put in place to provide greater consistency in the evaluation.

Afterward, the site visit team compiles a report and submits it to the council. At their meeting, COE members discuss the report and the veterinary college’s self-study and then vote on its accreditation.  

Greater separation from AVMA

The AVMA Board of Directors officially stopped approving changes to the COE Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual—excluding the Standards of Accreditation—in 2007. The Board voted to stop approving changes to the standards in July 2011 because of changes the Council for Higher Education Accreditation Recognition Committee made in the interpretation of the CHEA recognition guidelines.

How veterinary colleges are assessed

The COE made changes, too, to metrics by which veterinary colleges’ compliance with standards are assessed. For example, the council’s research standard is brief, “But the council felt as though institutions needed to have guidance so they would know the metrics by which compliance would be assessed,” said Dr. Sheila W. Allen, former COE chair and current dean of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. So, the COE put together an extensive rubric and asked for more information in the self-study and site visit evaluation on things such as how students are involved in research projects, she said.

Clearer guidelines

The council has created more-clear guidelines for demonstrating student achievement by changing some of the language regarding the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination results. Now, COE members review NAVLE scores with a statistical confidence interval for schools with lower numbers of examinees, such as international institutions, for better comparison purposes. But those test scores are not the only tools for student assessment. All institutions must provide evidence of student achievement through graduate surveys, employer surveys, and direct observation of the students performing nine clinical competencies.

The COE also started requiring schools to report job placement of their graduates, which hadn’t happened consistently in the past, Dr. Allen said.