June 01, 2015


 Accrediting body reinforces firewall with AVMA

Posted May 13, 2015

The AVMA Council on Education has further distanced itself from the AVMA or, more specifically, the AVMA Board of Directors, in response to feedback from stakeholders.

The Board, which met April 9-11 at AVMA headquarters, approved discontinuing the appointment of a board member as a liaison to the council. The liaison was a nonvoting member of the COE who acted as an observer at council meetings.

The COE created an internal committee at its September 2014 meeting to review its policies on observers, and on the basis of the committee’s suggestion, the council submitted its recommendation to the Board to discontinue the liaison position. The council said it believes that not having a representative from the Board present for its meetings would serve to strengthen the existing firewall between the two entities, according to the recommendation’s background.

In that same vein, the council will now have its own legal counsel instead of relying on the Association’s attorney for advice. The BOD approved funding of about $10,000 this year to cover fees for an outside attorney to provide legal advice to the COE on an as-needed basis. Isham Jones, the AVMA’s general counsel, had previously filled this role. Going forward, the COE will determine who will serve as its legal counsel and will seek assistance and advice as necessary.

Several years ago, another boundary was drawn when the Board, on the council’s recommendation, officially stopped approving changes to the COE Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual. Then in 2011, a change was made ending Board approval of proposed changes to the COE Standards of Accreditation. The Board and House of Delegates are invited to review proposed changes, along with others, but the COE is under no obligation to make changes on the basis of their comments.

In addition, the process for appointing COE members changed in 2013 when the AVMA and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges developed separate selection committees. The AVMA COE Selection Committee selects eight practitioners, and the AAVMC COE Selection Committee selects eight academics to serve on the council. The COE continues to elect the three public members of the council, and the Canadian VMA continues to appoint the Canadian representative. Formerly, the AVMA House of Delegates elected 15 of the council’s 20 members.

Colleges undergoing accreditation now pay half the direct and indirect annual costs of COE accreditation and all site visit expenses. The AAVMC provides a part-time COE staff position and pays travel expenses for the eight academic members it selects to attend COE meetings. The changes came after stakeholders voiced support for 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.  

Related JAVMA content:

Major changes the COE has made in the past few years (March 15, 2015)