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April 01, 2011


 2 schools receive AVMA COE approval


Ross, UNAM fully accredited for seven years

 posted March 18, 2011 
Ross University
Although Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is a foreign school, about 98 percent
of its students come from North America.


Two landmark decisions came out of the AVMA Council on Education meeting March 6-8 at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill.

The council granted full accreditation status for seven years to the National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Veterinary Medicine, Mexico City, and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies.

The two schools are the first to be recognized in their respective countries by the council. Their graduates will now be able to sit for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in the United States or Canada without first completing a foreign graduate examination.

The COE grants accreditation status to foreign schools and colleges of veterinary medicine on the basis of compliance with the 11 standards of accreditation. The accreditation of Ross and UNAM brings the total to 16 foreign veterinary schools and colleges that are accredited by the COE, including five in Canada. The 28 U.S. veterinary schools and colleges are also COE-accredited.

Foreign colleges are required to undergo a preliminary or consultative site visit to determine their preparedness for a comprehensive site visit and are required to correct all deficiencies identified by the consultative site team before requesting a comprehensive site visit. That visit is the final step before the council makes an accreditation decision.


"Achieving AVMA accreditation further affirms our commitment to excellence in veterinary education. We are pleased with the decision of the accrediting board and look forward to working with other AVMA-accredited schools and our affiliate clinical partners in the United States to advance the future of veterinary education."  

— Dr. David J. DeYoung, Dean,
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine


Ross veterinary school began seeking accreditation when it submitted a self-study report to the COE in July 2006, and the council conducted a consultative site visit Sept. 17-21, 2006.

The school had to make a number of facilities and programmatic improvements, which it did in the following few years. Ross submitted another self-study to the council in July 2010, and this time the COE, after reviewing the self-study in September of that year, agreed to conduct a comprehensive accreditation site visit, which took place Jan. 16-20, 2011.

Students at Ross complete their basic science curriculum during seven 15-week semesters at the St. Kitts campus. Each student then completes a final year of clinical rotations at one of 22 COE-accredited veterinary schools in the United States.

A new class is admitted each semester, three times a year: September, January, and May. The most recent class, admitted in January, had 138 students.

Nearly all students at Ross University are American or Canadian citizens who return to North America to become licensed and pursue careers. Since its founding in 1982, the school has graduated more than 2,500 veterinarians.

"Achieving AVMA accreditation further affirms our commitment to excellence in veterinary education," said Dr. David J. DeYoung, dean of the Ross veterinary school. "We are pleased with the decision of the accrediting board and look forward to working with other AVMA-accredited schools and our affiliate clinical partners in the United States to advance the future of veterinary education."

(Look for more information about Ross' veterinary school in JAVMA News in May.)

UNAM began pursuing COE accreditation in earnest around the same time as Ross.

In spring 2006, the COE made a consultative site visit to Mexico City, and afterward, laid out recommendations for improvements that UNAM, like Ross, would need to implement to work toward accreditation. Enough progress had been made, according to the COE, that it was willing to grant a request from the school for a comprehensive site visit, which was made in November 2009.

At its spring meeting Feb. 28-March 2, 2010, the council made an adverse accreditation decision regarding UNAM, which the veterinary school appealed.

Meanwhile, federal regulatory changes by the Department of Education, which went into effect July 1, caused the council to revise its Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual in eight areas. This included changes to the portion of the manual related to the structure of the appeals process.

Before, when the COE made an adverse accreditation decision, it would send information to the institution about identified deficiencies at the same time it notified the institution of the decision.

Now, the council provides the institution an opportunity to submit a written response regarding any deficiencies identified by the site team. This response is considered by the council before it takes any action.

In accordance with the changes made to comply with DOE guidelines, the council was required to vacate its earlier decision so that UNAM could respond in writing about each deficiency noted in the evaluation report prior to an accreditation decision. The council during its fall meeting Sept. 19-21, 2010, considered UNAM's response and decided to visit Mexico again the first week of February 2011. Using the resulting information, the council voted to grant the school full accreditation.