Members are identified and assigned to each team by the chair of the Evaluation Committee. These individuals participate as volunteers and are not eligible for honorariums, but may be reimbursed, when necessary, for transportation, food, lodging, and incidental expenses. Public members are included on site visits, but because of their limited number, do not participate in every visit. However, public members shall fulfill all the duties of a team member and have the right to vote.
The Council on Education requests appropriate state veterinary medical associations to designate a representative to serve as a member of a school or college evaluation team when a school or college located within that state is being evaluated by the Council. The AVMA reimburses the representative for actual travel expenses in accord with current travel policies.
COE members will be cognizant of any possible conflict of interest, either real or perceived, when being considered as a possible member of a site visit team. Members of the Council, public members, or AVMA staff are not eligible to participate in the site visit if a conflict of interest is identified.
A past COE member will be eligible for such an appointment for a period of three years following completion of the member's term on the Council and must sign a Conflict of Interest Statement.
The chair of the site visit team appoints a vice-chair, and has the authority to dismiss any member of the team who has a conflict of interest or who becomes disruptive or unmanageable during any phase of the evaluation. Should a conflict of interest or disruption occur with the chair, the vice-chair can assume leadership of the site team with unanimous consent of the remaining members of the team. If the conflict is identified during the site visit and is not covered by the P&P manual, neutral members of the team, plus an equal number of members from the college appointed by the dean, will resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved by the team, the person is dismissed by the chair.
Two members of the site visit team represent the preclinical science areas, and two represent the clinical science areas to ensure balance of expertise. The chair of each site visit team is a member of the Council. In addition to COE members, each site visit team includes two non-council members, one designated by the state veterinary medical association of the state in which the college is located, and a representative of the CVMA appointed and supported by that organization. No member is assigned to a site visit team until they have completed training and orientation.
An AVMA staff member will accompany each site team and assist in coordinating activities. Staff will consider how each of the standard requirements is being met by the college and note any points not covered in the self-evaluation report. If major deficiencies are found in the material presented, staff is requested to ask the college for supplemental material.
During the site visit the team audits the college educational program by consulting with the dean and appropriate staff, department heads, representative faculty members, the librarian, representative students at both professional and graduate levels including interns and residents, and appropriate faculty committees. In addition, the team tours the buildings, facilities, equipment, and views case records. The site visit team holds a series of executive sessions to compare notes on its findings, begin formulation of its report, and instruct the chair as to the points to be addressed and recommendations made in the draft report of evaluation. Each member drafts recommendations concerning deficiencies in meeting the standard requirements for which he/she has been assigned responsibility. All recommendations are based on discussion noted in the body of the report. Recommendations are stated as specifically as possible to identify the deficiency involved and suggest possible solutions, without dictating the specific method for achieving the necessary outcome. The entire team discusses and approves all recommendation which become part of the report. If there is disagreement within a team concerning a recommendation, the recommendation remains in the report; the disagreement is called to the attention of the Council when the report is presented.
The final report of evaluation will inform the college of the Council's assessment of student achievement.
Site team members must:
Site team members must not:
Remember at all times, the site team is a guest of the college and is there to assist the college in meeting its mission and goals.
Each evening during the site visit the team meets and reviews the day's activities. The draft report of evaluation is updated and revised in light of new information gained during the day. All members of the team attend the evening meetings. On the last evening of the visit, development of the draft report is completed and recommendations agreed upon. Each recommendation must be based on a "finding" noted at the end of one of the sections of the report. Each finding must be based on information contained in the "background' part of the section involved.
At the conclusion of the site visit the team holds exit interviews with the dean of the college, and with the chief executive officer of the institution to review its findings. The exit interview with the dean and college administrators of the dean's choosing, completes the site visitation of the college and precedes the exit interview with university administration. The exit interview is a critical part of the site visit; therefore, all site team members will attend. The exit interview with university administration normally involves the president of the institution and such other administrative officers as the president may choose. In the absence of the president, the team meets with his duly authorized representative. The dean is usually not present at the interview with the chief executive officer. The chair of the team is responsible for developing remarks for the exit interview. The team assists in preparing the outline for these remarks, and each member comments on items concerning the sections of the report drafted by the respective member.
There is no place in accreditation for adversarial relationships. The college and the Council should proceed with the premise that both parties are dedicated to the common goal of quality in veterinary education. Only through full and open communication and cooperative efforts to correct deficiencies can educational excellence be attained.
Interactions between the Council and the colleges should have a collegial tone, and be based on mutual trust and a desire to arrive at a full understanding of the current status of the educational program of the college. The dean and other administrative officers should be knowledgeable in the definitions of the various levels of accreditation status and the impact of the failure to meet one or more of the standards.
Regarding travel, the host institution is responsible for all expenses. However, the COE has established limitations to enable each site team member to understand the process and avoid misunderstandings. The following guidelines should be followed.
TravelAir transportation is in business class. Should you choose to use first-class, the additional charges will be the responsibility of the site team member and will not be paid by the host institution. The host institution is responsible for ground transportation to move the site team during the visit.
LodgingThe host institution is responsible for arranging lodging for the site visit. There may be those who want to combine the site visit with personal vacation or business, which is permissible. However, lodging charged to the host institution will be limited to the following:
Meals and MiscellanyThe host institution is responsible for all meals and other related incidentals for the team during the site visit, with the same time limitations as lodging.
Telephone CallsTelephone calls made by site team members for family or business reasons are not paid by the host institution. Calls, if made, are billed directly to the site team member. Use careful judgment related to any other charges.
GiftsIn many countries where special guests are being hosted, it is customary to provide or be provided with gifts. It is AVMA policy that official gifts will not be presented to the host institution. If a host institution wishes to provide a small gift to each participant, acceptance is allowed. However, gifts offered to individuals (and not to all members of the site team) must be refused. It is the desire of the AVMA that no gifts be presented; however, it is not the intent to disregard customs of a given society. It is permissible for site team members (as individuals or as a group) to provide a gratuity for some special services (chauffeur, hotel employees, etc.), but this voluntary gesture should not be charged to the host institution.
The chair of the site visit team will provide AVMA staff with an edited draft copy of the report within ten days following the visit for duplication and distribution to the team members. Each member will review the draft, suggest changes, and make corrections. Such suggested changes and corrections will be sent to the chair of the site visit team within ten days of receipt of the draft by each member of the team. The chair of the team will prepare a final draft of the report and forward it to staff within 30 days of the conclusion of the visit. Copies of the final draft are sent by AVMA staff to the dean of the college for correction of factual errors. The final draft, together with any comments by the dean or the university president, is presented to the Council by the chair of the site visit team at the next semi-annual Council meeting.
Recommendations are a part of the report of evaluation. Recommendations may be suggestions for program improvement or citations for standards violations. Standards violations that result in lowered accreditation status are clearly noted by the follow statement: *COE evaluation of the self-study, the site visit report, and all other documentation, confirms that the program does not comply (meet) with the standard. Another notation is used to identify substantial compliance with a standard and is designated by the following statement: **COE evaluation of the self-study, the site visit report, and all other documentation, confirms that the program is in substantial compliance, but not full compliance with the standard.
Within 90 days of mailing the final Report of Evaluation, the COE will request that the dean of the school/college provide written comments on outcome(s) of the accreditation process. Specifically he/she will provide comments regarding the impact of the recommendations on 1) the education and educational process of the DVM/VMD students, 2) student outcomes, 3) program finances, 4) the university, 5) the state legislative process (where appropriate), and 6) other (to be defined by the dean). This report will be used by the Council to determine if the recommendations are clearly understood; and to determine the impact of the recommendations on the school/college/university/state.