COE Accreditation Policies and Procedures: Site Visit

May 2017

11. The Site Visit


11.1. Objective of Site Visit

The objective of a site visit is to verify and supplement information presented in the self-study report. Site visits are made only with the concurrence of the administration of the college and its parent institution. When it appears in the best interest of the college, the university concerned, the AVMA, or another accrediting agency, every effort is made to coordinate and cooperate with other accrediting agencies in request for information and conduct of visits.

At least nine months before the end of the period for which a college is accredited, the dean is alerted to the requirements for preliminary reports, and arrangements for a site visit are made. A copy of the current statement of policies and procedures of the COE is sent to the dean.

11.2. Cost

The costs for evaluation of US and Canadian colleges of veterinary medicine are shared by those colleges and the AVMA, except for requests for reasonable assurance status from proposed new colleges, colleges with provisional accreditation status, and when a site visit is made at the request of a college for consulting on program development not directly related to an accreditation decision. In these circumstances the college pays all costs. Beginning July 1, 2015, each accredited US and Canadian college pays 50% of the direct and indirect costs of accreditation annually and all costs associated with accreditation site visits. The annual fee is based on the actual cost of the accreditation process the previous year. The college must be current on its annual payments 60 days prior to the regularly scheduled site visit. Failure to pay the fees in a timely manner may result in withholding accreditation. Site visit team members are reimbursed for their expenses, but no honorariums are paid.

The accreditation procedure available to colleges of veterinary medicine outside the US and Canada requires that all indirect and indirect costs including site visits must be paid by the college (see Section 6.4.5).

11.3. Site Visit Team

Site visit teams are selected to represent educators, practitioners, and others (including public members) in the proportion necessary to evaluate a college and its programs.


  • US – Accreditation site teams are composed of at least five trained site visitors, at least four of whom shall be trained site visitors selected by the COE (one of whom will serve as chair) and one trained site visitor selected by the CVMA. In addition the team will be accompanied by one or two current COE member(s) (non-voting observers), and one AVMA staff member (non-voting).
  • Canada – Accreditation site teams are composed of at least five trained site visitors, at least two of whom shall be trained site visitors (one of whom will serve as chair) selected by the COE and three trained site visitors selected by the CVMA. In addition the team will be accompanied by one or two current COE member(s) (non-voting observers), and one AVMA staff member (non-voting).
  • Foreign – Accreditation site teams are composed of six trained site visitors; three trained site visitors (one of whom shall serve as chair) selected by the COE, one trained site visitor selected by the CVMA, and two members from the country wherein the college is located, with the exception of joint site visits where the make-up of the team shall be decided by the accrediting bodies. In addition the team will be accompanied by one or two current COE member(s) (non-voting observers) and one AVMA staff member (non-voting).
  • Advisory/Consultative site team – These site teams are composed of at least three COE site visitors and one AVMA staff member (non-voting). In addition, the team will be accompanied by one or two current COE member(s) (non-voting observers).

COE site visitors will be veterinarians or former COE public members who have undergone training to conduct site visits. Such training shall include an initial two and one-half day training session at AVMA headquarters and an annual refresher training on-line. Training must be updated annually to continue to serve as a site visitor. Current COE members may not serve as COE Site visitors.

Site visitors will serve six-year, staggered terms. A call for applications and nominations will be distributed broadly. The COE will review the credentials of the applicants and nominees and select site visitors. A pool of no less than 30 will be maintained.

Observers may not vote at the site visit. Current COE members serving as observers may not vote on the accreditation status of the institution visited.

Site visitors 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 may be included on site visits, but because of their limited number, are not included in every visit. However, public members shall fulfill all the duties of a team member and have the right vote.

An effort will be made to balance the areas of expertise on the site visit teams. Each site visit team includes a representative of the CVMA appointed 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.

11.4. The Self-study

No later than six weeks before the site visit, the college must provide the self-study as a hard copy (one only) and in electronic format to the AVMA office. The electronic copy should be sent either by e-mail or made available using on online drop box. Sufficient electronic and hard copies must also be prepared and shipped by the college to each site team member. Failure to file a suitable report by the deadline, and in the format specified, may result in postponement of the site visit. One college catalog must be made available on site.

The following outlines should be used as a guide in the development of the report of self-evaluation:

1. State the major goals and objectives of the college, and comment on how they are being met.
2. Describe methods and/or tools used to measure outcomes of the total program of instruction, research, and service.
3. List the major strengths and weaknesses of the college.
4. Recommendations.


Guidance and the elements necessary for the self-study are provided. Under each of the standards, provide the required information in the most concise manner for your college. Where appropriate, the information/data presented must be analyzed and/or summarized for brevity and clarity. The information provided under each standard is evaluated by the Council in relation to that standard and to the mission of the college in order to determine compliance. Should the college deem that background information would be helpful for the Council to understand a given issue or condition, the information should be included in a summary format in appropriate appendices.

All materials related to student recruitment into the professional veterinary medical program shall be made available to the site visit team during the visit. These materials shall include brochures, pamphlets, posters, displays, videos, publications, and other materials used to advertise the program to prospective students. These materials should be placed in an area that is easily accessible to the site visit team. A summary of the number, geographic area, and potential student interest associated with recruitment visits conducted by the college during the past five years shall be made available.

11.4.1. Format of the Self-study

The body of the self-study should not be more than 50 total pages of text (one sided) and supporting documentation not more than another 50 pages. In preparing the self-study, analyze the data that are appropriate and present the results in an easily understandable form (for example, graphs, charts, etc.) that clearly describes trends. Please do not include educational philosophies or long explanations, but include brief explanations that may assist the site team and Council in understanding how the program is complying with a Standard. When printing the self-study, use a font size that is easily readable (not less than 10 point type). Please have the hard copies of the self-study bound using a plastic or wire spiral binding product (please do not use a loose-leaf notebook format). Addendums should be those required and those the college feels assist in understanding how the college complies with a Standard. Additional materials may be placed in the meeting room for the site team, but the Council does not require these materials and they should be kept to a minimum.

The college report should be primarily in narrative form with appropriate tables and diagrams attached as appendices. Minority opinions at any level should be included under appropriate heading. The appropriate administrative officer should provide an executive summary of the self-study addressing strengths and weaknesses of program elements as covered by the standards.

Objectives Standard 6, Students
Standard 1, Organization Standard 7, Admission
Standard 2, Finances Standard 8, Faculty
Standard 3, Physical Facilities and Equipment Standard 9, Curriculum
Standard 4, Clinical Resources Standard 10, Research Programs
Standard 5, Information Resources Standard 11, Outcomes Assessment