Accreditation standards revised for clarity

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Revisions to two of the 11 AVMA Council on Education Standards of Accreditation have clarified sections having to do with college research programs and with the use of outcomes assessments as part of the council’s review process.

Changes to Standard 11 more clearly establish what the council requires for outcomes assessment. Previously, the standard indicated that “measures that address the college mission must be developed and implemented. Outcomes assessment results must be used to improve the college programs.”

Now the standard says that student achievement during the preclinical and clinical curriculums as well as postgraduation period must be included in the outcomes assessment. Plus, the standard dictates that veterinary colleges must provide evidence that graduating students have attained competence in patient diagnosis and welfare, surgery and medicine skills, health promotion, disease prevention/biosecurity, zoonosis, and food safety, among other things.

Essentially, the COE placed the nine clinical competencies, which have been required in the self-study document for years, directly into the standard. The council made the change for clarity, primarily on the basis of experiences during site visits, said Dr. David E. Granstrom, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division.

The other revision, to Standard 10, was a slight word change—from “shall” to “must”—in regard to colleges maintaining substantial research activities.

University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Sheila W. Allen—a former COE chair—was quoted in the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ April newsletter saying the language was changed to reflect that integrating a high-quality research program into the veterinary curriculum is required, not desired. She added that the COE believes that veterinary students should “learn how to critically analyze and interpret research findings.”

Dr. Granstrom said, “The council is currently reviewing the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium report in light of the Standards of Accreditation.  Several council members attended NAVMEC meetings and are aware of the findings.”

COE members approved the two revisions during their spring meeting, March 4-6, at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. These were sent to the AVMA Executive Board to solicit its feedback during its April 19-21 meeting. The board no longer approves the COE’s actions per changes in policy passed during the June 5-7, 2011, Executive Board meeting.

To view the full standards, visit, click on the “Accreditation” link under the “Education” heading, and then select “The accreditation process.”