COE Accreditation Policies and Procedures: Overview

December 2015 


15. Overview of the Council on Education

The AVMA Council on Education is recognized by CHEA as the accrediting body for schools and programs that offer the professional DVM degree, or its equivalent in the US and Canada. The Council may also approve accredit foreign veterinary colleges.

The Council on Education, American Veterinary Medical Association is also recognized by the US Secretary of Education as authorized by US law. The scope of this recognition may differ from the CHEA Recognition Statement. Please consult the USDE website at: for additional information.

The COE meets the needs of society by promoting active programs in veterinary medical education. In fulfilling this function, the Council encourages and assists colleges of veterinary medicine in meeting the requirements for full accreditation. Further, the COE provides consultation to proposed and developing colleges of veterinary medicine.

The Council on Education prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, creed, race, or national origin. The AVMA prohibits discrimination in the election of members and public representatives to the COE. The COE is composed of voluntary members elected by the AVMA COE Selection Committee (8), the AAVMC COE  Selection Committee (8), and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (1) specifically representing the diversity of disciplines in the profession. The membership consists of at least five veterinary medical college faculty members; at least six private practitioners; one at-large member; one veterinary researcher; one public health veterinarian; and one non-private practice, non-academic veterinarian. Additionally, the COE appoints three public members. One Canadian veterinarian is appointed and funded by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. One voting member is appointed as an official representative of the AAVMC. The official AAVMC representative and other COE members selected by the AAVMC COE Selection Committee are funded by the AAVMC. Many of the Council members, including public representatives, have advanced degrees. All members are appointed for a term of six years except the official AAVMC and CVMA representatives who serve three year terms, renewable once. The terms of new members begin at the close of the AVMA Annual Convention.

15.1. Public Member Selection

The criteria used in the selection of public members specify that they shall not be:


  • An employee, member of the governing board, owner, or shareholder of, or consultant to, an institution or program that either is accredited or preaccredited by the COE or has applied for accreditation or preaccreditation;
  • A member of any trade association or membership organization related to, affiliated with, or associated with the COE; or,
  • A spouse, parent, child, or sibling of any of the individuals listed above.

Public members are appointed by the Council when a vacancy exists, for a six-year term that begins at the close of the AVMA Annual Convention.

15.2. Meetings

The full Council meets biannually at AVMA headquarters to conduct business. Prior to the COE meeting, various subcommittees may meet to conduct business and prepare recommendations and reports for the Council.

Issues brought to subcommittees are discussed and, in most cases, appear as agenda items for consideration by the full COE. Items not on the agenda are considered under the item "New Business." Where appropriate, business is conducted according to the conventions of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, through presentation of a motion followed by a vote. During interim periods, the COE Executive Committee may conduct Council business via conference call or electronic means.

15.3. Officers

The officers of the Council on Education are as follows:
Chair of the Council
Vice Chair of the Council
Chair of the Committee on Evaluation
Chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs

The Chair of the Council on Education is the Chief Administrator of the Council and presiding officer responsible for the conduct of all official meetings. As presiding officer, the Chair:

  1. Must be familiar with the bylaws and standing rules of the Council as well as the job descriptions for officers and committees.
  2. Ensures that action taken by the Council is based on a majority vote.
  3. Conducts meetings according to the most recent version of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
  4. In consultation with AVMA staff, establishes the agenda for the Council, and with the Executive Committee and staff, plans the order and conduct of the meetings.
  5. With AVMA staff assistance, originates or edits all official Council correspondence and communication reflecting policies and procedures of the Council to the colleges of veterinary medicine and other individuals and organizations interacting with the COE. Such correspondence communicating official Council action or policy will be on AVMA letterhead, over the signature of the Chair.

The Vice Chair of the Council on Education shall be a member of the Executive Committee and shall assume all duties and responsibilities of the Chair in the latter's absence.

The Executive Committee is composed of the COE Chair, Vice Chair, the Chair of the Committee on Evaluation, and the Chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs. The Committee is responsible for providing counsel and assistance to the Chair in making executive decisions and acting for the Council between meetings.

Various ad hoc committees are appointed and disbursed by the Chair of the COE as needed. All committee action is conducted according to established Council policy and procedure. Each committee reports on its activities at regular meetings of the Council. Terms of service begin and end at the close of the AVMA Annual Convention.

15.4. Travel Expenses

The Council is authorized to appoint one member to accompany the staff consultant to one conference on accreditation each year, at a cost not to exceed $500 each year.

15.5. Reports Made to the Council

From time to time, the Council is provided with liaison, progress, information, and other reports from colleges or other groups. Such reports may be: 1) received, 2) accepted, or 3) rejected.


  • Received – The Council studies the report but does not agree or disagree with the content. The Council may or may not choose to respond to the submitter of the report and may choose to forward the report to another entity.
  • Accepted – The Council studies the report, approves the report as to form and accepts the report as written. The Council notifies the submitter of the report stating its action.
  • Rejected – the Council studies the report, disagrees with the report, in part or in full, and rejects the report. The Council notifies the submitter of the report stating its findings and its action.

15.6. Committees and Liaison

15.6.1. Standing Committees

The COE has four standing committees: Evaluation Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Nominating Committee, and Executive Committee. The following procedure is used in forming committees.

The Chair of the COE, in consultation with the Executive Committee, appoints all committees and liaisons. To ensure balance, the Chair considers the professional activity of each COE member in making appointments. The public members serve on committees as assigned. Chairs and members serve one-year terms with opportunity for reappointment.

The Chair of the Evaluation Committee is elected by COE membership. The Committee is responsible for recommending site visitors for assignment to site visit teams and monitoring site visit protocol.

The Chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs is elected by COE membership. The Committee is responsible for ongoing review of and recommendations for improvement to the standard requirements and Council policy and procedure.

The Nominating Committee consists of three members appointed from COE membership by the COE Chair. The Chair of the Nominating Committee will also be appointed by the COE Chair. The Committee is responsible for presenting a slate of nominees at each spring Council meeting for the offices of Chair, Vice Chair, Academic Affairs Committee Chair, and Evaluation Committee Chair, and forwards these to the COE members two weeks prior to the spring meeting.

At an appropriate time during the first day of the spring meeting, the Chair will call for nominations from the floor. The Nominating Committee will receive all nominations and will ask those nominated if they are willing to serve, and will provide a revised list of nominees to the COE members. Voting will be by written ballot.

15.6.2. Associated Committees, Commissions, and Boards

Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities – One member appointed by the Chair of the Council to serve as a voting member for a one-year term.

Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) - One member of the Council will serve as a voting member for a six-year term, or until the end of the member's ter on the Council. The Council submits a nomination to the AVMA Board of Directors for this purpose.

American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) – One member appointed by the Chair of the Council each year to serve as a non-voting member for a one-year term.

National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners – One member is appointed by the Chair of the Council annually.

Committee on International Veterinary Affairs - One member of the Council will serve as a voting member for a six-year term, or until the end of the member's term on the Council. The Council submits a nomination for this position to the AVMA Board of Directors for Board approval.

Liaison representatives report on the activities of the groups to which they are assigned at each regular Council meeting. Terms of appointment begin and end at the close of the AVMA Annual Convention.

15.7. Conduct of COE Meetings

 No member of the COE who has an identified conflict of interest shall participate in any way in accrediting decisions. The individual shall leave the room when the report in question is being discussed. In cases where the existence of a conflict of interest is less obvious, it is the responsibility of any Council member who feels a potential conflict of interest exists, to absent himself/herself from the room. The conflict of interest policy shall be limited to decisions regarding accreditation and shall not infer conflict with other decision-making responsibilities.