Summary: Council on Education Listening Session at WVC

Update March 11, 2015: the transcript is now available.

The Council on Education (COE) held a second listening session at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 15th. The first listening session was held at the North American Veterinary Conference in January, and the transcript is posted.

The session began with an overview of the concerns expressed at the NAVC listening session. This was followed by introductions of the COE members in attendance: Dr. Fred Derksen, Dr. Nicole Roberts, and Dr. Ronald Gill. Dr. Derksen presented an approximately 5-minute overview of the accreditation process and the educational standards. The floor was then opened up to attendees.

This session was less structured than the first with regards to the comment period. Overall, the concerns expressed by members echoed the concerns expressed at the NAVC session. Questions were asked regarding the voluntary aspects of accreditation; why the COE issues Letters of Reasonable Assurance; and the use of North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) scores. Concerns were expressed about conflicts of interest arising from the COE’s affiliation with AVMA; the quantity and quality of veterinary medical education and the competence of graduates; the perceived low quality of graduates of foreign veterinary schools, distributive model schools, and for-profit schools; and the consistency of application of the standards, particularly Standard 11 (Outcomes Assessment). Parallels were drawn to the dental accreditation process and a relevant white paper from August 2014. Several attendees expressed their opinions that there is no way to assure the quality of external practices utilized by distributive model programs.

The audio of the listening session was recorded and the transcript will be available and will be posted on the blog. As additional listening sessions are planned, we’ll post them on this blog.

What are the next steps? The notes and transcript from this session, along with those from the NAVC session, will be discussed at the COE’s full meeting in March. Once the COE has determined the course of action, they will notify the profession.

One thought on “Summary: Council on Education Listening Session at WVC

  1. One topic which has not been addressed appropriately is the budget of the COE. The COE should be self-sustaining (predominantly) and free from influence from the sponsoring organizations; the AVMA and AAVMC.
    The budget has not be made public, nor shared with COE members while I was on the council.
    Some quick math, based upon current fee structures for colleges (US, Canadian and foreign) suggests to me, that these fees could not even come close to covering any significant portion of the operations of the COE. Thus, I presume, AVMA members, via dues, are subsidizing the accreditation process. I find it especially unsettling, that in the face of the controversy surrounding the current COE practices, that the AVMA would utilize member funds to subsidize for-profit schools, and Canadian and other foreign colleges as well. That is wrong. The fee structure for accreditation should cover the vast majority of the COE costs. The budget should also be made public, including the revenue stream. Transparency within the COE has been poor and contributes to member angst.