COE Standard: Proposed and approved changes to education standards

The following message was sent earlier today to AVMA members who have subscribed to receive the COE Standard newsletter. To receive news and important information about the veterinary school accreditation process, overseen by the AVMA Council on Education, subscribe to the COE Standard at AVMA.org/Newsletters.


Advancing veterinary medical educationIn order to determine that the Standards of Accreditation (Standards) continue to be adequate and relevant, the Council on Education (COE) conducts an ongoing review of the Standards. Ongoing review of the Standards is accomplished by a review of the Standards as a whole once every four years, and through a comprehensive review of three to four Standards each year on a cyclical basis. The Academic Affairs committee of the COE is charged with the ongoing review of, and recommendations for improvement of, the Standards to the COE, along with recommendations regarding Council policy and procedure. The COE is responsible for developing, adopting and implementing the Standards for the accreditation of veterinary medical colleges/schools who grant the DVM or equivalent degree. Input from all stakeholders is received and considered by the Council in the revision of existing Standards and the development of new Standards.

Standard revisions proposed

The Academic Affairs committee received the final proposed revisions from the working group on finance at their March 25-28, 2017 meeting which were forwarded to the COE for consideration. The COE approved forwarding proposed revisions to Standard 6 (Students) and Standard 9 (Curriculum) for public comment. The proposed revisions to the Standards and the rationale for the changes can be found here; additions are underlined, and deletions are struck through.

Written comments regarding the proposed changes to Standards 6 and 9 must be postmarked by (or emailed no later than) June 30, 2017. All comments will be forwarded to the AVMA Council on Education for consideration. Mail comments to Millie Maresh, Administrative Assistant, AVMA. 1931 N Meacham Rd, Ste 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360; e-mail mmaresh@avma.org

Standard revisions approved

After consideration of stakeholder input received during a period of public comment, the Council on Education has approved revisions to Standard 1 (Organization), (Standard 6) Students, Standard 7 (Admissions), Standard 8 (Faculty), Standard 9 (Curriculum), and Standard 11 (Outcomes Assessment). The revised Standards can be found here.

Rationale for standard revisions

The Council on Education received a number of comments in response to the proposed standard changes regarding the incorporation of diversity and inclusion into the standards, which were reviewed at the Council’s March 25-28, 2017 meeting.  The majority of comments received were in support of the revisions; however, suggestions regarding revisions in the language were provided. Based on comments received the Council revised the proposed language in the standards to clarify the Council’s intent and be less prescriptive. The Council also listed items to be included in the self-study to assist the Council in assessing compliance with the revised Standards. The Council believes that a college that fosters a climate of diversity and inclusion will have a rich learning and social environment that promotes the development of graduates prepared to deliver a broad array of veterinary services to a diverse population.

The intent of the Council is not to require colleges to meet specific numeric goals; rather, to have appropriate policies, processes, and practices in place that, in keeping with the mission of the college, are designed to promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse academic community and to promote, from qualified applicants, the recruitment and admittance of a diverse student body, consistent with applicable law. In addition, the Council believes that, within the framework of the law that each college must function, diversity may be utilized as part of a holistic admission process.

In addition to language incorporating diversity and inclusion into the Standards:

  • The Council also modified language in (Standard 1) Organization to clarify the expectation of the role of the Chief Executive Officer for a college of veterinary medicine, and that regardless of where the clinical educational experience is provided, the officer(s) responsible for the professional, ethical, and academic affairs of that experience must be veterinarian(s).
  • The Council also modified language in (Standard 7) Admissions to clarify that methods should be in place to assess the admissions process to ensure the process is fair and consistent.
  • The Council revised the competencies defined in Standard 11 (Outcomes Assessment) to define communication skills more broadly and not limit communications skills to client communications.
  • The Council clarified the importance of professional development in learning theory and instructional practices.

Call for COE site visitors

The Council on Education (COE) is now accepting applications for veterinarians interested in serving as Council on Education Site Visitors. A limited number of site visitors will be trained in 2017. Applicants who are engaged in private clinical practice or non-academic practice are encouraged to apply. Site Visitors will conduct veterinary medical college accreditation site visits on behalf of the COE.  The Site Visitors will carefully review the Self-Study from the institution under review, verify the information during a comprehensive site visit of the institution, and submit a report to the COE for its consideration. Site Visitors will make recommendations to the COE, but will not attend COE meetings, discuss findings, or otherwise participate in accreditation decisions.

All site visitors will receive training prior to participating in site visits and must be available for the 2017 training session. Training will be held in Schaumburg, Illinois, on September 22-24, 2017.

The deadline for receipt of applications for Site Visitor candidates is June 15, 2017.  The application form and a more detailed description of the responsibilities of Site Visitors and the application process are available on the AVMA website.

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