COE update: NAVC listening session

The Council on Education (COE) held a listening session on Sunday during the North American Veterinary Medical Conference. They hope that this is the first of several listening sessions; as arrangements are made for more listening sessions, we’ll post updates on this blog and other AVMA communication channels.

This session was a listening session only, not a Q&A or discussion, to allow veterinarians to vocalize their concerns and questions about COE and the accreditation process. There were four COE members in attendance: Dr. John Pascoe, Dr. Pat Farrell, Dr. Nicole Roberts and Dr. Ronald Gill. Mr. Daniel Stone provided professional facilitation of the session.

The session was recorded, and the audio file and transcript will be made available. In all, thirteen veterinarians expressed their concerns. Below is a summary of those concerns:

  • Concerns about conflicts of interest arising from the COE being a standing council of the AVMA. Those who spoke expressed concerns that the relationship between COE and AVMA creates conflicting dual roles for the AVMA (as an accreditor and as an association representing the profession) that impair the AVMA’s ability to represent and advocate for the profession.
  • Concerns that the “firewall” between the AVMA and the COE is insufficient and that AVMA influences COE decisions.
  • Specific concerns that the distributive model of veterinary education is not sufficient for educating quality veterinarians.
  • Concerns about perceived inconsistent application of standards, particularly regarding distributive-model schools and foreign schools and that this is not “looking out for the best interest of members” and reduces the overall quality of veterinary graduates.
  • Concerns that foreign veterinary schools have different admission processes (including taking students after completion of high school), speak different languages, and teach different laws and regulations (due to international differences) that are not comparable to U.S. schools; yet accreditation provides them with a “de facto” veterinary license in the U.S.
  • The accreditation of for-profit schools that profit from the access of students to federal loan programs, producing students with high student debt loads.
  • Concerns about perceived differences in how the outcomes of the NACIQI meeting and USDE report were reported by AVMA vs. other sources.
  • The possibility that COE procedures are not in line with U.S. Department of Education laws and regulations.
  • Concerns about an oversupply of veterinarians.
  • Concerns that the quality of education and the preparedness of new graduates for practice has deteriorated over the past 10 years, and that new grads must do internships, and possibly residencies, to make them competent enough for general veterinary practice.
  • Application of the standards, particularly regarding research facilities, leads to redundancy where all veterinary schools duplicate each other regarding capital investment to meet the standards. A status on the potential development of Centers of Excellence was requested.

Where does it go from here? The four members of the COE will take the information, including the recording and the transcript, back to the full, twenty-member COE for their consideration. They will also gather more information via additional listening sessions and other channels (including email comments sent to the COE via

If you’d like to learn more about the COE’s policies and processes, please refer to the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA COE on the AVMA website.

2 thoughts on “COE update: NAVC listening session

  1. I’m trying to stay a bit more up to date on the COE situation and AVMA’s listening campaign and am quite confused why COE is, thus far, seeming to only engage in listening sessions at conferences. Seems to me that a web portal for busy practitioners to voice their concerns would be a more efficient and democratic method for those of us who are not able to attend a session. The power of the internet would be a useful device in this situation.

  2. Consider a model of:
    COE selection to continue as it currently does.
    COE to produce Policies and Procedures, as well as Standards
    HOD to approve Policies and Procedures, Standards, and any updates or changes. This would provide oversight.
    COE to conduct site visits and write up evaluation/compliance reports.
    Reports to be submitted to a third party unrelated to AVMA for determination of accreditation.

    This model would provide some oversight of COE by the HOD. Having an unrelated third party make the judgment call would remove politics from the decision and insulate against the threat of lawsuits.