COE asks for input on veterinary accreditation standards

Public comment period ends Dec. 31

Published: December 14, 2022
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The University of Melbourne in Australia will stop operating its veterinary teaching hospital, effective Dec. 24. An AVMA COE site team is scheduled to review the veterinary program this summer to ensure that it continues to meet U.S. accreditation standards.

It's time again to share your thoughts on veterinary school accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

Like the winter Olympics or U.S. presidential elections, a full audit of the COE's 11 accreditation standards happens every four years. The goal is to determine whether the standards are consistent, easy to interpret and contribute to preparing graduates for the workforce, according to an AVMA news release. The COE is the U.S. and Canada's veterinary program accreditor.

The COE solicits input two ways:

  • A multiple-choice public survey is open until Dec. 31. 
  • A longer survey that asks for in-depth feedback on the standards is being emailed to a representative sample of veterinarians and veterinary students.

The COE Academic Affairs Committee is charged with reviewing the feedback and making recommendations to the full body. Revisions to standards will be publicized.

Site visits in 2023

The COE also has released a calendar that shows when and where site teams will travel next year to review currently accredited programs and evaluate new candidates for the distinction. Eleven programs are on the 2023 agenda for one of four types of COE site visits: consultative, comprehensive, focused and verification.

Two newcomers in the COE pipeline are at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and Utah State University, north of Salt Lake City. Both schools are slated for consultative visits, an initial step in the accreditation process, and are poised to open within two years.

While veterinary medicine is new for Rowan, a public university, Utah State already has a program through which aspiring veterinarians study at the school for two years, then finish their degree at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which is fully accredited.

In addition to Rowan and Utah State, there are ongoing efforts in West Virginia and Arkansas to start veterinary programs. Should all four be approved by the COE, the number of veterinary schools would go from 33 to 37 within the next few years. 

Comprehensive site visits — formal reviews by the COE to assess a program's suitability for new or continued U.S. accreditation — are planned for six foreign and domestic programs that are already accredited: 

  • University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science in England
  • VetAgro Sup Lyon Campus Vétérinaire de Lyon in France
  • University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Utrecht University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Netherlands
  • Murdoch University Veterinary School in Australia
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

A focused site visit is slated this spring to review the University of Minnesota's education partnership with South Dakota State University, and verification site visits are scheduled at the University of Melbourne in Australia and Massey University in New Zealand. In focused site visits, the COE evaluates a program's compliance with a particular accreditation standard. Verification site visits serve as a follow-up to site visits that were conducted virtually.

The University of Melbourne, one of Australia's largest universities, announced today that it will stop operating its veterinary teaching hospital and has agreed to lease the facility to Greencross, a corporate consolidator that owns more than 160 veterinary practices. Greencross will operate a general practice clinic, along with a 24‐hour emergency and referral hospital, and employ "a number" of university staff to provide clinical teaching and placement opportunities for DVM students, the university said. In addition to shedding the teaching hospital, the university plans to incorporate its schools of veterinary medicine and agriculture into the science faculty.

The COE put the Melbourne program's accreditation on probation in 2021 due to a variety of deficiencies. It has not publicly addressed how the prospective changes might impact its status. 

The COE welcomes written comment on the planned visits or programs to be evaluated, as long as it is signed by the submitter. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360.

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