Department of Education mandates changes for AVMA Council on Education


Council has one year to comply to retain status as veterinary school accreditor.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity has outlined changes in 14 areas of evaluation for the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Council on Education. In order to retain federal recognition as the accreditor for the country’s veterinary schools, the council must comply within one year.

David Granstrom, DVM, director of the AVMA Education and Research Division, and Sheila Allen, DVM, chair of the AVMA Council on Education, represented the council at the Dec. 12 hearing with the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The agency determines whether to recognize organizations such as the AVMA Council on Education as qualified to evaluate the education and training provided by higher education programs and provide accreditation or pre-accreditation when appropriate. According to a release by the AVMA, the Department of Education recommended the Council on Education meet criteria such as the following:

• be widely accepted by educators and educational institutions

• provide adequate training for individuals conducting site visits

• report progress in student achievement

• accept and consider comments on individual institutions’ qualifications for accreditation

• promptly notify the public of decisions.

According to the release, one of the Department of Education’s concerns involved the interpretation of regulations prohibiting sitting members of an accrediting body from serving on site visit teams. “AVMA Council on Education members have participated in such site visits since its inception in 1906,” Granstrom says, “and the council will need to develop a process to identify and train new volunteer teams within the year.”

A final decision has not yet been made on whether the Council on Education should continue to act in a regulatory role while it becomes compliant with the committee’s requirements. The Council on Education is presently the only accrediting body for U.S. veterinary colleges and schools.

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