Blog: AVMA accreditation hearing goes according to form
The U.S. Department of Education conducted a full morning of hearings on December 11 to determine whether the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education (COE) should continue to serve as the accrediting body for veterinary colleges in the United States.
Supporters and critics alike voiced their views, and the department’s accreditation commission affirmed the continued role for the COE. Internal adjustments continue to be required of the COE, which will report back to the Department of Education at six- and 12-month intervals.
No new evidence was presented by COE’s critics. In fact, a number of the commission members asked questions about, and commented on, the absence of evidence submitted in support of critics’ challenges to the COE. This has been a persistent point of concern for this blogger (who testified at the December 11 hearing)—namely, that generic charges were aimed at the COE, and repeated over and over, without any evidence that graduates of veterinary colleges with distributive clinical models performed in practice at “substandard” levels.
The commission also appeared to reject the suggestion of critics that the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) is an easy examination and that its passage by graduates should not count as a basis for validating the quality of veterinary training by accredited colleges. There was also recognition by commission members and the Department of Education undersecretary that innovation is a core value for institutions of higher education, and no case was made that veterinary medicine should be an exception.
The COE has made numerous changes through this review process, and more are to follow, including greater efforts to reach out to all veterinary stakeholders. Critics properly claim credit for some of these changes. But one only hopes that the nuclear issue of throwing out the COE and creating a new federal accrediting body is behind us. No credible case was made for why this is necessary or will not cause more harm than it solves. Veterinarians may continue to debate the underlying issues of foreign school accreditation and the merits of distributive clinical training, but the record should reflect that no evidence yet has surfaced to support the cries of COE’s critics.
Still, this blogger doubts we’ve heard the last of these issues.
Mark Cushing, JD, is founding partner of the Animal Policy Group, providing government relations and strategic services for various animal health, veterinary and educational interests. He maintains offices in Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., and is a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences.
The Veterinary Policy Notes blog on dvm360.com helps veterinarians and other animal health professionals keep abreast of the growing number of issues, political challenges and regulatory initiatives affecting the veterinary profession, animal health industry and animal welfare movement. The views and opinions presented are those of the author.