December 2014

USDE Hearing to Focus on Council on Education Recertification

Deans representing AAVMC member institutions and others will testify in support of the current structure and operations of the Council on Education (COE) during a hearing scheduled by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) on December 11, 2014.

The hearings have been scheduled as an extension of normal Department of Education recertification processes for accrediting organizations in higher education.

The AAVMC supports the continued recognition of the COE as the official accrediting agency in academic veterinary medicine. The AAVMC believes the COE is broadly accepted throughout the educational community and widely recognized as the most appropriate accrediting agency in academic veterinary medicine. The AAVMC position on the issue is fully aligned with the position of the AVMA.

Organizations that accredit various educational and professional programs in U.S. colleges and universities are required to file a Petition for Continued Recognition with the U. S. Department of Education every five years. During hearings held in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2012, NACIQI identified several opportunities for constructive change.

Subsequent to that hearing, a number of changes were made to assure the COE remains in strategic alignment with the changing needs of the profession and the society it serves.

The AVMA House of Delegates voted to change the constitution and operations of the COE. Instead of election by the House of Delegates, COE members are now appointed. Eight members are appointed by the AVMA and eight members are appointed by the AAVMC. Other procedural changes were also made.

Both the AVMA and the AAVMC have established a nomination and selection process that requires a thorough review of the candidates’ credentials to assure that COE members have the necessary qualifications and experience to serve on the Council.

The new selection process for COE members is now more similar to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which accredits allopathic medical programs.

The Department of Education is expected to make an announcement regarding the continued certification of the Council on Education in early 2015.

Inaugural Participants in Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program Named

The AAVMC has selected the first two professors from member institutions who will serve in the newly created Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program.

Sarah Allison, from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and Suzie J. Kovacs from the Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine will serve as the inaugural fellows.

They were chosen based on their demonstrated and potential leadership in advocacy and government.

The faculty fellows program is designed to bring AAVMC-member institutions’ faculty representatives to Washington D.C. to develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the implications of public policy decisions on the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.  

During the six to eight-week program, fellows will work with the AAVMC’s Advocacy Committee and with Director of Governmental Affairs Kevin Cain to interact with federal agencies and policymakers and attend congressional hearings and coalition meetings. 

Dr. Allison is a veterinarian, clinical assistant professor, and assistant director for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne’s Division of Animal Resources. She is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture and also board certified by the American College of Laboratory Veterinary Medicine (ACLAM). Prior to her current position, she completed a combined postdoctoral fellowship and laboratory animal medicine residency program in the Biologic Resources Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Public Policy Fellows Sarah Allison (left) and Suzie Kovacs

“Serving as an AAVMC Public Policy Faculty Fellow would allow me to combine my passions for biomedical research, organized veterinary medicine, and education,” Allison wrote in her application. “What I hope to gain is the knowledge and experience in the federal legislative process in order to become an advocate for the veterinary profession.”

Ms. Kovacs, who is finishing up her doctorate in higher education, is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Western University of Health Sciences, where she is involved in curriculum development and serves as a leader for a course in veterinary issues that cover public policy and social change.

“Organized veterinary medicine is being challenged to become more politically active than it ever has in the past,” wrote Kovacs, adding that, “Political savvy and proactive involvement by the veterinary profession has never been so critical.”

The selection committee consisted of Athena Abdullah, director, government relations, Physician Assistant Education Association; Gina Luke, assistant director, government relations, AVMA; Lauren Inouye, associate director of government affairs, American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Dr. Joan Hendricks, dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Glen Hoffsis, dean, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“We’re thrilled to kick off this important program and we were very pleased with the quality of the applicants,” said Cain. “I look forward to working with the fellows to bolster the influence of veterinary medicine in the governmental arena and to help develop leaders who will be strong voices for veterinary medicine now and in the future.”

Greenhill Discusses Applicant Pool During AVMA Economic Summit

During the 2014 AVMA Economic Summit held in Chicago in late October, Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity Dr. Lisa Greenhill presented new data on the state of the veterinary school applicant pool. Her presentation, entitled “The Demand for Veterinary Medical Education,” focused on historic trends, current applicant-to-first-year seat ratios and the quality of the applicant pool.

Data extending back to the 1970s show a cyclical pattern of highs and lows in the numbers of applicants applying to veterinary school. The cycle, which extends between 15-20 years, does not appear to coincide with the emergence of new colleges, expanding enrollment of DVM students or with cyclical economic pressures; however, the pattern does provide a basis for predicting a decline in future applicant figures within the next five years. 

The ratio of applicants-to-first-year seats has historically mimicked the applicant cycle, with low cycle points resulting in applicant to seat ratios below 2 to 1. Because U.S. applicants also apply to international schools at varied rates, reported ratios may be artificially inflated. AAVMC did not historically collect the number of seats annually available to American students at international institutions; the inclusion of such data in ratio calculations would likely result in diminished applicant-to-seat ratios.

Concerns about the availability of applicants over time also raises questions about the quality of the pool if colleges must dive deeper to fill first year seats, Greenhill suggested. Current data on veterinary school applicants suggests the pool continues to be competitive. The overall pool average GPA is 3.43, while the average accepted GPA is 3.6. Only 12% of the pool have GPA’s lower than 3.0.

The profile of the successful applicant continues to evolve as GPAs and GRE scores become increasingly competitive and colleges seek out individuals with complementary professional competencies. Although concerns may persist about the applicant-to-seat ratio, the qualitative depth of the applicant pool is greater than anticipated, she concluded.

The presentation slides for The Demand of Veterinary Medical Education are now available on the AAVMC website.

Register Now for Recruiting and Selecting for the Future of Veterinary Medicine

The 2015 AAVMC Annual Conference & Iverson Bell Symposium on "Recruiting and Selecting for the Future of Veterinary Medicine" is shaping up to be an exciting and timely conference. Be sure to register now in order to: 
  • Get the most up-to-date AAVMC data on recruitment, admissions and diversity and projections for the future
  • Get tips for recruiting from under-represented populations
  • Learn about what matters to potential students and what recruitment approaches get results
  • Gain a better understanding of curriculum and leadership and how they relate to diversity, recruitment and admissions.
Plus, as always, network with colleagues, share experiences and insights at the President’s Reception or other events or, as time permits, explore Washington, DC.

Register and learn more

UC Davis Awarded $100 Million to Predict and Prevent Pandemic Threats

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine will receive up to $100 million in grant funds over five years from USAID to continue its work on detecting and responding to emerging viruses and disease threats.The new grant builds on a previous grant that created PREDICT, a global disease surveillance project that developed emergency response protocols in many in high-risk areas of the world.

PREDICT‘s demonstrated effectiveness in combating and responding to threats such as Ebola in the Congo contributed to this follow-up grant, which is one of the largest in UC Davis history. Research is managed by the school’s One Health Institute through the PREDICT program, focusing on animals, people and the environment to solve complex global health problems. In this second and new phase, PREDICT will continue to focus surveillance on viral families of epidemic and pandemic potential. These include coronaviruses, the viral family to which SARS and MERS belong, influenza viruses, and filoviruses, such as Ebola. Learn more.

Note: The above story is part of a series of stories that the AAVMC highlights in the Vet-Med Educator on a regular basis from member institutions that demonstrate the many benefits of federal investment in schools and colleges of veterinary medicine.

Academic Veterinary Medicine in the News

UM and Tufts Team Up, Trek the Globe to Prevent Pandemics

Minnesota Daily

UC Davis Institute gets $100 Million to Fight Pandemics
Sacramento Bee

UK Officials Unveil Major Effort to Study Veterinary Workforce



Veterinary Economics Special Report: What Students Learn About Business in Veterinary Education



Midwestern, Lincoln Granted Provisional Accreditation

Veterinary Practice News


Aggie Vets Save Service Dog Who Helped Heal Serviceman



Hunky Veterinary Students Pose With Animals And It's Pawsitively Adorable

Huffington Post


American Dog Rescue Provides Resources For Groundbreaking Canine Neurosurgery At Washington State University Veterinary Hospital



Zoetis Enhances Veterinary Education in China

The Pig Site


The MU College of Veterinary Medicine Receives a $1 Million Gift



Universities Create Antibiotics Task Force

Hog Farmer


Stakeholders from Across Animal Ag Industry Represented on Task Force (interview with Dr. Maccabe)

Southern Farm Network

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