Vet college’s full accreditation survives funding cut

(Photo courtesy WCVM)

The looming exit of one of its major funding partners notwithstanding, the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) has earned full accreditation through 2024.

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Council on Education, the accrediting body for veterinary colleges in North America, recently confirmed Saskatoon-based WCVM’s status as “Accredited (w/minor deficiency).”

“Minor deficiency” refers to “items that have minimal or no effect on student learning or safety and are typically resolved within one year,” the WCVM said Friday in a release.

AVMA council accreditation, granted for up to seven years at a time, is meant to assure colleges meet or exceed minimum standards in veterinary medical education and provide education that prepares students for entry-level positions in the profession.

The “minor deficiencies” to be fixed in WCVM’s case include having adequate signage in patient isolation areas and a clarification of admission requirements on the college’s web site, WCVM said.

Much of the work in resolving those issues has already been done or is near completion, WCVM dean Douglas Freeman said in the college’s release.

The WCVM’s accreditation followed a “comprehensive self-study” submitted to AVMA last August, followed two months later by a council-appointed team’s five-day site visit, which included meetings with WCVM students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders.

Alberta funding

That said, the WCVM noted, the AVMA council’s final report on accreditation acknowledged the Alberta government’s announcement that it won’t renew its participation in the WCVM’s four-province funding agreement after 2020.

Alberta announced in October it will gradually pull its $8 million in annual funding from the WCVM and instead expand the veterinary school at the University of Calgary.

That decision didn’t affect the WCVM’s most recent accreditation, the college said, but it noted the AVMA council will now require “regular updates” on the status of the interprovincial partnership and college funding.

Evidence of financial stability, the WCVM said, is “a critical part of the accreditation process.”

“It’s worrisome when a veterinary college loses a quarter of its annual operating base,” Freeman said. “But we are working within the college and with regional partners to address this challenge with creative solutions.”

The AVMA council also recently confirmed full seven-year accreditation for another Canadian vet school, the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island.

“To prepare for our site visit last fall, we began to prepare 16 months in advance,” AVC dean Dr. Greg Keefe said in a release Thursday.

That included a “detailed self-study” submitted last summer to the AVMA council, he said, followed up by a week-long visit by a team made up of representatives from the AVMA council, the AVMA itself and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. — Network

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