Recent ACOE Accreditation Actions and Decisions
November 24, 2020
Consistent with Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) policy, the ACOE publishes the following information about accreditation and pre-accreditation decisions:
- the type of program (professional optometric degree, optometric residency or optometric technician);
- the program's sponsor, and in the case of an optometric residency not sponsored by a school or college of optometry, the name of the affiliated optometric institution;
- accreditation status or action;
- the year of the next currently scheduled site visit; and
- the Council's summary of compliance with the standards, which specifies the Council's basis for any final decision. Updates to the summary of compliance will be published in subsequent reports of ACOE meeting actions when the ACOE determines that the standards are met.
At its October 23-25,2020 virtual meeting, the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) took the following actions: (Note: Date in parenthesis is the date of the next currently scheduled evaluation visit to the programs. Depending on the outcomes of annual reports, progress reports, interim visits, substantive program changes and other significant events affecting a program, the Council may decide to schedule a full on-site evaluation visit before the original accreditation period is complete. The accreditation period is eight years for professional optometric degree, optometric residency and optometric technician programs.)
- Preaccreditation Actions: None
- Initial Accreditation: None
- Continuing Accreditation: None
- Reconsideration of Accreditation Denial: None
- Withdrawal of accreditation by ACOE: None
- Voluntary withdrawal of accreditation: None
Note: In addition to the above accreditation actions, the ACOE also reviewed the following program(s) applying for initial application as a professional optometric degree program. (Stage One Applicant and Stage Two Applicant are not official pre-accreditation classifications, but rather steps toward pre-accreditation.)
Designation of Stage One Applicant:
- Lincoln Memorial University College of Optometric Medicine in Knoxville, Tennessee
- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions College of Optometry in Provo, Utah
Designation of Stage Two Applicant : None
ACOE notice of programs with accredited with conditions status
The classification of "Accredited with Conditions" is granted to an educational program with major deficiencies or weaknesses with reference to the standards of accreditation. This classification indicates that the educational effectiveness of the program is in jeopardy.
Currently, no programs are "Accredited with Conditions."
ACOE notice of withdrawal of accreditation
The ACOE publishes on this page programs from which it has withdrawn accreditation within the last eight years. The publication includes the date that the program withdrawal was final, a statement of the reason(s) for which the ACOE withdrew accreditation, and any statement the program may wish to make.
Albuquerque VA Residency in Ocular Disease
The decision to withdraw the accreditation of the Residency in Ocular Disease at the Albuquerque VA, which is affiliated with University of Houston College of Optometry, became final on August 23, 2020. The program lost all faculty members in June 2019. In the progress report provided to the ACOE in May 2020, the program reported that the majority of the faculty, including a residency coordinator, have not been replaced. The program also reported a hiring freeze, preventing timely replacement of the program faculty. The Council considers the loss of faculty and coordinator, without rapid replacement, a major loss of resources. In accordance with requirements from the U.S. Department of Education, the ACOE must take adverse action and withdraw accreditation due to the program’s major loss of resources. The Council, therefore, withdraws accreditation from the Albuquerque VA Residency in Ocular Disease effective on August 23, 2020. [This notice posted Sept. 2, 2020.] The statement provided to ACOE on October 2, 2020 by the Albuquerque VA is available here.
Oklahoma Eye Institute Residency in Ocular Disease
The decision to withdraw the accreditation of the Residency in Ocular Disease at the Oklahoma Eye Institute, which is affiliated with the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, became final on Dec. 11, 2019. The reason for withdrawal of accreditation is that the program was dormant for its third year, with no resident enrolled since 2016-2017. [This notice posted Jan. 9, 2020.]
*The program did not provide any statement.
Philadelphia VAMC Residency in Primary Care Optometry
The decision to withdraw accreditation effective July 1, 2017, from the Residency in Primary Care Optometry at the Philadelphia VAMC, which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University became final on April 9, 2017. The reason for withdrawal of accreditation was that the program was found to be out of compliance with standard 4.2 for 18 months, and the deadline for compliance was Dec. 27, 2016. The program was required to show evidence in a progress report that it met the following recommendation: "The coordinator and faculty must have the autonomy and clinical care authority to train the resident according to the program's mission, goals and objectives. (4.2)" Although some steps have been taken to address the recommendation, the Council found upon review of the program's progress report that the recommendation remains unmet, and it was not clear from the progress report how long the program expects the rest of the credentialing and privileging process for the faculty and coordinator to take. In accordance with requirements from the U.S. Department of Education, the ACOE must take adverse action and withdraw accreditation for non-compliance with standard 4.2. The Council, therefore, withdraws accreditation from the Philadelphia VAMC Residency in Primary Care Optometry effective following the end of the current residency year, on July 1, 2017. [This notice posted May 8, 2017.]
*The program did not provide any statement.
Archive of Accreditation Actions 2020.07.27
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Archive of Accreditation Actions 2019.11.12
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Pre-Accreditation Classification: In the case of a program which is not fully operational, the Council may grant the pre-accreditation status of preliminary approval following satisfaction by the program of the requirements for initial application in Chapter 4 and the Council's review of an evaluation team report following a site visit.
Preliminary Approval: A pre-accreditation classification granted to a professional optometric degree program that has clearly demonstrated it is developing in accordance with Council standards. The program has approval to begin student recruitment, selection and admissions and to begin offering the program. The Council shall review the preliminary approval classification annually during the first three academic years of the program through written reports and/or site visits as deemed necessary by the Council. A request for accreditation status shall be made not less than 12 months prior to graduation of the program's first class. As required by the USDE, the Council will not grant pre-accreditation status to a program for longer than five years. When the Council awards preliminary approval to a program or at any time during the Council's monitoring of a program holding preliminary approval status, the ACOE may issue recommendations or specify conditions for monitoring, which must be attained in order to maintain the pre-accreditation status.
Accreditation Status: The ACOE may decide to grant one of the two following accreditation statuses to a program following adoption of the evaluation team report and recommendations. Accreditation status may be lowered or revoked if the Council determines that the program is not making sufficient progress on recommendations from the Council.
Accredited: A classification granted to an educational program indicating that the program generally meets the standards for accreditation. This classification indicates that the program has no deficiencies or weaknesses that compromise the educational effectiveness of the total program. However, recommendations relating to marginal compliance with certain standards, and suggestions relating to program enhancement may be included in evaluation reports.
Accredited with Conditions: A classification granted to an educational program with major deficiencies or weaknesses with reference to the standards of accreditation. This classification indicates that the educational effectiveness of the program is in jeopardy. Programs with this classification will be required to submit progress reports and shall undergo a full on-site evaluation visit within a prescribed period of: one year for programs that are less than one year in length; 18 months for programs that are at least one year in length but less than two years in length; and two years for programs that are more than two years in length.
Accreditation manuals containing information on the ACOE's policies and procedures may be found in the Accreditation Resources section.
The moratorium on loan repayment is scheduled to expire Dec. 31. The average optometry student’s loan debt when they graduate is close to $200,000, and the AOA and the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) argue that the relief makes a difference to current optometry students and doctors of optometry continuing to pay student loans. The AOA is working to ensure concerns of doctors of optometry nationwide are front and center.
The advocacy collaborative fighting for patient safety and the doctor-patient relationship reports on a productive 2020, despite COVID-19 challenges, and recently welcomed Alcon as its newest member.