Recent ACOE Accreditation Actions and Decisions
Consistent with Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) policy, the ACOE publishes the following information about accreditation and preaccreditation 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.
Preaccreditation Classification: In the case of a program which is not fully operational, the Council may grant the preaccreditation status of Preliminary Approval following satisfaction by the program of the requirements for initial application as outlined in the ACOE’s Policy and Procedures Manual and the Council's review of an evaluation team report following a site visit.
Preliminary Approval: A preaccreditation 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 each academic year of the program through written reports and/or evaluation visits as deemed necessary by the Council. The Council will conduct a final on-site evaluation visit to the program for the consideration of an accreditation status during the academic year in which the first class is expected to graduate. If the program is found to meet the Council’s Standards, then the Council will grant an appropriate accreditation status. As required by the USDE, the Council will not grant preaccreditation 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 preaccreditation 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 evaluation visit within two (2) years for professional optometric degree programs, eighteen (18) months for optometric residencies, and one (1) year for optometric technician programs.
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.
Marion VAMC Residency in Primary Care/Ocular Disease
At its October 22-24, 2021 Fall meeting, the ACOE made the decision to withdraw accreditation from the Residency in Primary Care/Ocular Disease at the Marion VAMC, which is affiliated with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, College of Optometry. The program was notified of the decision on November 18, 2021 and the decision becomes final thirty (30) days after notification if no written petition for reconsideration or request for appeal is received. The reason for withdrawal of accreditation is that the program was dormant for its third year, with no resident enrolled since 2018-2019. The decision to withdraw accreditation became final on December 18, 2021. No request for reconsideration or appeal was filed by the program.
[This notice posted Nov. 19, 2021; updated Dec. 20, 2021.]
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.
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The ACOE Policy and Procedures manual and the Standards of accreditation for professional optometric degree, optometric residency, and optometric technician programs may be found in the Accreditation Resources section.
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