Call for Comments on Proposed Changes

 When the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) underwent its regularly scheduled review as a recognized accrediting body by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) in June of 2013, the ACOE received citations for seven areas, which must be addressed.  The USDE has continued the ACOE's recognition, and the ACOE will be required to come into compliance with the seven areas cited within 12 months.  The ACOE Compliance Committee composed of ACOE public members, Karen Kershenstein, Ph.D., and Laura Neumann, D.D.S., M.P.H., studied the citations and worked with Joyce Urbeck, the ACOE Administrative Director, and J. Bart Campbell, ACOE Chair, to develop a plan to address the recommendations.  Ms. Urbeck and Dr. Campbell met with two key USDE staff members in late August, 2013 to review the plan and to obtain feedback from the USDE staff.  At the ACOE's Fall Meeting on October 18-20, 2013, the ACOE considered recommendations from the ACOE Compliance Committee and voted to distribute the proposed changes to policies and processes to the community of interest for comment prior to final consideration for adoption at the ACOE's February 7-9, 2014 meeting.

 You are invited to send any comments you might have on the following USDE cited topics, which are more fully explained on the attached pages.

  • Topic 1.  Definition of educator and practitioner.
  • Topic 2.  Student achievement benchmarks for professional optometric degree programs.
  • Topic 3.  Provide a record of student complaints received directly by ACOE to site visit teams.
  • Topic 4.  Preaccreditation standards and process.  Proposed elimination of candidacy pending preaccreditation status for VA residency programs.
  • Topic 5.  Clarification of how ACOE will limit an extension for good cause of the deadline for compliance with the ACOE standards.
  • Topic 6.  Clarification of ACOE's written instructions to an appeal panel to ensure that the panel's authority to reverse an ACOE decision is not undermined.

The seventh area for which the ACOE was cited pertained to adding more specificity to the ACOE annual report form to provide guidance to programs regarding what changes the ACOE considers to be significant and guidance to the ACOE members regarding evaluating these changes.  The Council referred this seventh area to the ACOE Professional Optometric Degree Committee to include in the annual reporting template for 2014.

Please review the above proposed policy changes and send any comments you might have by no later than January 27, 2014 via email to accredit@aoa.org; mail to Joyce Urbeck, ACOE Administrative Director, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., Floor 1, St. Louis. MO 63141; or fax to 314/991-4101.

The ACOE will consider the comments received and the adoption of the policy at the ACOE Winter Meeting on February 7-9, 2014.

This call for comments was also distributed via memo.

This call for comments was posted on 12/26/2013