Basis for ACOE Decisions

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.


Definitions

March 22, 2019

At its Feb. 22-24, 2019 meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, the ACOE took the following action: (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.)  

  1. A. University of Virginia Ophthalmology Department Residency in Ocular Disease with Emphasis in Contact Lenses which is affiliated with Indiana University School of Optometry (2019). Following review of a progress report, during which the Council found the program fully meets the six standards for residency programs, the program's accreditation status was raised to "Accredited" with its next site visit scheduled for 2026. 


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Definitions

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. 

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Accreditation manuals containing information on the ACOE's policies and procedures may be found in the Accreditation Resources section.