The Vetschool receives important accreditation: “It means everything!”
The EAEVE accreditation is vital to the veterinary programme’s international collaborations and the existence of the animal hospitals. “Without it, too many doors would close on us,” says Professor Charlotte Reinhard Bjørnvad, who is Head of the Vetschool.
Several Danish universities offer programmes in e.g. medicine and odontology, but to train as a veterinarian, you for now have to be enrolled at the University of Copenhagen. This is also the case in other European countries, where veterinary training is also restricted to one location. This can be a big challenge, as it does not have the same benchmark as the other health and medical programmes.
That is why we have EAEVE (the European Association for Establishments for Veterinary Education). EAEVE makes sure the veterinary programmes across borders have and maintain a high standard, which is internationally acceptable and comparable.
“In order for students to go on exchange to e.g. Australia, we have to be EAEVE-accredited. Without the accreditation, the receiving institution will not be able to determine the students’ level and will therefore have to turn them down,” says Charlotte Reinhard Bjørnvad.
The same goes for international employment and research collaborations. Graduates from EAEVE-accredited programmes find employment throughout the EU.
Not just the curriculum
The EAEVE accreditation does not focus solely on the curriculum, but also on the larger framework of the programme. That is, the university, faculty, administrative procedures, function and level of the administration, number of staff, access to different animals, quality assurance, buildings, facilities and so on. And if one of these elements is lacking, the programme will not receive the accreditation. Therefore, it is a matter of getting through the eye of the needle.
“EAEVE can see the big picture and is constantly helping us do better. And they remind us to keep up to date with society. For example, they highlighted, that we should increase our focus on rabbits and other exotic animals, which makes good sense. Because people generally wish to treat their pet rabbit rather than to have it put down. And future veterinarians should be prepared for this.”
Hence, EAEVE does not simply focus on the present. It helps to future-proof the veterinary programmes.
What would happen if Vetschool did not get the accreditation?
At the EAEVE re-accreditation visit in 2021, the veterinary programme at SUND received a generally positive assessment, but nevertheless it almost lost the EAEVE accreditation due to a lack of a common strategy for the education and some concerns about e.g. the financial challenges in the veterinary field, IT support and patient numbers in selected areas.
"After receiving this message, the Vetschool, in collaboration with the departments’ managements and teachers, prepared a common strategy which simultaneously addressed the concerns EAEVE had raised. It was a good process which contributed to strengthened collaboration across the board and on 13 December 2022 we got the final accreditation," says a happy Charlotte Bjørnvad.
If the vet school had lost the EAEVE accreditation, it would have had major consequences – not only for the international opportunities of the students and researchers. But also, for the veterinary field’s ability to attract the best teachers and researchers, as well as to offer further education such as international master degree programs and specialist training.
Therefore, the Vetschool is happy that their hard work to improve things has led EAEVE to accredit the programme:
“We have worked hard. First, we conducted a self-evaluation, which is a lot of work. It focussed on anything from the structure and curriculum of the programme to the physical surroundings and more. And then we received the assessment and launched several initiatives to improve things before we could get the accreditation.”
Vice-Dean for Education Jørgen Kurtzhals is extremely pleased that Vetschool finally managed to get the accreditation:
“As the only veterinary programme in the country, it is important that we maintain a high standard. We need to be able to attract the best staff and offer the students the best possible foundation for their future work life – both nationally and internationally. Therefore, I am very pleased that we managed to get the EAEVE accreditation, and we have the staff to thank for that; they have worked extremely hard.”
The EAEVE accreditation is effective until 2028.