Faculty Appointments Policy
Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: October 7, 2015; Revised February 1, 2019; October 4, 2022; September 25, 2023
Faculty Appointments and Hiring Process
1. The term “academic department” is used generically to mean departments, colleges, and similar instructional units that employ faculty for instructional, research, or related purposes. The term “academic year” generally refers to the time beginning one week prior to the start of fall semester classes through spring commencement. Summer or interim terms are defined according to the academic calendar.
2. All faculty appointments must be in accordance with the Faculty Credentialing Policy, standard 6.2.a of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, and related University of Louisiana System policies.
Deans must have Senior Staff approval to fill a position before hiring procedures begin. The McNeese State University Hiring Plan guides the hiring process once a position is approved to be filled. A national search should be conducted when seeking candidates for full-time faculty positions. Appointments for full-time and part-time faculty (including teaching graduate assistants) are finalized at the campus level upon completion of the University Hiring Plan process, including procedures for verifying credentials, completion of background checks, and other pre-employment requirements determined by the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment. After approval of the selected candidate by the department head, dean, SACSCOC accreditation liaison, provost, and president, the University of Louisiana System approves appointments. All reappointments, non-renewal, or terminations of members of the academic staff shall be made by the president of the University with the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
The immediate supervisor (usually the department head or dean) of the position being filled will appoint a Hiring Search Committee. The committee membership must be approved by the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment. The department head and dean determine the appropriate qualifications and job description for the position. The salary range and rank are determined by the dean and provost and approved by Senior Staff. The Hiring Search Committee ensures the position is advertised, receives and screens applications, interviews qualified applicants, and checks references according to the Hiring Plan guidelines. The Hiring Search Committee forwards recommendations regarding qualified candidates to the supervisor.
When it is clearly impracticable to conduct a search for the position, as in the hiring of faculty on very short notice, the department and dean may select a qualified candidate and fill the position with a temporary appointment.
Note: In accordance with Louisiana Records Retention Schedule, applications from candidates not selected for the position must be kept on file in the departmental or dean’s office for three years.
Selection of Candidate
The supervisor reviews the hiring search committee recommendations, conducts additional reference checks, and determines the best candidate for the position. The department head then forwards the recommendation for the selected candidate to the dean of the college for review, who then forwards the information to the provost. The SACSCOC accreditation liaison reviews the hiring documentation and confirms the candidate’s academic qualifications are appropriate. Meanwhile, the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment initiates pre-employment requirements such as the background check and forwards results to the chain of command for the position. The hiring process is finalized after necessary documentation such as official transcripts are received in the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment, a clear background check is received, and pre-employment information required by the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment is complete. The provost forwards the recommendation to the president for approval. The hiring information is then submitted for approval by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
The job expectations, annual performance review policies and procedures, and terms of every appointment to the academic staff will be stated in writing and a copy will be supplied to the prospective faculty/staff member by the dean/department head prior to the employment start date. Any subsequent changes in the terms of appointment must be approved by the provost and stated in writing and a copy provided to the faculty member. All faculty members should be informed of the web location for information pertinent to University employment as well as University, college, and departmental operating policies and procedures.
Personnel file documentation related to employment, benefits, and credentials is maintained in the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment.
- All faculty, regardless of rank, must meet academic qualifications according to the Faculty Credentialing Policy and SACSCOC guidelines.
- Faculty joining departments with programmatic accreditation must meet the requirements of the discipline’s accreditor. The department head is responsible for verifying discipline-specific credentials.
- Instructor, visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, and visiting professor ranks are non-tenure track faculty appointments.
- Tenure track faculty appointments begin at the assistant professor level unless approval to appoint at the associate professor rank is obtained from the provost. The University’s established criteria for academic rank will be applied in making initial appointments. It is generally expected that a minimum of six years of probationary service at McNeese will be served in one rank prior to eligibility for tenure or promotion to the next higher rank. Only under compelling circumstances are exceptions allowed.
- McNeese State University recognizes as terminal the following degrees: Master of Fine Arts in Art, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Library Science, Master of Archives, Master of Architecture, and others designated by SACSCOC or appropriate professional agencies. Faculty not holding the terminal degree must achieve substantially superior scholarly recognition at the national level to be considered for promotion to the associate level and are not eligible for promotion to professor.
- In reference to library faculty members, the term “teaching field” refers to degrees in library or informational science or other related areas.
The following information describes the University’s minimum qualifications for faculty. Colleges may establish additional qualifications for their faculty.
Instructor: To be appointed instructor, an applicant must have a minimum of an earned master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline. Instructor positions are non-tenure track and do not require advanced notice for non-renewal.
Assistant Professor: To be appointed assistant professor, an applicant must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline. Unless otherwise noted in the appointment letter, assistant professor appointments are tenure-track appointments.
Associate Professor: To be appointed associate professor, an applicant must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline and three years of teaching experience at full-time faculty status at a college or university in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline. Unless otherwise noted in the appointment letter, associate professor appointments are tenure-track appointments, and the probationary period required for tenure review will be six years.
Professor: To be appointed professor, an applicant must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline and seven years of college-level teaching experience in the discipline in which the rank will be held. Evidence of exemplary and current research and national recognition in the field must be present. Unless otherwise noted in the appointment letter, professor appointments are tenure-track appointments, and the probationary period required for tenure review will be no less than three years and no more than four years.
Special Ranks: Non-Tenure Track
Persons may be employed in special ranks different from the ranks for regular faculty. The following may be assigned to academic personnel in unique employment situations within the University:
- The titles visiting instructor, visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, or visiting professor are courtesy titles given to holders of temporary or visiting full-time appointments at those respective ranks. Faculty in such ranks hold non-tenure track appointments and are not subject to notice prior to non-renewal of the appointment.
- Full-time faculty whose primary responsibility is conducting research and who are normally paid from grants or contract funds are to be appointed as assistant professor-research, associate professor-research, or professor-research. Faculty in these ranks do not acquire tenure and are usually paid with external grant funding. As an alternative and upon the individual recommendation of the president and approval by the Board, such persons at the rank of associate professor-research and professor-research may be appointed for rolling terms of up to five years (to be specified). The contract for such rolling terms may provide for conditions for continued employment related to continued funding of the grant supporting the position. Faculty on such appointments are reviewed annually and must be notified at least 90 days prior to non-renewal and may be terminated for cause at any time with due process.
- Professional in-residence is a category of professionals appointed to instructional positions, with working titles such as architect-in-residence, artist-in-residence, journalist-in-residence, writer-in-residence, etc. The professional may be in residence at irregular intervals. Tenure is not awarded to individuals holding this title. Appointment to this title requires specific beginning and ending dates and is not subject to notice prior to non-renewal of the appointment.
- The use of clinical faculty (usually in health professions and related clinical sciences) is appropriate where faculty members are involved in the delivery of professional services as part of the practical instruction to students. The clinical faculty designation at any rank (clinical instructor, clinical assistant professor, etc.) is given to faculty members who are essential for coordinating field work and supervising students in the field. Primary employment is typically outside the department, but substantial contributions are made to the instructional programs. Expectations for publication and scholarly activity may be substantially less than that for tenure track positions. Tenure is not available for clinical faculty tracks, and time spent in these positions is not applied to tenure-track requirements. Faculty may not transfer between clinical track and tenure track, but faculty holding a position of one type may apply for the other type if a position is available. Full-time clinical faculty receive benefits provided for full-time employees and must undergo annual performance reviews; part-time clinical faculty are not eligible for benefits. Both full-time and part-time clinical faculty are not subject to notice prior to non-renewal of the appointment.
Visiting Lecturer or Teaching Graduate Assistant Faculty Appointments
Part-time faculty usually referred to as visiting lecturers, adjunct faculty, or teaching graduate assistants can provide unique expertise to enhance instructional and educational effectiveness of programs. Visiting lecturers and teaching graduate assistants may not work more than 29 hours per week and are not eligible for employment insurance or retirement benefits. Part-time faculty are employed only after all full-time faculty members’ schedules have been filled. Department heads and deans should ensure that minimum course enrollment numbers have been met in full-time faculty members’ course sections prior to employing visiting lecturers or teaching graduate assistants. Visiting lecturers and teaching graduate assistants must meet qualifications noted in the Faculty Credentialing Policy and are held to the same behavioral standards and teaching responsibilities as regular faculty.
Duration of Visiting Lecturer/Teaching Graduate Assistant Appointments
Appointments or reappointments of visiting lecturers and teaching graduate assistants are made by the University with the understanding that the employment of the individual shall end unconditionally on the ending date of the semester or session and/or the date indicated in the appointment letter. Reappointments are made solely at the discretion of the University. Visiting lecturer and teaching graduate assistant appointments may be terminated at any time with cause.
Graduate Faculty Membership
Graduate faculty membership is determined by the Graduate Council and director of the William J. Doré, Sr. School of Graduate Studies in accordance with the Graduate Faculty Policy. Tenured and tenure-track faculty seeking Associate Member or Full Member graduate faculty status must meet SACSCOC qualifications for teaching graduate-level coursework and demonstrate positive performance in research/creative scholarship, professional activities, and University Service. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members must submit the Application for Graduate Faculty Membership to the Graduate Council for consideration.
Non-tenure-track faculty members at the rank of instructor or a visiting faculty member of any rank (e.g., visiting lecturers, clinical faculty, etc.) with appropriate credentials are eligible for appointment as a Temporary Member of the graduate faculty. In most instances, the Temporary Member must hold a terminal degree or other SACSCOC-approved qualifications appropriate to perform graduate faculty responsibilities.
Department heads must submit an appropriate memo describing credentials to be forwarded to the college dean for approval. This memo must then be approved by the director of the Graduate School and credentials approved by the SACSCOC accreditation liaison. Temporary memberships are valid for one academic year.
For more information, refer to the Graduate Faculty Policy on the University Policies webpage.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.