Faculty Credentialing Policy
Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted September 2015; Revised March 2018; August 2019; August 2021; January 2022
McNeese State University is defined as primarily a teaching institution; therefore, the institution seeks faculty whose academic credentials, certifications/licensure, work experience, and expertise support the institution’s teaching mission as well as the quality and integrity of the academic programs. The institution adheres to guidelines established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) regarding faculty credentials.
Guidelines for Faculty Credentials
- General Education Courses: Faculty teaching undergraduate general education courses must have an earned doctorate or master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or related teaching discipline. The teaching discipline may not necessarily be determined by the course prefix (e.g., AGEC, COMM, EDTC, OSBC, etc.) but what a reasonable person would conclude as a requisite background for the course’s instructor based on the student learning outcomes.
- Undergraduate Courses: Faculty teaching undergraduate courses that are applicable toward an associate or baccalaureate degree must have an earned doctorate or master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline.
- Graduate Courses: Faculty teaching graduate courses must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline.
- Graduate Teaching Assistants: Graduate teaching assistants must have an earned master’s degree in the teaching discipline or 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, and planned, periodic evaluations.
- Lab Instructors:
- For lab courses that are a component of a regular course and contribute over 50% of the course grade, the faculty teaching the lab must meet regular credentials as noted above (doctorate or master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline).
- For lab courses with a separate grade for the lab component, the faculty assigning the grade must meet regular credentials (doctorate or master’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline).
- For labs that serve as supplemental instruction to a course, the lab instruction, coordination, or proctoring may be covered by an assistant with an appropriate baccalaureate degree in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline under the supervision of an appropriately credentialed faculty member. Undergraduate students may assist in lab coordination and proctoring but may not assign grades.
- Online Courses: Prior to teaching the first online course for McNeese State University, faculty teaching online courses must present documentation indicating they have received appropriate training to deliver online instruction.
President, Provost, and Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
The president is the designated authority for hiring faculty at McNeese. The provost is responsible for verification and validation of all faculty credential requirements and maintains a personnel folder with documentation such as original transcripts, certifications, licensure, or other justification for each faculty member. The provost and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness review transcripts and pertinent documentation for each faculty member as part of the hiring process.
Deans and Department Heads
Deans and department heads are responsible for ensuring all faculty members are qualified to teach each of the courses to which they are assigned. All documents needed to demonstrate appropriate qualifications such as transcripts, certifications, licensure, etc. should be reviewed to ensure the faculty is academically qualified to teach the courses assigned and submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management with the McNeese State University Hiring Plan documentation or Visiting Lecturer Appointment Letter. Graduate coursework or certifications may justify appropriate preparation to teach courses with learning objectives related to the coursework/certification. Deans and department heads must compile documentation to justify cases where faculty with credentials in a related field are approved to teach courses. The determination of related fields rests with the department and college and is approved by the provost and Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
- Prior to a faculty member teaching a course they have not previously been approved by the dean to teach, the department head must examine the course description and student learning outcomes and determine if the faculty member is qualified according to SACSCOC guidelines to teach the course.
- If necessary, additional documentation to justify faculty qualifications must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management prior to the term the course is taught for the first time.
- The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness generates the faculty roster and uses personnel file documentation to qualify faculty to teach courses. Deans must ensure appropriate documentation is submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management for each faculty member.
It is the responsibility of prospective full-time or part-time faculty to provide the University with all the documentation needed to verify credentials. The documentation includes, but is not limited to, a curriculum vita, official transcripts, and information regarding training/certification to teach online courses submitted directly to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management from the issuing institution; appropriate licenses or certifications; and verification of work related to teaching experience (as needed). The cost to obtain documents required is borne by the prospective faculty member. The University may periodically request updated documents to maintain credentialing files.
- Transcripts from foreign universities: Prospective faculty submitting transcripts from foreign universities or schools must have the coursework evaluated for equivalency to United States-accredited coursework by a University-approved agency. The prospective faculty member is responsible for the cost of the evaluation. McNeese typically accepts evaluations by World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org).
- Transcripts from institutions without USDOE-approved institutional accreditation: The hiring of faculty whose qualifying degree is from an institution in the United States without USDOE-approved institutional accreditation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Specific colleges or departments may have guidelines that prevent hiring faculty from institutions without USDOE-approved institutional accreditation. Should a dean and department head consider such a credential, significant additional criteria beyond the usual must be documented and submitted to the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness for review and consideration.
Guidelines for Justification of Alternative Teaching Credentials
When reviewing qualifications for specific teaching responsibilities, McNeese gives primary consideration to the faculty member’s academic preparation as specified by SACSCOC.
Qualifying faculty to teach when they do not possess the traditional academic preparation and credentials is considered an unusual design. Appropriate and complete documentation, including a matrix matching course student learning outcomes with specific competencies, must provide compelling evidence for qualification.
Other indicators of competence and appropriate qualifications that are documented may include:
- Undergraduate and graduate degrees and coursework (in addition to the highest degree earned) are closely related to the teaching discipline.
- Number of graduate credit hours earned in the teaching discipline or a related teaching discipline.
- Professional licensure and certifications applicable to the teaching discipline.
- Possession of national recognition/commendations in the teaching discipline.
- Documented successful work-related experience in the field, including length of service, complexity of work, and closeness of work performed to the course’s student learning outcomes.
- Scholarly publications in the teaching discipline (other than “vanity” press publications as determined by the department/college); and/or
- Other extraordinary excellence or competence in the discipline along with demonstrated success in teaching.
This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.