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Faculty Credentialing Policy

Faculty Credentialing Policy

Authority: 
Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date enacted or revised: 
September 2015
McNeese State University adheres to guidelines established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) with regard to faculty credentials.  SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation 2012 Edition states, “The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.  When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline.  The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, as well as other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes.  For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its entire faculty. “ 
 
McNeese State University is defined as primarily a teaching institution; therefore the institution seeks faculty whose academic credentials, certifications/licensure and work experience and expertise support the institution’s teaching mission and as well as the quality and integrity of the academic programs. 
 
Guidelines for Faculty Credentials:
  1. General Education courses:  Faculty teaching undergraduate general education courses must have an earned doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or a master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours).  The teaching discipline may not necessarily be determined by the course prefix, e.g. AGEC, COMM, EDTC, INOV, OSBC, etc.) but rather what a reasonable person would conclude as a requisite background for the course’s instructor based on the student learning objectives.
  2. Associate Degree Courses:  Faculty teaching associate degree courses must have an earned doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline.)  At least 25 percent of the discipline course hours in each undergraduate major are taught by faculty members holding the terminal degree in the discipline.
  3. Baccalaureate Degree Courses:  Faculty teaching baccalaureate degree courses must have an earned doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline.)  At least 25 percent of the discipline course hours in each undergraduate major are taught by faculty members holding the terminal degree in the discipline.
  4. Graduate Courses:  Faculty teaching graduate or post baccalaureate graduate courses must have an earned doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.
  5. Graduate Teaching Assistants:  Graduate teaching assistants must have an earned master’s degree in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned, periodic evaluations.
  6. Lab Instructors:
    1. For lab courses that are a component of a regular course and contribute over 50 percent of the course grade, the faculty teaching the lab must meet regular credentials as noted above (doctorate, master’s degree, and 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline).
    2. For lab courses with a separate grade for the lab component the faculty assigning the grade must meet regular credentials (doctorate, master’s degree, 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline.)
    3. 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 in the field or a related field under the supervision of an appropriately credential faculty member.  Undergraduate students may assist in labs coordination and proctoring, but may not assign grades.
  7. 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.
 
Responsibilities:
  1. 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 reviews transcripts and pertinent documentation for each faculty member as part of the hiring process. 
  2. Deans and Department Heads:  Deans and Department Heads are responsible for ensuring all faculty members are qualified to teach each of the courses 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 MSU Hiring Plan documentation or Visiting Lecturer Appointment Letter.  Graduate coursework or certifications in fields related to a discipline 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.
    1. Prior to a faculty member teaching a course she/he has not previously been approved by the dean to teach, the department head must examine the course description and learning outcomes and determine if the faculty member is qualified according to SACSCOC guidelines to teach the course. 
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  3. The Role of Faculty:  It is the responsibility of prospective full-time or part-time faculty to provide the University with all of 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, 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 in order to maintain credentialing files.
    1. 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). 
    2. Transcripts from Non-Regional Accredited Institutions:  The hiring of faculty whose qualifying degree is from a non-regionally accredited institution in the United States will be considered on a case by case basis.  Specific colleges or departments may have guidelines that prevent hiring faculty from non-regional accredited institutions.   Should a dean and department head consider the credential from a non-regional accredited institution, significant additional criteria beyond the usual must be documented and submitted to the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness for review and consideration.
  4. 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.  Other indicators of competence and appropriate qualifications which are documented may include:
    1. Undergraduate and graduate degrees and coursework (in addition to the highest degree earned) closely related to the teaching field
    2. Number of graduate credit hours earned in the teaching field or related field
    3. Professional licensure and certifications applicable to the teaching field
    4. Possession of national recognition/commendations in the teaching field
    5. Documented successful work related experience in the field, including length of service, complexity of work, and closeness of work performed and the course learning outcomes
    6. Scholarly publications in the teaching field (other than “vanity” press publications as determined by the department/college)
    7. Other extraordinary excellence or competence in the field along with demonstrated success in teaching
    8. Note:  Qualifying faculty to teach when they do not possess the traditional academic preparation and credentials is considered an unusual decision.  Appropriate and complete documentation, including a matrix matching course learning outcomes with specific competencies must provide compelling evidence for qualification.
 
Communication
This policy is distributed through the Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and posted in the University Policy Page