FACULTY/STAFF POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL

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2.4. Initial Appointment: Academic Rank and Tenure


2.4.1 Qualifications for Academic Faculty

2.4.1.1 The IPEDS Guidelines

2.4.1.2 Initial Appointment: Instructor

2.4.1.3 Initial Appointment: Assistant Professor

2.4.1.4 Initial Appointment: Associate Professor

2.4.1.5 Initial Appointment: Professor

2.4.1.6 Initial Appointment: Tenure

2.4.2  Rank and Tenure Qualifications for Administrative Faculty

2.4.3 Guidelines for Approval and Documentation of Faculty Credentials

2.4.3.1 New full–time faculty

2.4.3.2 New assignment for current full–time faculty

2.4.3.3 Part–time or adjunct faculty

At the time of initial appointment, the President may approve academic rank and/or tenure status for academic and administrative faculty based upon recommendation of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who must have consulted with Deans, Department Heads, and faculty in degree or program areas of the appointees. Satisfaction of degree/experiential requirements shall be determined by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Degrees and teaching experience must be from regionally accredited post secondary institutions unless otherwise determined by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“Years,” with respect to teaching experience, shall mean full–time teaching for a full academic year. In exceptional cases, professional experience may be substituted for full–time ranked teaching experience in determining rank qualifications.

Equivalencies or exceptions to any qualifications shall be determined by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Designation of rank shall include identification of the faculty member’s program area. Academic faculty appointed to the ranks of Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor must display evidence of potential for promotion. Conferring of rank and the awarding of tenure to academic and administrative faculty shall be separate and distinct decisions.

2.4.1 Qualifications for Academic Faculty

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 in accord with the guidelines listed below. 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, or 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 all its faculty.

Credential Guidelines:

  • Faculty teaching general education courses at the undergraduate level: a doctoral 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 in the teaching discipline).
  • Faculty teaching associate degree courses designed for transfer to a baccalaureate degree: a doctoral 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 in the teaching discipline.)
  • Faculty teaching associate degree courses not designed for transfer to the baccalaureate degree: a baccalaureate degree in the teaching discipline, or an associate degree and demonstrated competencies in the teaching field.
  • Faculty teaching baccalaureate degree courses: a doctoral 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 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 – usually the earned doctorate – in the discipline.
  • Faculty teaching graduate and post–baccalaureate course work: earned doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.
  • Graduate teaching assistants: master’s 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 and periodic evaluations.

Earned degrees of appointees to the academic faculty must be in the discipline or field of primary contract responsibility or in one of the appropriate cognate areas for interdisciplinary studies. The Provost Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the appropriate Dean, Department Head, and faculty in the degree of program area, shall have the responsibility for determining appropriateness of degree field to program area assignment.

Note: Faculty should update all information regularly to make sure qualifications are accurately recorded in department files. Department Heads should send copies of this information to the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research so that the University’s Roster of Instructional Staff lists current information.

Unless otherwise specified below, for the purposes of Chapter 2, the term “terminal degree“ refers to the earned doctorate, in all program areas except those for which disciplinary or regional accrediting agencies make different provision or those for which doctoral programs are rarely or not at all available. Department Heads are responsible for documenting for Deans those disciplines for which other degrees may be considered the appropriate terminal degree. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Deans, shall have the responsibility for determining the appropriateness of terminal degree requirements.

In all cases, the University shall be guided by criteria published by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and other accrediting bodies as appropriate. The definitions used by SACSCOC follow those delineated by the Integrated Post–secondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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2.4.1.1 The IPEDS Guidelines

Note: The IPEDS definitions in this section are directly quoted from the IPEDS document. Besides listing degrees that Nicholls State University may never have a need to recognize, the document also does not include examples of all degrees that are generally recognized as having met the definitions and criteria of the various categories. The Master of Science Degree, for instance, is not specifically listed in g below, but this degree is standardly recognized by Nicholls State University and other universities; the B.F.A. degree is recognized by many universities as a first professional degree.

  • Associate’s Degree—An award that normally requires at least 2 but less than four years of full–time equivalent college work.
  • Bachelor’s Degree—An award that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full–time equivalent college–level work. This includes all bachelor’s degrees in a Cooperative or Work–Study Plan or Program. A cooperative plan provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government; thus, it allows the student to combine actual work experience with college studies. (Also includes bachelor’s degree in which the normal 4 years of work is completed in 3 years.)
  • Degree—An award conferred by a college, university, or other post–secondary educational association as official recognition for successful completion of a program of studies.
  • Diploma—A formal document certifying the successful completion of a prescribed program of studies.
  • Doctor’s Degree—An award that requires work at the graduate level and terminates in a doctor’s degree. The doctor’s degree classification includes such degrees as Doctor of Education, Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of Public Health, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in any such field as agronomy, food technology, education, engineering, public administration, ophthalmology, radiology. For the Doctor of Public Health degree, the prior degree is generally earned in the closely related professional field of medicine or sanitary engineering.
  • First Professional Degree—An award that requires the completion of a program that meets all of the following criteria:
  • completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession;
  • at least 2 years of college work prior to entrance in the program;
  • a total of 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior college work plus the length of the professional program itself.
  • First professional degrees may be awarded in the following 10 fields:
  • Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.)
  • Pharmacy (D. Phar.)
  • Dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.)
  • Podiatry (Pod. D. or D.P.)
  • Medicine (M.D.)
  • Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M)
  • Optometry (O.D.)
  • Law (L.L.B, or J.D.)
  • Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
  • Theology (M.Div. or M.H.L. or B.D. or Ordination)
  • Master’s Degree—An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of at least the full–time–equivalent of one but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor’s degree.

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2.4.1.2 Initial Appointment: Instructor

While the terminal degree is desired, the minimum degree qualification for appointment to the rank of Instructor is a master’s degree in a subject matter field appropriate to the individual’s academic assignment. All instructors are employed under term contracts.

For appointment to the rank of Instructor in some disciplines, the minimum qualifications are a baccalaureate degree in the discipline and three (3) years of appropriate professional experience. Such exceptions to the minimum qualifications for the appointment to the rank of Instructor (but not for tenure) may be granted by the Vice President for Academic Affairs based on individual circumstances as recommended by the appropriate Department Head and Dean.

For appointment to the rank of Instructor in the University Library, the minimum qualification is an American Library Association accredited terminal degree or its historical antecedent.

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2.4.1.3 Initial Appointment: Assistant Professor

While the earned doctorate is desirable, the minimum qualification for appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor is a master’s degree in a subject matter field appropriate to the individual’s academic assignment or a degree recognized by the University as the appropriate terminal degree in the faculty member’s discipline or field. For appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor in the Engineering Technologies, minimum qualifications include a master’s degree in a subject matter field appropriate to the individual’s academic assignment and three (3) years of appropriate professional experience. For appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor in the University Library, the minimum qualifications are an American Library Association accredited terminal degree or its historical antecedent and three (3) years of appropriate experience in librarianship. Exceptions to the minimum qualifications for appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor (but not for tenure) may be granted by the Vice President for Academic Affairs based on individual circumstances as recommended by the appropriate Department Head and Dean.

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2.4.1.4 Initial Appointment: Associate Professor

The minimum qualifications for appointment to the rank of Associate Professor are an earned doctorate in a subject matter field appropriate to the individual’s academic assignment or a degree recognized by the University as the appropriate terminal degree in the faculty member’s discipline or field and, generally, six (6) years of full–time ranked teaching or a minimum of five (5) years of full–time teaching at the rank of Assistant Professor. For appointment to the rank of Associate Professor in the University Library, the minimum qualifications are an American Library Association accredited terminal degree or its historical antecedent and six (6) years of full–time, academic library experience or a minimum of five (5) years of appropriate service at the rank of Assistant Professor.

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2.4.1.5 Initial Appointment: Professor

The minimum qualifications for appointment to the rank of Professor are an earned doctorate in a subject matter field appropriate to the individual’s academic assignment or a degree recognized by the University as the appropriate terminal degree in the faculty member’s discipline or field and, generally, twelve (12) years of full–time ranked teaching or a minimum of six (6) years of full–time teaching at the rank of Associate Professor. For appointment to the rank of Professor in the University Library, the minimum qualifications are an American Library Association accredited terminal degree or its historical antecedent and twelve (12) years of full–time, academic library experience or a minimum of six (6) years of appropriate service at the rank of Associate Professor.

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2.4.1.6 Initial Appointment: Tenure

The qualifications for tenure status for faculty who are employed initially from outside the university shall meet or exceed those for academic faculty. The Board of Supervisors promotion and tenure policy allows the University to hire new faculty with full tenure status or with probationary stipulations that may require the new employees to serve from one–year probation to the full six years (Section 2.9.1). At present, it is the practice of the University that all initial faculty appointments shall require the serving of at least one year probation before tenure is granted. Candidates who have agreed to serve this minimum probationary time (one year) shall submit their names for a summative review at the end of that first year (two full academic semesters, not including summer school). Peer Review Committees shall adjust their agendas to accommodate these candidates with a full review during the first month following the first year of probationary service so that these candidates will not have to serve two years before tenure is granted.

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2.4.2  Rank and Tenure Qualifications for Administrative Faculty

The qualifications for rank and tenure status for administrative faculty employed initially from outside the University shall meet or exceed those for academic faculty as stated in Section 2.2.1.

Board of Supervisors policy requires that academic administrators (administrative staff such as Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Heads, and Directors) who are appointed with rank and in a tenure track position shall have an earned degree in a field appropriate to the position. In addition, each administrator shall have the earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree for his or her discipline. Exceptions to this requirement may be made for special situations. Such exceptions must be approved by the System president.

Academic administrators whose initial letter of appointment calls for one year’s probationary service for tenure shall submit their names to the appropriate Peer Review Committee at the end of the first year of service (two full semesters, not including summer school). Section 2.4.1.6 gives information about the summative process for candidates who are serving the one–year probationary period.

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2.4.3Guidelines for Approval and Documentation of Faculty Credentials

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2.4.3.1 New full–time faculty

When hiring new full–time faculty, the Department Head working with the Search Committee must determine whether the candidate to be hired is qualified a) by meeting Credential Guidelines stated in Section titled Qualifications for Academic Faculty in this Manual or b) as an exception to these criteria credentials.

The department head (or person hiring faculty) must include a Faculty Credential Verification form with a candidate’s R–2. If the faculty to be hired is an exception to the stated Credential Guidelines, the department head must also include a Letter of Exception and Matrix linking candidates qualifications to student learning outcomes of course(s) to be taught with the Verification Form. Human Resources Department will send an approved copy of the Letter of Exception and Matrix to the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research upon receipt of the job candidates R–2 and other personnel documents. Assessment and Institutional Research will link approved Letter of Exception and Matrix to Faculty Roster. The Faculty must complete and submit a Faculty Development Plan to department head and Director of Assessment and Institutional Research by October 1 every fall semester thereafter until faculty meets SACS Credential Guidelines.

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2.4.3.2 New assignment for current full–time faculty

When assigning current full–time faculty to teach courses outside the discipline stated in the original Faculty Credential Verification Form, the Department Head must complete and submit a Letter of Exception and Matrix linking candidates qualifications to student learning outcomes of course(s) to be taught to the Vice President of Academic Affairs for approval no later than the first class day of the semester (barring extenuating circumstances as determined by the VPAA). The VPAA will submit the original, approved letter to Human Resources Department and Human Resources will send a copy of the Letter of Exception and Matrix to the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research. Assessment and Institutional Research will link approved Letter of Exception to Faculty Roster. This procedure must be completed every semester in which a full–time faculty teaches courses outside the discipline and is qualified as an exception to Credential Guidelines.

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2.4.3.3 Part–time or adjunct faculty

When hiring part–time or adjunct faculty, the Department Head must determine whether the faculty to be hired is qualified a) by meeting Credential Guidelines stated above or b) as an exception to these Credential Guidelines.

The Department Head (or person hiring faculty) must include a Faculty Credential Verification form with the candidate’s R–2. If the faculty to be hired is an exception to the stated Credential Guidelines, the Department Head must also include a Letter of Exception and Matrix linking candidates qualifications to student learning outcomes of course(s) to be taught with the Verification Form. Human Resources Department will send an approved copy of the Letter of Exception and Matrix to the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research upon receipt of the candidates R–2 and other personnel documents. Assessment and Institutional Research will link approved Letter of Exception and Matrix to Faculty Roster. This procedure must be completed every semester in which a part–time or adjunct faculty is hired with qualifications that are an exception to Credential Guidelines.

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