Determining Qualifications for Faculty Teaching Credit-Bearing Courses
Concordia University, St. Paul, seeking to ensure high quality instruction and stay in compliance with its accrediting bodies, will employ qualified faculty to teach credit-bearing courses. The University places primary importance on academic credentials awarded from accredited institutions. In addition to academic credentials, other competencies may be identified, as appropriate, when establishing qualifications. Faculty qualifications will be linked to the course(s) a faculty member is assigned to teach and will be initially determined by the department. Approval of faculty qualifications must be made by the College Dean and the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA). The criteria for qualifications are outlined in this policy.
Undergraduate Faculty Roles and Qualifications
Qualified faculty members are identified primarily by credentials, but other factors, including but not limited to equivalent experience, may be considered in determining whether a faculty member is
Using Credentials as a Basis for Determining Minimally Qualified Faculty
Expectations for faculty credentials include the following:
Faculty should have completed a program of study in the discipline or subfield (as applicable) in which they teach, and/or for which they develop curricula, with coursework at least one level above that of the courses being taught or developed.
Faculty teaching in undergraduate programs should hold a degree at least one level above that of the program in which they are teaching. If a faculty member holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline other than that in which he or she is teaching, that faculty member should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline in which he or she is teaching.
If an individual faculty member has not achieved 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline in which he or she teaches, the institution may use experience as a basis for justifying its decision to assign the individual to the courses taught. See the following subsection for how experience may be considered in determining faculty qualifications.
Using Tested Experience as a Basis for Determining Minimally Qualified Faculty
Tested experience may substitute for an earned credential or portions thereof. This experience must be
tested experience in that it includes a breadth and depth of experience outside of the classroom in real-
world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.
Expectations for using tested experience as a basis for determining minimally qualified faculty include
Qualifying experience must be relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.
The minimum threshold of qualifying tested experience is five years (10,000 hours) of experience outside of the classroom in real-world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching. Qualifying tested experience may also include skill sets, types of certifications or additional credentials, and experiences. Specific qualifications for each department
are adopted and approved through the faculty governance process (See Procedures).
Evaluation and Approval
The faculty hiring qualifications related to tested experience are reviewed and approved through the faculty governance process. (See Procedures).
Determining Minimally Qualified Faculty in the Context of Dual Credit
Faculty members teaching dual credit courses must hold the same minimal qualifications as other Concordia University, St. Paul faculty (see above).
Determining Credentialing Degrees
Each department will determine the appropriate credentialing (masters and/or terminal), as defined above, for the courses within its department. Written justification for this determination must be provided to the College Dean. The College Dean will approve the credentialing degrees and forward to
the VPAA. The VPAA will provide a final review and approval of the credentialing degree designations.
The list of credentialing degrees will be reviewed every three years by the Office of Academic Affairs and updated as appropriate.
Initial Determination of Qualifications
1. The Office of Human Resources will provide the appropriate forms and processes to implement this policy.
2. Prior to hiring, the department must ensure that potential faculty, regardless of full-time or part-time status, meet or exceed the criteria outlined in this policy.
3. The Department Chair/Unit Head will provide to the College Dean all relevant materials regarding qualifications. In situations where the basis for qualification is nonstandard, the Department Chair/Unit Head will provide a letter of justification providing specific details in support of that justification as well as a list of courses the faculty member is qualified to teach.
4. The Dean, after evaluating the materials and providing an approval recommendation, will submit all relevant materials to the Office of Human Resources for approval by the VPAA.
5. The VPAA will evaluate the materials and provide a decision regarding the hiring of the faculty member to teach.
Ongoing Determination of Qualifications
1. The Office of Academic Affairs, through the College Deans, is responsible for ensuring ongoing compliance with this policy and with the University’s accrediting agencies. The College Deans will conduct review of at least 1/3 of the teaching faculty every year. The annual review will be submitted to the VPAA for review.
2. The deans of each college will notify the appropriate Department Chairs/Unit Heads of any faculty member who appears to be out of compliance with qualification guidelines.
3. Department Chairs/Unit Heads, once notified, must provide a letter of justification and any supporting documentation. The letter of justification will provide a sound argument for qualifications and will provide specific details and documentation in support of that justification.
4. The College Dean will review all letters of justification and supporting materials and will make a recommendation to the VPAA. The VPAA will make a determination on the faculty member’s qualifications to teach.
5. The College Dean, the Department Chair/Unit Head, will be notified in writing of all decisions.
Maintaining Faculty Files
An official file on each member of the faculty must be maintained by the appropriate dean’s office. The faculty file will include up-to-date information describing the qualifications of the faculty member (i.e. test experience documentation, copies of certificates, licenses, etc). The Office of Human Resources maintains an employment file that includes faculty transcripts. Updated Curriculum Vitas (CVs) will be submitted to the Department Chair/Unit Head and to the College Dean each academic year. College Deans will annually submit updated CVs to the Office of Academic Affairs.
This policy is informed and utilizes language from the following Higher Learning Commission (HLC) policy document:
Determining Qualified Faculty through HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices – March 2016
Last modified: March 15, 2018