Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

3.7.1 Faculty Competence

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, 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 its faculty. (See Commission guideline “Faculty Credentials.”) (Faculty competence)

Judgment check box Compliance

Narrative

Reinhardt University recruits and employs competent faculty, both full-time and part-time, in accordance with its mission, goals, guiding principles, and philosophy for selection of faculty, as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.  Through the screening and hiring process, the departments verify that prospective faculty members have the knowledge, communication, and instructional skills necessary to be effective instructors.

For each full-time faculty position, a search committee is appointed by the Provost in consultation with the Dean of the School where the vacancy exists.  Search committees normally consist of all faculty members teaching within the discipline, the School Dean, and at least one non-discipline faculty representative. [1]

The Faculty Credentials are stored in the Human Resources office once gathered from the various sources. Information concerning teaching assignments and associated faculty credentials for those assignments are weighed during the hiring process by program coordinators and faculty search committees.

Information in the attached Faculty Roster [2] documents all courses taught by full-time and adjunct faculty in the Fall 2016 term and the Spring 2017 term and lists the credentials and degrees of the faculty members that qualify them to teach these courses.

As noted in the Faculty Handbook, the following guidelines prescribe essential credentials for the faculty teaching at Reinhardt University:

  1. Faculty teaching general education courses at the undergraduate level [shall have a] 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).
  1.  Faculty teaching associate degree courses [shall have a] 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).
  1.  Faculty teaching baccalaureate courses [shall have a] doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline).
  2. Faculty teaching graduate and post-baccalaureate [Reinhardt’s master’s level] course work [shall have an] earned doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.

The University provides policies, procedures, and guidelines for the ongoing review of credentials and for faculty development as outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Reinhardt University full and part-time instructional faculty must either meet the degree credential requirements as stated above or be approved by the school Dean as an exception to the degree credentials requirements.

In special or extraordinary circumstances, if a faculty member does not meet the degree guidelines, Reinhardt considers one or more of the following as appropriate credentials for demonstrated professional competence, effectiveness, and capacity that contribute to teaching quality and student learning outcomes. [3]

  1. Significant recognition or achievement in scholarship (presentations/publications) or creative activity in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.
  2. Certification and/or recognition in the area of professional specialization.
  3. Extended, successful work experience in the field of professional specialization.

Such credentials are documented as part of the Review of Faculty Qualifications form. For 21 of the instructors teaching in 2016-17, the deans submitted a Review of Faculty Qualifications, providing justifications based on credentials other than education (4 in School of Arts & Humanities, 8 in McCamish School of Business, 2 in Price School of Education, and 7 in School of Performing Arts). An example of a completed Review of Faculty Qualifications form is provided as supporting documentation. [4] A similar form was used in past years only for adjuncts [5], but starting with the 2016-17 academic year, the use of the form was expanded to include full-time faculty in those cases where their educational qualifications did not match the requirements for courses taught.  Acceptable documentation accompanying this form includes, but is not limited to, a current curriculum vita, copies of appropriate licenses or certifications, related research/publications, professional recordings, performance or exhibit programs, copies of awards and honors, course evaluations or achievements that demonstrate effective teaching, verification of work related to teaching experience, and/or other credentials that clearly show the instructor is qualified to teach the subject material of the course.

In instances where an exception is granted, Reinhardt University relies on screening and documentation by academic deans with written justifications and approval by the Provost. For instance, in the case of a faculty member who meets the standards for a discipline or level of instruction based on a degree other than their highest degree (i.e., the faculty member possesses a doctoral degree but teaches in a discipline based on having a master's degree), the University requires at least 18 hours within the specific discipline they are teaching or a written statement (as part of the Review of Faculty Qualifications form) explaining the qualifications to teach in that discipline.  All official transcripts are submitted to the Provost as are the Reviews of Faculty Qualifications completed by the Deans that justify faculty suitability to teach specific courses. Upon the Provost’s approval, these documents are forwarded to the Human Resources Office for placement in the instructor’s permanent file.

Instructional competence for all full-time faculty is assessed each semester via a web-based Course Evaluation [6] used for all courses and a performance review is conducted at the end of the academic year. [7] Similarly, all courses taught by adjunct faculty are evaluated and an annual performance review is conducted by the immediate supervisor, usually the Dean or program coordinator. [8] The results of the student evaluations and performance reviews are provided to the faculty and form the basis for an improvement plan if needed.  SmartEvals, Reinhardt’s course evaluation system generates the MyFocus report for each instructor, which provide areas of improvement. [9]

Reinhardt University requires that a vita and an official transcript, with the highest degrees earned in the discipline being taught be kept on file for each faculty member in the Human Resources Office.  If the highest degree earned is not in the area of instruction, a faculty member is required to provide an official transcript for a degree in the field of instruction in addition to the highest degree, or other information that could be used in establishing credentials to teach in a given field.

For faculty teaching graduate courses, Reinhardt University considers the following to be appropriate evidence for scholarship and/or research capability: publications, presentation at local, regional, and national conferences, presentations at Reinhardt, research grants, and creative work (for M.FA. faculty).  Current evidence of scholarship and/or research capability is presented in column 4 of the Faculty Roster for every instructor who taught one or more graduate-level courses.

Conclusion

As the Reinhardt Faculty Roster demonstrate, he University employs competent faculty members who are qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.

 

Supporting Documents

[1] 2016-17 Faculty Handbook, Section V

[2] 2016-17 Faculty Roster of Credentials

[3] Faculty Handbook, Section V.2.1.6

[4] Example of Completed Faculty Qualifications Form

[5] Review of Adjuncts Qualifications Form

[6] Example of Completed Course Evaluation

[7] Example of FT Faculty Performance Review

[8] Example of Adjunct Performance Review

[9] Example of MyFocus Report