TEACHING FACULTY QUALIFICATIONS POLICY AND PROCEDURES

(to replace FPPH policy 19)

Ball State University ensures that all instructional faculty and faculty responsible for developing curriculum possess the academic preparation, training, and experience to teach in an academic setting, meet or exceed the minimum requirements of accrediting bodies, and accomplish the mission of the institution.

When determining qualifications of its teaching faculty, Ball State University considers, where appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences, professional licenses and certifications, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching. Guidance regarding these criteria is contained in the Higher Learning Commission document entitled "Determining Qualified Faculty Through HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices."

A. Academic Qualifications

When determining acceptable qualifications of its teaching faculty, Ball State University gives primary consideration to the highest degree earned in the discipline. Degrees earned are only acceptable if awarded by an institution that holds accreditation from one of the regional or national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Foreign credentials must meet standards established by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Faculty should have completed a program of study in the discipline 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 as described below. The key consideration is whether a degree in the field or a focus in the specialization held by a faculty member appropriately matches the courses the faculty member would teach in accordance with the conventions of the academic field.

Graduate student involvement in instruction is outlined in the Faculty and Professional Personnel Handbook, “Graduate Assistants in Teaching Roles” and in the Graduate School’s “Guidelines and Information for Ball State University Graduate Assistants.”

1. Undergraduate Courses Enrolling Only Baccalaureate Students

Faculty teaching undergraduate courses enrolling only baccalaureate students may be deemed qualified if they have earned a:

  1. Master’s degree or higher in the teaching discipline; or
  2. Master’s degree or higher in any discipline with at least 18 graduate semester credit hours in the discipline in which they are teaching.

2. Master’s-level Graduate Courses and Mixed Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

Faculty teaching master’s-level graduate courses or taught/with undergraduate/graduate courses may be deemed qualified if they possess a:

  1. Record of research, scholarship, or achievement appropriate for the graduate program; and
    a. A terminal degree (e.g. Ph.D., Ed.D., J.D., MFA, etc. as determined by academic department) in the teaching discipline or subfield; or
    b. Terminal degree in any discipline with at least 18 completed graduate semester credit hours in the teaching discipline.

3. Doctoral-level Courses

Faculty teaching doctoral courses may be deemed qualified if they possess a:

  1. Terminal degree in the teaching discipline; and
  2. Demonstrated record of research and scholarship appropriate to the program and degree offered.

B. Experience-based Qualifications

In the absence of the academic qualifications articulated above (Section II.A), qualification to teach in a particular discipline may be based on other credentials.

A department may justify a faculty member’s assignment to teach a given course based on a combination of academic, experiential, and other credentials including, as appropriate: undergraduate or graduate degrees, related work experiences, professional licenses and certifications, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching. These experiences should be equivalent to the degree that would otherwise be required for the faculty teaching position. This experience should be tested experience in that it includes a breadth and depth of experience outside of the classroom in real-world situations relevant to and current in the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.

Although appropriate experiences will vary from discipline to discipline, departments relying on experienced-based qualifications should: 1) consider experiences and engagement activities that qualify faculty to teach pursuant to a system of evaluation established by the agency accrediting the discipline, or 2) develop faculty hiring qualifications that outline a minimum threshold of experience and a system of evaluating the professional qualifications of the faculty member. 

Tested experience qualifications should be:

  1. Established for specific disciplines and programs; and
  2. Consistent across all hires in that area; and
  3. Expressed clearly in the position description at the time of hiring.

C. Documentation of Qualifications

It is the responsibility of the instructional unit offering the courses that the faculty member will teach to verify their teaching qualifications. The responsibility for ensuring appropriate credentials for all teaching faculty teaching lies with the applicable dean.

Copies of all credentials and original transcripts shall be maintained within 1) the faculty member’s personnel file held by the academic unit and 2) the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

University Senate Approval April 23, 2020
Board of Trustees Approval September 18, 2020

Tested Experience for New BSU Employees

Tested Experience for Current BSU Employees

HLC Requirements for Faculty Qualifications and Tested Experience

Disciplinary Terminal Degree Table