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Introduction

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) is responsible for justifying and keeping a record of the qualifications of its faculty. This accountability documents that the faculty are capable of creating relevant learning outcomes and assessment measures and that the curriculum is relevant to the times. The purpose of the Faculty Qualifications and Credentials Policy and Procedures is to provide information about the credentialing and verification process for faculty members at EMU.

Academic Qualifications Policy

Excerpted from Faculty Employment and Promotion Policies and Procedures:

To be eligible for teaching undergraduate courses each faculty member is expected to have completed 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold a masters degree, or hold the minimum of a master’s degree with a major in the teaching discipline. Faculty eligible for graduate level teaching are expected to hold the terminal degree, usually the earned doctorate in the teaching discipline or a related discipline. EMU 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. Occasionally, such alternative considerations (as specified in the “Faculty Justification to Teach” procedural document) may be deemed equivalent to the minimal degree requirement noted above.

SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation/Guidelines Related to Faculty (2018)

Section 6 (Faculty) of the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation outlines the commission’s expectations with regard to the university’s teaching faculty. In addition, SACSCOC issued in December of 2020 an "interpretation for Standard 6.2.a that provides additional information. See SACSCOC Guidance on Instructor of Record.

SACSCOC also maintains guidelines for faculty credentials that should be referenced in making determinations regarding the sufficiency of faculty qualifications for instructional activity.

EMU Policies and Procedures Related to Faculty Credentialing

Responsibilities for Faculty Credentialing

Search Committee Chair Responsibilities

The Search Committee Chair will

Prospective Faculty Member Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the prospective faculty member to provide the university with all of the documentation needed to verify their credentials.

This documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Official transcripts for post-baccalaureate degree(s) attained. Only transcripts from an accredited college or university will be accepted for credentialing faculty members. Transcripts from outside the United States must be independently evaluated for equivalency using one of the university-approved providers. EMU has approved the companies below to provide credential evaluation services for degrees from foreign institutions:
  • If a hard copy transcript is submitted for a faculty member, then a hard copy transcript must be retained by the provost’s office. Scanned transcripts cannot be accepted as original.
  • If a password protected, electronic transcript is submitted by the employee, not only must the transcript be retained and printed off in color, but the transmittal page (and any additional emails) must be retained by the provost’s office as well.
  • Copies of appropriate licenses or certifications. Faculty members teaching in disciplines that require licensure and/or certifications must acquire and maintain documentation, including issuing agency and expiration date, of those credentials to be placed in the personnel files in the provost’s office. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to acquire and maintain proper licensure or certification and to provide/update documentation of such licensure and/or certification in a timely manner.
  • Curriculum vitae. Must be current at the time of application. This will be submitted to the provost’s office.
  • Verification of work experience related to teaching (as needed). If the applicant/prospective faculty member is qualified to teach based on alternate credentials, that individual must provide, when requested, satisfactory documentation for all criteria used to meet the alternate credentialing requirements. A curriculum vitae or resume is not sufficient documentation. Verification examples are provided in the next section.
  • Cost. The cost to obtain official transcripts and copies of licenses and certifications is borne by the prospective faculty member.

Current Faculty Members Responsibilities

The current faculty member will be responsible for providing:

  • Official transcripts. If a faculty member is hired in anticipation of, but prior to having fulfilled all requirements for a particular degree (such as a Ph.D.) the individual will provide the official transcript of the pending degree within 15 working days after it is awarded.
  • Copies of appropriate licenses or certifications. It is the responsibility of faculty members teaching in disciplines that require licensure and/or certifications to update documentation of such licensure and/or certification, including issuing agency and expiration date, in a timely manner to be placed in the personnel files at the department level and/or in the provost’s office.
  • Verification of work experience related to teaching (as needed). If the teaching assignment changes, the faculty member must provide satisfactory documentation for all criteria used to meet the alternate credentialing. A curriculum vitae or resume is not sufficient documentation. Verification examples are provided in the next section.
  • Cost. The cost to obtain official transcripts and copies of licenses and certifications is borne by the current faculty member.

Dean's Office Responsibilities

The dean’s office and/or associate provost office will:

  • Ensure course information is completed in Jenzabar J1 no later than the tenth day of classes of the semester. All course sections must have an instructor of record identified. Special Topics courses must also have a title that identifies the content/focus of the course of study.
  • Validate the credentials of the faculty member and verify that the credentials are consistent with EMU policy and the university’s regional accreditation guidelines.
  • Collect/maintain all required materials (transcripts, CV, etc.) for the official faculty file. These documents should be retained in hard copy and scanned into Jenzabar J1 document master according to documented procedures. 
  • Submit to the provost's office written justification if the degrees represented by the official transcripts are not directly related to the teaching assignment (see Guidance on Writing Faculty Credential Justifications). Validation of expertise must not just be the teaching discipline but in the specific area/topic being taught. The written justification for use of alternate credentials must explicitly address how the individual’s accomplishments constitute a level of preparation for the instructional assignment/particular course comparable to that of a person holding a graduate degree in the teaching field. It is understood there are certain subject areas/emerging disciplines where limited graduate programs, degrees and courses are available. Appropriate experiences and qualifications include:
    • a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline (official transcript)
    • demonstrated competence, effectiveness and capacity in the teaching discipline including as appropriate (documentation of a combination of):
      • professional licensure and certifications (including issuing agency and expiration date)
      • professional and/or artistic accomplishments (copies of programs and/or critical review)
      • additional coursework (official transcript with courses identified beyond qualifying degree; CEUs from relevant workshops attended)
      • undergraduate and graduate degrees (official transcripts)
      • in-field work experiences (reference letters on agency/institution letterhead-see explanation below; letters of agreement or acknowledgement; copies of contracts)
      • research/publications (full citation and, if requested, publication tables of contents or first/title page)
      • relevant grants (official notification of award)
      • exceptional achievements
      • honors and awards (copies of award with date and awarding agency/institution)
      • continuous documented excellence in teaching (copies of evaluations or peer review or supervisor’s summative reporting of evaluative/review process)
      • similar activities to those listed above that may be combined to verify the instructor’s expertise.
    • In some instances, it may be necessary to link appropriate experiences directly to the course objectives/student learning outcomes in a course syllabus. If used, the course syllabus would identify key course objectives and explain the evidence for concluding that the individual is prepared to meet those objectives. The documentation should show how the prospective/current faculty member’s experience and accomplishments have prepared him or her to effectively deliver the instructional assignment, focusing on accomplishments across a career but with particular weight given to recent and current work.
  • Collect original documentation to validate any alternate credentials. A curriculum vita (CV) or resume is not sufficient documentation of qualifications. If in-field experience is noted on the CV/resume, documentation must include letters (emails accepted) from former employers. The letter must document the reference’s position and organization. The reference must provide information on the applicant including but not limited  to:
    • Position title and responsibilities (especially those related specifically to the job for which individual is being hired)
    • Job performance, including performance strengths and weaknesses
    • Collegiality and interpersonal skills
    • Relationships with and evaluations by students
    • Other information deemed important by the hiring unit.

      The same level of detail is required for publications, certificates, licensures, etc. on the CV if they are being used to verify a faculty member’s qualifications to teach a specific course. The Faculty Credentialing Coordinator will review the submitted documentation for compliance.
  • Maintain all alternative documentation in Jenzabar J1 and submit materials as needed to the provost’s office.

Provost's Office Responsibilities

The provost's office will:

  • Maintain a faculty roster ensuring that faculty members meet the criteria specified in EMU policy and the university’s regional guidelines (SACSCOC Sample Faculty Roster)
    • Review and certify the credentials of each faculty member
    • Request additional information from the dean if the documentation provided is not sufficient or available in the personnel file
    • Review submitted documentation to determine compliance
  • Collaborate with dean’s offices to ensure justifications and documents are appropriate for all faculty in their assigned courses and to ensure accurate representation of faculty and their credentials (publication of websites, etc.)
  • Answer questions related to faculty qualifications and credentialing.

Responsible Party

The Provost is responsible for this policy.

Policy Review

This policy and procedures statement is to be reviewed every three years or sooner as necessary.

Distribution

Employee Handbook

Approved by Provost's Council, April 30, 2020