Faculty Qualifications and Tested Experience

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Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) recognizes and adheres to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) guidelines for determining qualified faculty through HLC’s guidelines in Determining Qualified Faculty Thorough HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices (March 2016). When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, HLC give primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. Faculty (including adjunct and part-time) possess an academic degree relevant to what they are teaching and at least one level above the level at which they teach, except in programs for terminal degrees or when equivalent experience is established.

This policy recognizes that in some instances, there may be a generally accepted standard with regard to some disciplines that allows for a faculty member’s qualifications to be other than an academic degree. HLC’s allows an institution to determine that a faculty member is qualified based on tested experience outside of the classroom in real-world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching. As a result, SIUC may consider related work experience, certification, licensure, demonstrated competencies, and honors, awards and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and a program’s student learning outcomes. The following are general guidelines for using tested experience to determine faculty qualifications:

  • Faculty holding a national or state-issued license or certification in the field, and 5+ years of relevant work in the field, may teach introductory level courses.
  • Faculty holding a national or state-issued license or certification in the field, with 10+ years of relevant work in the field, may teach any undergraduate level class.
  • Faculty who teach skill/activity based classes must have 5+ years of performance experience or demonstrated mastery in the skill/activity based teaching area.
  • Faculty who work in programs that hold national accreditation or have state board mandates must meet either the accreditation or state board expectations for faculty credentials.
  • A teaching license, even with extensive classroom experience, does not fulfill the guidelines for faculty qualifications and tested experience.
  • Faculty who do not meet any of the guidelines 1-5 above must show/demonstrate discipline-based expertise through scholarly activities, including but not limited to: publications, presentations, professional engagement, consulting, honors, awards, continuing education, etc.

For faculty who are deemed qualified to teach for SIUC by way of tested experience, documentation must be completed to provide a rationale and proper approvals.