HLC’s New Qualified Faculty Rules

Are you a two-year college faculty member or a high school teacher whose course offerings include dual-credit or concurrent enrollment?  If so, you need to know about the Higher Learning Commission’s rules, effective January 2017, on what determines a qualified faculty member.

Basically, FHSU’s (and most schools in the Midwestern U.S.) primary accrediting body is implementing new rules to ensure that individuals teaching for-credit courses in higher education have the content knowledge to effectively guide student learning in those areas.  The new HLC guidelines state:

Qualified faculty members are identified primarily by credentials, but other factors, including but not limited to equivalent experience, may be considered by the institution in determining whether a faculty member is qualified. Instructors (excluding for this requirement teaching assistants enrolled in a graduate program and supervised by faculty) 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. In terminal degree programs, faculty members possess the same level of degree. When faculty members are employed based on equivalent experience, the institution defines a minimum threshold of experience and an evaluation process that is used in the appointment process. Faculty teaching general education courses, or other non-occupational courses, hold a master’s degree or higher in the discipline or subfield. If a faculty member holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline or subfield 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 or subfield in which they teach.

In brief, qualified faculty must have a Master’s Degree and 18 credit hours of instruction in their specific discipline of study.

If you are a faculty member who needs to complete a degree or take extra hours to satisfy the HLC’s requirements, FHSU’s Graduate School offers programs in History, Communication, Political Science, Natural Science, English, and Psychology.  Programs are offered either in-person or online, and at tuition rates you can afford.

Find out how FHSU can help you stay compliant with the new HLC guidelines and serve your students best.


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