- Qualification by Credentials
Determination by credentials is the primary method utilized to determine faculty qualifications. Faculty credentials refers to the degrees that faculty have earned that provide evidence of knowledge of specific disciplines or fields of study. The degree awarded forms the basis for faculty knowledge of what students of the discipline should learn and/or be able to do as a graduate in the discipline or field. Successful completion of a graduate degree is the best indication that a faculty member is qualified to teach in the discipline or field.
In general, a Master’s Degree in the discipline of instruction is considered the most appropriate qualification. Instructors must hold a degree at least one degree higher than the level of instruction for which the instructor teaches. For example, instructors teaching in an Associate Degree program must have a minimum of a Bachelor Degree in the discipline.
To be qualified to teach courses in a Bachelor Degree Program, or other courses that transfer, faculty must hold at least a master’s degree in the discipline or subfield. Alternatively, a faculty member teaching general education or transferable courses may hold a master’s degree in a different field and have completed at least 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline in which the faculty member will teach. To be qualified to teach in a career/technical program area, especially one-year Certificate of Completion programs, the minimum qualifications include experience and credentials or certifications in the area of instruction.
Faculty teaching in graduate programs must hold an earned doctoral degree in the discipline or a closely aligned field and possess a demonstrable record of teaching and scholarship appropriate for the respective graduate program.
If an applicant for an available instructional position has qualifications by experience but does not have academic credentials, the individual may be hired but will have one year of supervised instruction, mentored by a full-time SKC instructor who will maintain responsibility for quality and integrity of instruction.
Faculty members who are hired without the required credentials may be granted a two-year waiver if the individual agrees to enroll in an academic program that will provide the appropriate credentials and maintains progress in obtaining the appropriate credentials.
- Qualification by Factors other than Credentials
Earned credentials are the primary evaluation mechanism for determining faculty qualifications. However, other credentials may be considered for specific disciplines such as practice-oriented disciplines, cultural or language instruction, or career and technical fields. The Department Head and the Vice President of Academic Affairs will evaluate candidate’s alternative credentials and their appropriateness for the position.
Examples of these alternative credentials include:
- Tested experience in practice-oriented career and technical disciplines, such as board or licensure exams. Tested experience implies that some objective measure ensures that the individual knowledge and expertise are sufficient for determining what students will learn and have learned. Alternative credentials ensure that faculty members have experience that clearly contributes to student learning outcomes and can be considered in lieu of formal academic preparation.
- Industry certification or Relevant Industry Experience. Industry certification or at least 2 years of relevant industry experience may be determined to be an appropriate qualification for faculty members teaching in career and technical programs that are Certificates of Completion.
- Montana Class 7 license for language instructors.
- Eminent Scholars: An individual who has achieved exceptional status or recognition may be hired to teach appropriate courses in the field of recognition. Generally, faculty members who have renowned qualifications include instructors for art or Native American culture or language classes that are recognized as experts in their area of instruction. This category may also apply to individuals with a record of published, peer-reviewed, professional papers or reports or other such demonstrable record of achievement in the field.
- For academic programs with professional accreditation or external licensure, this policy does not supersede minimum qualifications specified by that entity.
- E. The Human Resources Office will maintain appropriate documentation of qualifications, including records of exceptions, for all faculty who are assigned to teach credit-based college courses. In all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its entire faculty. The College may periodically request updated documents from faculty members to maintain the personnel file. Faculty members will be responsible for updating their individual personnel file and recording qualifications earned after initial hire.
Adopted on: Policy has been in place prior to Sept. 2003
Revised on: 8/21/13
Reviewed: 9/2016, 5/2020