SACS Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On


3.5 Undergraduate Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.5.4 At least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level are taught by faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree, usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree. (Terminal degrees of faculty)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia follows policies of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia specifying requirements for degree programs. In accordance with Section 2.3.1 of the BOR’s Academic and Student Affairs Handbook [1], baccalaureate degrees at the University of West Georgia contain no less than 120 semester hours and require at least 21 semester hours for upper division courses in the major (note: the Bachelor of Music programs contain more than 120 semester hours). The Board of Regents also stipulates that each hour of course credit must have the equivalent of at least 750 minutes of instruction. Therefore, a three credit hour course offered at UWG must have 2250 instructional minutes (750x3 [2]). In addition, UWG policy further requires that each hour of course credit require the equivalent of two hours per week of time (or effort) outside of class. The report for Federal Requirement 4.9 offers a more detailed definition of credit hours at the University of West Georgia.

The report for comprehensive standard 3.7.1 provides more details on UWG faculty (on campus, off-campus, and distance learning) competence. In particular, it provides the Faculty Roster Form (Qualifications of Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty) as evidence that the institution uses the SACS "Faculty Credentials Guidelines" [3] while defining faculty qualifications.  

At least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level (3000 and 4000 level courses) are taught by the faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree. A list of faculty credentials is found in the response to principle 3.7.1. Evidence of compliance with 3.5.4 is provided in the following narrative and tables.

Table 1 [4] includes both the number and percentage of total credit hours taught by faculty holding terminal degrees. The table is organized by semester (fall 2012 and spring 2013), location (all locations at which a student could earn more than 50% of an undergraduate baccalaureate degree are included), and then by course prefix. The University of West Georgia does not have an undergraduate major in every prefix, but this analysis provides the greatest detail to assure compliance with principle 3.5.4.

Table 1 [4] provides evidence of compliance in every content area (represented by course prefix) and at each location at which a student could earn more than 50% of a baccalaureate degree, with the exceptions listed below.

The remaining narrative and tables provide evidence for compliance and supporting analysis for each of these areas, locations, and terms.

The ABED and MEDT prefixes do not align with undergraduate majors. These prefixes offer support courses at the undergraduate level only. Therefore, this principle does not apply to these prefixes.

The psychology (PSYC) courses offered in the SP13 semester constitute less than 9% of the credit hours generated by the psychology department at the 3000 and 4000 level during that term. The psychology department offers very few courses online (as evidenced by having zero credit hours online in the F12 semester). As such, they are within the 25% of credit hours offered at a location at which the major can be completed.

Table 2 [5] provides an alternative justification for the NURS prefix representing the Nursing programs. Nursing as a discipline suffers from a large shortage of faculty with terminal degrees. To help address this issue, UWG initiated an online Doctorate of Education degree with a major in Nursing Education. The School of Nursing also has a master’s degree in Nursing (MSN) that prepares students for this doctoral program. While these programs provide a path toward alleviating this problem in the future, they also complicate the problem in the short term as nursing faculty with terminal degrees are pulled from the undergraduate classroom to teach at the graduate level. Notwithstanding these challenges, the School of Nursing is compliant with principle 3.5.4 using the following justification.

The SACS principle allows for the 25% rule to apply to "faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree - usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree." The baccalaureate program in nursing (offered in Carrollton and Newnan) is out of compliance with this principle when only credit hours generated by faculty members holding terminal degrees are counted. However, the School of Nursing employs six faculty members who hold the equivalent of a terminal degree. Justification for these six faculty members is attached in Appendix 1 [6]. Counting the credit hours generated by these six faculty members along with the faculty members who hold terminal degrees, the baccalaureate degree program in Nursing offered in Carrollton and in Newnan is in compliance with the 25% rule as required by this principle. This analysis is shown in Table 2 [5].

It should be noted that although data for this principle represent Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters, the nursing program is a sequential program in which faculty teach courses at different intervals across a two year period. Further evidence that faculty members holding terminal degrees teach courses throughout the curriculum is available in the following chart: Faculty Teaching BSN [7].

Table 3 [8] addresses the following prefixes, terms, and locations: READ (F12 Newnan); ECED (F12 Rome); PHED (F12 Rome and SP13 Newnan); and ECED (SP13 Rome). All education courses at the Rome and Newnan locations support the BS.Ed. with a major in Early Childhood Education. This program can be completed by students at either location. As such, the courses should be analyzed as a block rather than individually by each content area. When these content areas are combined and reviewed as a degree program, more than 25% of the credit hours generated at each location are taught by faculty members holding terminal degrees. Thus, Table 3 [8] provides evidence of compliance with 3.5.4 for courses and locations addressed in this program.

Table 4 [9] addresses the upper division marketing courses taught online in the F12 and SP13 semesters (MKTG). In review of the Marketing classes alone, the major is out of compliance. However, these courses are part of a portfolio of courses required for a major in marketing within the B.B.A. degree. Other requirements include courses within the business core that are all upper division. In adding these courses to the analysis, Table 4 [9] shows that a student who completes the major online would receive more than 25% of the credit hours taught by faculty members holding terminal degrees. As such, the B.B.A. in Marketing is in compliance with this principle. The B.B.A. program sheet for marketing is available [10].

Similarly, Table 5 [11] shows the upper division required courses within the B.S. with a major in Criminology baccalaureate program. If all upper division criminology courses are included, the B.S. degree with a major in Criminology offered online is out of compliance with the 25% rule. However, when only the required courses are included, this degree program offered in an online delivery format is in compliance as shown in Table 5 [11]. The degree program requirements for the B.S. with a major in Criminology is available [12]

The evidence presented in Tables 1-5, the supporting documents, and the appendixes provide evidence that the University of West Georgia is in compliance with principle 3.5.4. At least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level are taught by the faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree - usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree. The evidence shows this is accurate across all majors and locations, including courses and programs offered online.

Supporting Documentation: