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3.7 Faculty

Comprehensive Standard:

3.7.1 The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution 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. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty. (See Commission guidelines "Faculty Credentials.") (Faculty competence)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, to include four doctoral degrees. UWG faculty qualifications adhere to the SACS-defined faculty credential guidelines (SACS Policy on "Faculty Credential Guidelines" [1]) that follow:

  1. Faculty teaching general education courses at the undergraduate level: Doctoral or master's degree in the teaching discipline or master's degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline)
  1. Faculty teaching baccalaureate courses: Doctoral or master's degree in the teaching discipline or master's degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline).
  1. Faculty teaching graduate and post-baccalaureate course work: Earned doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline (see  Fall/Spring 2013 Faculty Roster [2]).
  1. Graduate teaching assistants: Master's in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations, Ph.D. in Psychology (student handbook section on Graduate Teaching Assistants [3]) and English-History Proposal for Graduate GTAs.

Policies of the University of West Georgia support SACS Guidelines by describing the requisite criteria for faculty appointments. The UWG Faculty Handbook [4] (101.0104 Appointment Considerations), which aligns with the Georgia Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.1 Faculty Employment policy [5], provides a basic statement that reads:

"Every appointment shall be made solely on the basis of merit and the special qualifications of the individual for the work demanded by the position. For teaching faculty, special considerations shall be given to the candidate's teaching ability; his or her research ability; his or her achievements; his or her successful experience (this must necessarily be waived in the case of beginners otherwise qualified); his or her desirable personal qualities, judged on the basis of personal interview; his or her complete biographical data; his or her recommendations; and his or her general usefulness or promise to the University."      

Further, UWG policy stipulates the degree required for appointment to faculty ranks. Section 101.02 [4] specifies that appointment to the rank of Instructor requires at least a "Master's degree with plans for further academic advancement. Exception may be made in fields where recognition and achievement are of more significance than receipt of degree." For appointment to the ranks of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor, 101.02 [4] states that candidates must hold a "Terminal degree in discipline or extraordinary recognition and achievement in specialization. Those holding academic rank in the Library must earn a second master's degree."

Faculty records are maintained in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. These records include the following documents: Transcripts, CVs, institutional justifications in nonstandard situations, personnel actions to include letters of offer and faculty contracts, and the Annual and Periodic Reviews of Academic Deans. Faculty transcripts are updated when a new degree is earned, which occurs most frequently when a faculty member completes a terminal degree shortly after being hired. Faculty teaching evaluations are maintained in the academic departments in the colleges, School of Nursing, and Library.

The Institution also employs Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in the Departments of Psychology, English, History, Sociology, and Criminology. All UWG Graduate Teaching Assistants must abide by the guidelines noted in the Georgia Board of Regents Policy Manual 8.3.5.2 Graduate Teaching/Laboratory Assistants [6], which include: (1) Participating in training to prepare them for classroom teaching responsibilities, (2) working under the direct supervision of faculty members, and (3) having their performance assessed at regularly planned intervals. Examples of evidence that support the purpose, selection, and oversight of West Georgia GTAs are provided in the Ph.D. in Psychology Student Handbook (section on GTAs) and English-History Proposal for GTAs [7] developed by the College of Arts and Humanities; the Provost approved this proposal in 2011. Further, the Office of the Provost requires the verification of credentials for each GTA hired. The completed Verification of Qualifications – Graduate Teaching Assistants [8] form is maintained in each GTA faculty file in the Provost’s Office.

The UWG mission [9] – to provide educational excellence in a personal environment – influences how departments select and hire new faculty. Teaching quality is always an important factor in hiring decisions. For example, the Department of English hires additional faculty to keep class sizes low (N = 24) for the freshman English sequence. The College of Science and Mathematics hires faculty who are enthusiastic about working with students in undergraduate research. In fact, in four of the five COSM departments, 100% of the faculty works with students in undergraduate research projects; in the fifth department, nearly half (45%) of the faculty do so. Other colleges emphasize the educational mission by bringing real-world understanding to the classroom through their faculty’s professional experiences outside the university setting. For example, all faculty in the School of Nursing are required to hold current nursing licenses. The College of Education finds it valuable to hire faculty with previous work experience in the K-12 sector. Similarly, the Richards College of Business purposely hires some of its faculty (26.8%) in a category called Professionally Qualified (PQ) faculty. PQ faculty must hold a graduate degree in the relevant field and have recent experience in a position with significant duties related to the teaching field (e.g., work experience in the corporate world), an arrangement that aligns with university policy and the Richards College of Business accrediting body, the Association for Advancing College Schools of Business (AACSB).

The report for principle 2.8 discusses how the number of full-time faculty members at UWG is adequate to support the university’s mission and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs. 

The report for principle 3.5.4 provides information on the percentage of the baccalaureate level course hours taught by the faculty holding appropriate terminal degrees.

These standards apply to all members of the faculty regardless of the instructional delivery medium or location (i.e. online or off-campus).

UWG participates in two collaborative programs USG eCore [10] and the Georgia WebMBA [11]. Faculty rosters for both programs are linked below.

Supporting Documentation: