Troy University
SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation
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)
 
X Compliance   Partial Compliance   Non-Compliance

Narrative:  

Troy University is in compliance with this Comprehensive Standard.

A careful analysis of Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 reveals three important and related requirements that will be addressed separately in this narrative: 1) The employment of competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of Troy University; 2) The determination of acceptable qualifications of the faculty with primary consideration given to the highest earned degree in the discipline, and secondarily to a number of other significant factors (e.g., other degrees, related work experiences, documented excellence in teaching, etc.) that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes; and, 3) The justification and documentation of faculty qualifications by Troy University.

The employment of competent faculty members

The first requirement within this standard focuses on the employment process (i.e., recruitment, selection, and appointment) and the connection of this process to the mission and goals of Troy University. Assessment of this requirement follows.

Two key words in the requirement beg definition to guide the assessment:

  • “Competent,” meaning adequate, suitable, sufficient for the purpose, and
  • “Qualified,” meaning meeting the requirements for a specific position.

The process of recruiting, selecting, and appointing faculty members is detailed in the Troy University Faculty Handbook (Section 3.3).

The employment process is detailed further in a formal Human Resources policy on employment procedures and in an Academic Operating Procedure on interview procedures (AOP-6-24-08-01).

There are a number of important safeguards in this process. A search/screening committee is appointed to ensure fairness. The procedure for evaluating candidates and conducting interviews is very specific with strong emphasis on credentials and quality. Final approval of new hires is elevated to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost and the Chancellor. All initial appointments are probationary and only for one year. This process serves to satisfy the “competent” and “qualified” aspects of the requirement.

The mission and goals of Troy University (also provided on page 6 of the Troy University Faculty Handbook are stated below for ease of reference:

Mission Statement

Troy University is a public institution comprised of a network of campuses throughout Alabama and worldwide. International in scope, Troy University provides a variety of educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels for a diverse student body in traditional, non-traditional, and emerging electronic formats. Academic programs are supported by a variety of student services which promote the welfare of the individual student. Troy University’s dedicated faculty and staff promote discovery and exploration of knowledge and its application to life-long success through effective teaching, service, creative partnerships, scholarship and research.

Goals

  1. Provide an international scope to University programs and services.
  2. Provide a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in traditional, non-traditional and electronic formats.
  3. Maintain a diverse student population.
  4. Provide services that promote the individual welfare of students.
  5. Maintain a dedicated faculty and staff.
  6. Promote discovery and exploration of knowledge dedicated to life-long learning success.
  7. Ensure effective teaching.
  8. Ensure the development of creative partnerships, scholarship and research.
  9. Ensure efficient and effective operations and to assess and provide resources as needed to implement institutional mission, goals and objectives.”

The unique mission and goals of Troy University demand a stringent, yet flexible, faculty employment process that can apply to “a network of campuses,” “a variety of educational programs,” “a diverse student body,” and a mixture of “traditional, nontraditional, and emerging electronic formats.”

The conclusion drawn in regard to this portion of the Comprehensive Standard is that Troy University employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish its mission and goals.

Determination of acceptable qualifications

Moving from the important employment process to the second requirement in this standard, the focus now changes to determining acceptable faculty qualifications for teaching specific courses with primary consideration given to the highest earned degree in the discipline and secondary consideration to other significant factors that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. Assessment details are presented below:

  • In a formal Academic Operating Procedure (AOP-10-23-07-01), Troy University has adopted the SACS/COC guidelines on faculty credentials as the standard for determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty. The guidelines are reasonable and measurable and have withstood the test of time in the determination of acceptable faculty qualifications. Evidence of adherence to the policy guidelines, and to affording primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline, may be found on the faculty rosters.
  • Evidence that Troy University gives secondary consideration (for determining acceptable faculty qualifications) to a number of other factors that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes reside in the following sources:
     
    1. The faculty rosters.
    2. Individual faculty files which include official transcripts, a current vitae, certifications to teach specific courses, annual evaluations, and student evaluations.
    3. Further evidence is contained in the compliance reports on faculty evaluations (Comprehensive Standard 3.7.2) and professional development (Comprehensive Standard 3.7.3). Note that the evaluation process for both full-time and part-time faculty is centered on continuing academic performance which serves to validate the determination of acceptable qualifications. The “ongoing professional development” of faculty members is certainly critical to the continuing determination of acceptable qualifications. It is clear in the compliance report at Comprehensive Standard 3.7.3 that Troy University provides an abundance of professional development opportunities that its faculty members are taking full advantage of.

The conclusion drawn with regard to this portion of the Comprehensive Standard is that Troy University is effectively determining acceptable faculty qualifications to teach specific courses and is giving primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline and secondary consideration to other important factors.

Justification and Documentation of Faculty Qualifications

The third requirement embedded in Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 is closely connected to the second one above and addresses the very important administrative mandate that Troy University must justify and document its faculty qualifications. Assessment revealed the following:

  • Each full-time and part-time Troy University faculty member is formally certified to teach specific courses on Troy University Standard Form 384-198, “Certification for Faculty” that is approved by the dean and included in the official faculty member’s file.
  • Academic Operating Procedure 10-23-07-01 on Faculty Qualifications and Credentials, mentioned above, also applies to faculty members whose academic credentials do not satisfy the adopted standard. Note that such faculty members may be certified to teach a specific course(s) with substantial justification to evidence their qualifications. This justification is documented and attached to the certification form. These faculty members are identified in column four of the faculty rosters. Also, for ease of reference, the justification document for each of these special cases is included in a separate file. It should be noted that in the process of an extensive re-examination of faculty credentials for courses taught during fall 2007 and spring 2008, it was found that several faculty members, previously certified to teach certain courses, no longer met the strict standards adopted by AOP 10-23-07-01 and have been de-certified. These de-certifications are reflected in the appropriate justification documents. This is further evidence of Troy University’s commitment to academic excellence among its faculty.
  • Of course, faculty qualifications are documented in various other ways (e.g., annual evaluations, student evaluations, etc.) and included in the official faculty files.

The conclusion drawn with regard to this portion of the Comprehensive Standard is that Troy University is properly justifying and documenting faculty qualifications.

Summary

In summary, Troy University is in compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1.

 

Supporting Documentation Location
Academic Operating Procedures (AOP) http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/aop/
Comprehensive Standard 3.7.2 http://sacs.troy.edu/reports/03-07-02.html
Comprehensive Standard 3.7.3 http://sacs.troy.edu/reports/03-07-03.html
Employment Procedures, Human Resources http://www.troy.edu/humanresources/policiesandprocedures.htm
Faculty Handbook, 2008 Edition http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/Faculty-Handbook-2008-Edition.pdf
Faculty Rosters http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/faculty-rosters/
Standard Form 384-198, Certification for Faculty http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/Faculty_Certification_Form_384-198.pdf

 

Last Updated: 09/08/2008