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Fort Lewis College Official Seal

Policy identification number: To come...

File: Faculty > Faculty Qualifications Policy

Faculty Qualifications Policy 

Policy Summary

This policy applies to all faculty members with teaching responsibilities. This includes tenured/tenure track faculty; lecturers; part-time, adjunct, temporary and/or non-recurring faculty. The policy excludes guest and visiting lecturers who do not have grading responsibilities in a course. 

Policy Owner

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Approval Date

 April 7, 2023

Effective Date

April 7, 2023  

Search Terms

pvpaa, f, faculty, qualifications

 Scheduled for Review

 Spring 2028 

I. Reason for Policy

    1. Fort Lewis College is committed to offering academic programs of demonstrable quality and effective teaching and learning. The College recognizes that to deliver quality academic programs, faculty must meet the qualifications expected by our accrediting bodies. Such qualifications are primarily met by academic credentials, and, under certain specific circumstances by tested experience in the field of instruction. Faculty must also be qualified to engage in the non-teaching responsibilities of the College, including but not limited to oversight of curriculum, research and other scholarly activities, program review, assessment, and service to the institution and broader community.

II. Policy Statement

    1. 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 comprehensive degree is the best indication that a faculty member is qualified to teach in the discipline or field.

      To be qualified to teach at Fort Lewis College, tenure-track faculty must hold a terminal degree in the discipline or field in which they will teach, and for which they will develop curricula. To be qualified to teach in interdisciplinary programs, tenure-track faculty must hold a terminal degree in a discipline that contributes to the interdisciplinary field.

      To be qualified to teach in general education courses, or any 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 s/he will teach.

      Faculty teaching in Fort Lewis College graduate programs must hold a terminal degree in the discipline and demonstrate a record of research and scholarship appropriate for the graduate program in which they teach.

      Faculty teaching in career and technical education college-level courses and occupational associate's degree programs should hold a bachelor's degree in the field and/or a combination of education, training and tested experience. 
    2. 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, interdisciplinary or language instruction. Examples of these alternative credentials include: 
      1. tested experience in practice-oriented disciplines, such as board or licensure exams
      2. industry certification
      3. recognition of language competence by tribal elders or a nationally recognized rating of proficiency in the language
      4. peer review of a significant body of work in the fine arts or interdisciplinary fields
      5. expertise in college preparation as determined by Academic Affairs to teach 100 level (1 credit) First Year Seminar courses that are special topics.
      6. the College also allows non-credentialed faculty to instruct courses if their experience includes a breadth and depth outside of the classroom in real world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.  In these circumstances, approval must be sought from the respective School Dean and Academic Affairs.