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Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction

  1. ASSIGNMENT OF GRADUATE FACULTY: All faculty assigned to teach graduate courses and/or supervise graduate student research must be certified using the University's Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction form. Faculty are to be certified for graduate instruction in their field of specialization based on their college's published criteria of required scholarly, creative, and/or professional accomplishments; satisfactory teaching performance; and necessary terminal degree. Faculty who are not graduate certified may not participate in any aspect of graduate education. The deans of the colleges are responsible for ensuring that all faculty are certified prior to assuming their graduate assignments. For those faculty who possess a terminal degree in one discipline, but whose research has relevance in a second discipline, the department chair or relevant supervisor must submit a letter of justification to accompany the graduate certification form. For those faculty who do not possess a terminal degree, but who have been appointed in recognition of their exceptional scholarly or creative activity or their professional expertise, the department chair or relevant supervisor must submit the Exceptional Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction form to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in accordance with the policy on Academic and Professional Preparation Requirements for Faculty. Research faculty who are not affiliated with a specific department/school and college shall have their credentials reviewed in consultation with the department/school and college most closely aligned with their research. Each college's graduate certification standards shall ordinarily be recognized reciprocally by the other academic colleges.
    1. Role of the Graduate Committee
      1. Each college must form a graduate committee, whose major duties include reviewing graduate degree curricula to ensure compliance with existing University policies and procedures, developing new college graduate policies and procedures, and certifying faculty for graduate instruction.

      2. The college graduate committee will consist of graduate-level faculty from each department/school and independent program in the college. The associate dean or graduate administrator responsible for graduate studies in the college will serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of the committee.
        1. Faculty in the college will be notified of the committee meetings, agenda items, decisions and other aspects affecting graduate programs in a timely manner.

        2. Faculty will be afforded opportunities to attend meetings and to provide input on pending issues and other concerns related to the work of the committee.

    2. Levels of Certification
      1. Level I certification recognizes faculty who meet standards for scholarly and/or creative research productivity as specified by the college in which they are appointed. Faculty certified at Level I are eligible to participate in all levels of graduate education, including chairing and serving on doctoral dissertation committees and master's thesis committees.

      2. Level II certification recognizes faculty who are engaged in scholarly and/or creative activity, but who do not meet the minimum standards for Level I certification. Faculty certified at Level II are eligible to participate in selected levels of graduate teaching as defined by the college in which they are appointed. They may not chair doctoral dissertation or master's thesis committees, although they may serve on these committees.

      3. Level III certification recognizes faculty who possess a terminal degree but who, in lieu of measurable research activity, possess advanced professional expertise in a particular field. Faculty certified at Level III are eligible to teach specific graduate-level courses germane to their professional expertise. They may not chair doctoral dissertation committees or master's thesis committees, although they may serve on these committees if their particular expertise is warranted with the approval of the department/school graduate committee, the college graduate committee, the dean or designee, and the provost or designee.

    3. Process for Certification
      1. Faculty must be certified for graduate instruction every five years. At the end of the initial approval period, a review is made by the appropriate department/school and college graduate committee for renewal of the certification. Specific certification standards at Levels I, II, and III are to be set by the individual colleges.

      2. Initial Certification
        1. Criteria
          1. All faculty, full time and part time, who are certified for graduate instruction at Levels I, II, or III, must have a terminal degree in the field of specialization as defined by the discipline.

          2. Faculty certified at Level I must show evidence of substantial scholarly and/or creative activity as defined by the discipline and the college in which they are appointed.

          3. Faculty certified at Level II must show some evidence of scholarly and/or creative activity as defined by the discipline and the college in which they are appointed.

          4. Faculty certified at Level III must show evidence of specific professional expertise.

        2. Procedure
          1. After reviewing the candidate's qualifications, the appropriate department/school submits the Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction form and the necessary documents (C.V., letter of justification, if relevant) to its college graduate committee for evaluation and recommendation for approval.

          2. The college graduate committee submits to the dean or designee the completed Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction form and required documentation of qualifications of those faculty deemed eligible for certification and informs the department of its decision.

          3. The dean or designee either approves or disapproves the recommendation and informs the college committee and the department of the decision. The dean or designee forwards a copy of Certification of Faculty for Graduate Instruction form and required documents to the provost or designee.

          4. If questions arise concerning the qualifications of faculty for certification, these must be addressed to the prior level of recommendation for approval. Attempts should be made to resolve them among the recommending and approving authorities. An appeal may be made to the provost or designee if these efforts fail to resolve the problem.

      3. Recertification
        1. Criteria
          1. Faculty recertified at Level I must show continued evidence of scholarly and/or creative activity, and, where appropriate, satisfactory teaching at the advanced level in the discipline and success chairing completed dissertations, theses, or their equivalents.

          2. Criteria for recertification at Level II include satisfactory teaching at the advanced level in the discipline, some evidence of scholarly and/or creative activity as defined by the discipline, and evidence of professional contributions to the discipline.

          3. Criteria for recertification at Level III are the same as for the initial period of certification.

        2. Procedure – see Procedure under Initial Certification above.

    4. Exceptions and Termination
      1. Exceptions to this policy, for example duration of certification and/or substitution of equivalent qualifications, will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances affecting the faculty member that can be documented in writing by the program and/or department/school. Such exceptions require the approval of the appropriate department/school committee, the college graduate committee, the dean or designee, and the provost or designee. However, any approved extension to a tenure-seeking faculty member's probationary period will automatically extend their graduate certification by the same period.

      2. Under circumstances that hamper the performance of all scholarly and/or creative activity (e.g., a public health emergency) the provost or designee may extend the duration of graduate certifications for all faculty.

      3. Failure to maintain the required level of creative, scholarly and/or professional activity and satisfactory teaching performance will result in termination of certification for graduate instruction.

- Approved by the provost and vice president for academic affairs
September 5, 2003
Revised and approved by the president
July 7, 2006
May 21, 2014
April 6, 2017
February 21, 2021


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