15.4 Evidences that faculty members are qualified by training, earned degrees, scholarship, experience, and classroom performance and possess the appropriate academic credentials, requisite knowledge, skills, and experiences for teaching assignments. (Faculty Competence)
a. Faculty members teaching at the associate or bachelor’s level have earned a master’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, including 18 graduate hours in the discipline of teaching assignment.
b. Faculty members teaching certificate or associate degree courses not designed for transfer to any bachelor’s degree have earned a bachelor’s degree in the teaching discipline or an associate degree and have demonstrated competencies in the teaching discipline.
c. Faculty members teaching graduate courses have earned a terminal degree from an accredited institution in their teaching discipline.
d. Faculty members without the required degrees are employed only when they have demonstrated competencies which the institution has determined through a formally documented process to be equivalent to the required degree.
i. Institution makes a written determination of equivalence prior to issuing a contract to any of these faculty members.
ii. Faculty members deemed qualified by demonstrated competencies will not be considered when determining compliance with Standard 15.1 or the required ratios of Standard 15.6. (In Lieu of Educational Credentials)
NOTE: Primary consideration should be given to a terminal degree within each discipline. Additional considerations would include competence, eminence, and (as appropriate) undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experience in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented proficiency in teaching or research, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes.
The Institution employs qualified faculty. Not all of these faculty hold the requisite degrees outlined by these standards. Each faculty member submits his or her academic credentials, including diplomas, transcripts, and certificates as well as a resume/vita outlining their qualifications, training, experience, and education.
In the Instructional Staff Listings (2016-2017), full-time and part-time faculty are listed with the highest degree received as well as the courses they are currently teaching. Teaching discipline(s), relevant experience, and/or additional education are included as information.
Southeastern has always placed a high priority on the hiring of faculty who have demonstrated competency in their teaching discipline. Due to the fact that the College has been in existence since 1983 and the Board of Directors had little interest in becoming accredited during the early days of the Institution, a low priority was set on hiring faculty with accredited degrees. Therefore, although some of our faculty do not have the appropriate accredited degrees, we do believe that they are competent.
One of the reasons for our belief in the competency of our faculty comes from our graduates. For example, in a SWOT analysis performed early in 2016, graduates of Southeastern listed faculty as our greatest strength (31%) with only 5% listing faculty as a weakness.
We also believe that the competence of our faculty can be demonstrated in that Southeastern is fulfilling its mission to “train men and women for ministry.” Unfortunately, we do not have current statistics of the fields where our graduates serve. However, one particular interesting statistic is that although the Free Will Baptist Denomination has a denomination sponsored Bible College and two other colleges, over half of the couples who are “church planters” in Free Will Baptist are comprised of couples where one or both are Southeastern Graduates.
We have also demonstrated longevity in regards to our faculty. Our full-time faculty average over 16 years of experience at Southeastern with over half of them having been here at least 13 years and two more than 29 years. Our part time faculty average over 12 years of experience at Southeastern with six having been here at least 14 years and two more than 29 years.
We have not, however, developed a formal process for a written determination of equivalence for these faculty members.
Exhibit: Faculty Employee Files, College Office
Plan of Action:
Contracts have been developed for full and part-time (adjunct) faculty. We plan to have these approved by the Board of Directors and offer those approved contracts to all full and adjunct faculty.
Not all faculty are academically qualified as specified in the Instructional Staff Listings. However, in the ten years since we last applied to TRACS efforts have been made to ensure that all classes are taught by academically qualified staff. During that time period two full-time and one adjunct faculty have earned Masters degrees from accredited colleges and one full-time faculty earned a Ph.D. We have also hired one full-time and one adjunct with Masters degrees from Accredited colleges. In addition, one of our full-time and two of our adjuncts are seeking Masters degrees in their respective disciplines from accredited colleges and one of our full-time is seeking a Ph.D. degree in his discipline from an accredited college. These degrees are scheduled to be complete in the next two to three years.
We have identified the major areas of need and are working toward a plan to fill in some of the gaps of classes not covered by qualified faculty. One way we plan to do this is to direct present faculty who hold graduate degrees to pursue either additional graduate classes or seek advanced degrees in their teaching disciplines. We are also considering hiring new faculty. In fact, next year we will have one full-time professor retire and we in the planning stage of choosing his replacement in order to satisfy our needs.
This area is a high priority which will include a great deal of wisdom, finances and commitment. This well could be our greatest challenges in becoming accredited.