/ Provost's Office

Policy for Determining Qualified Faculty

Hope College will take the following steps to ensure that courses are taught by qualified faculty, pursuant to the Higher Learning Commission’s revised guidelines, to be active on September 1, 2017. This policy is designed to align the policies and practices of Hope College with Assumed Practice B.2 and Core Component 3.C.

As a policy, Hope College will strive to hire faculty with a terminal or a master’s degree in the relevant discipline or subfield to teach its courses. Faculty members teaching general education shall have a master’s degree in the particular discipline or subfield. 

When a faculty member holds a master’s or terminal degree in the discipline or subfield in which he/she will teach, a copy of the faculty member’s transcript will be placed in her/his personnel file to provide verification of expertise. This policy is consistent with Hope’s existing practice. This document codifies this policy and brings Hope College into compliance with Assumed Practice B.2 of the Higher Learning Commission. 

For faculty candidates without the requisite degree required by Assumed Practice B.2, Hope College will only hire those candidates for whom the college can identify either (a) equivalent experience or (b) if a faculty member holds a master’s degree in a different subfield other than what she or he is teaching, then the faculty member will have 18 credits in the academic discipline that qualify the faculty member to teach in that discipline or subfield. 

Equivalent experience includes a breadth and depth of experience in real-world or educational situations relevant to the discipline. To make a determination of equivalent experience, the department chair will ask the faculty candidate to provide these qualifications in writing (e.g., a vita describing the experiences in detail). The administrative supervisor (e.g., divisional dean) will review the document for approval in consultation with the department. If the administrative supervisor has concerns, she/he will consult with the provost, who will have final approval. If the experience is deemed satisfactory to provide Hope College students with an excellent educational opportunity, the candidate will be approved to teach courses relevant to this experience. 

As a general rule, faculty without a requisite degree should have a minimum of three years of experience in the discipline or subfield. If these professional experiences are deemed acceptable, the academic supervisor will write a letter indicating college approval of the relevant professional experience in place of an advanced degree. This letter will be placed into the faculty member’s personnel folder. 

Prior to each academic year, the Registrar will run a report to confirm that each faculty member has a requisite degree or sufficient equivalent experience. Any questions regarding qualifications will be forwarded to the divisional deans or relevant academic supervisor.

Faculty Approved by the Academic Affairs Board, April 18, 2017