Faculty Credential Evaluation and Documentation
University Policy Number 3005
Categorized: Academic Policies
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost
Related Law & Policy:
This policy applies to all George Mason University faculty. This includes all instructional faculty (tenured/tenure-track, term, or adjunct) and administrative/professional faculty.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
To ensure academic quality, George Mason University expects that all faculty will be suitably qualified according to the standards of their respective fields. The university also seeks to remain compliant with the regulations and expectations of its accrediting bodies – specifically, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) as well as with all applicable federal and state laws.
To meet these standards, the university must ensure not only that all faculty are appropriately qualified to teach the courses to which they are assigned, but also that their credentials and qualifications are documented in a timely fashion and in accordance with external requirements. Faculty should not be permitted to begin teaching until their qualifications have been evaluated and documented according to the relevant procedures.
George Mason University defines “suitably qualified” as, at minimum, maintaining compliance with the expectations of SACS-COC for faculty credentials or other qualifications. Individual departments may establish more stringent requirements. (Information on the current expectations of SACS-COC may be obtained from that organization’s website or from the Office of the Provost.)
In most circumstances, appropriate documentation will consist of an official transcript of the highest degree earned at a regionally-accredited institution or equivalent, and/or any other degree that qualifies the individual to teach his or her assigned courses. (In the case of degrees earned at institutions outside the U.S., a certified third-party translation of the transcript and an evaluation of the degree is also required.) If the individual is qualified partly through professional experience, a curriculum vitae or resume is also required. In circumstances in which a transcript is not available, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President will work with the colleges and schools to determine an appropriate method of documenting the individual’s credentials and qualifications.
Faculty: Individual faculty members are responsible for providing appropriate documentation of their credentials in a timely fashion in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment. The faculty member is responsible for providing a certified third-party translation of the transcript and diploma for any international degrees.
Academic Departments/Local Academic Units: In most circumstances, local academic units bear primary responsibility for evaluating the credentials of prospective faculty in accordance with the standards of the particular field, and ensuring that they are consistent with the standards promulgated by the relevant department, college or school, the central university administration, SACS-COC and other relevant bodies (e.g., discipline-specific accrediting bodies). Academic departments are also responsible for collecting the credentials of adjunct faculty in a timely fashion.
Colleges and Schools: Colleges and schools bear primary responsibility for ensuring that departments or local units use appropriate criteria for evaluating faculty credentials, and that document collection procedures are followed in accordance with the standards promulgated by the relevant department, college or school, the central university administration, SACS-COC and other relevant bodies (e.g., discipline-specific accrediting bodies).
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President: The Office of the Provost is responsible for processing credential documents and maintaining records on faculty credentials that meet the documentation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges. The Office of the Provost is also responsible for ensuring that justifications for adjuncts have been provided as needed to clarify or explain an individual’s suitability to teach a particular course or type of courses. The Office of the Provost is also responsible for providing guidance in the interpretation of SACS and other policies, and for providing assistance to academic departments or the colleges and schools in verifying credentials.
V. OTHER INFORMATION
Deans of college-level units are expected to ensure that their units remain in compliance with this policy. If necessary, the Provost may address non-compliance through performance reviews or other measures as appropriate.
VII. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL
The policies herein are effective March 15, 2011. This policy shall be reviewed annually and revised as needed.
Senior Vice President
Date approved: March 21, 2011
Revised: August 23, 2018
Revised: March 9, 2021