Evaluating, Documenting, and Justifying Faculty Qualifications and Credentials
University Policy Number 3005
Categorized: Academic Policies
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost
Related Law & Policy:
- Principles of Accreditation: Standard 6.2.a, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- George Mason University Faculty Credentialing Manual
- University Policy 3002 – Cross-Level Listing of Undergraduate/Graduate Courses
- University Policy 3009 – Graduate Appointments
- University Policy 3014 – Distance Education
- Graduate Student Hiring Rules & Procedures
This policy applies to all George Mason University instructional faculty (tenured/tenure-track, term, adjunct, and affiliate), research faculty, administrative/professional faculty, postdoctoral research fellows, research staff, and graduate assistants serving as instructor of record, as defined in the George Mason University Faculty Credentialing Manual.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
George Mason University ensures that all faculty are suitably qualified to teach the courses to which they are assigned and that their credentials and qualifications are documented in a timely fashion. Faculty must not begin teaching until documentation of their credentials have been received by the University according to the relevant procedures. Degree credentials used as justification for teaching assignments must have been awarded by an institution accredited by a Mason-recognized accrediting agency (see Mason-Recognized Institutional Accrediting Agencies) .
“Credentials” refers to appropriate official documentation of degree(s) earned and international evaluations and translations (if required).
“Suitably qualified” means, at minimum, maintaining compliance with the expectations of SACSCOC and the George Mason Faculty Credentialing Manual.
Individual faculty members shall provide appropriate documentation of their credentials in a timely fashion in accordance with this policy and with the terms and conditions of their employment. The faculty member shall provide international evaluations of credentials for any international degrees, as well as certified third-party translations of transcripts and other documents that are not in English. See also University Policy 3014 – Distance Education for information regarding the qualifications and expectations of faculty teaching distance education courses.
In most circumstances, local academic units (LAUs) bear primary responsibility for evaluating the credentials of prospective faculty in accordance with the standards of the particular field. LAUs shall ensure that their evaluations of credentials and qualifications are consistent with the standards promulgated by the relevant department, college or school, the central university administration, SACSCOC, and other relevant bodies (e.g., discipline-specific accrediting agencies). Academic departments shall collect the credentialing documents of adjunct faculty and submit them to the Office of the Provost in a timely fashion according to established procedures.
Deans’ offices shall ensure that LAUs use appropriate criteria for evaluating faculty credentials prior to hiring and that document-collection procedures established by the Office of the Provost are followed.
When requested, Deans’ Offices shall submit information justifying and documenting the qualifications of faculty members serving in their respective colleges/schools, using processes and procedures established by the Office of the Provost. Deans’ offices shall ensure that faculty course assignments and any requested justifications are consistent with the George Mason University Faculty Credentialing Manual and the requirements of SACSCOC.
The Office of the Provost shall process credentialing documents and maintain records on faculty credentials that meet the documentation standards of SACSCOC. The Office of the Provost shall also ensure that reasonable and appropriate justifications of alternate credentialing are provided by deans’ offices as needed to clarify or explain an individual’s suitability to teach a particular course or within a particular discipline. The Office of the Provost shall provide guidance in the interpretation of policies from SACSCOC and others, and they shall provide assistance to LAUs or the colleges and schools in verifying credentials.
Deans and directors 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.
VI. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL
Carol D. Kissal
Senior Vice President
Mark R. Ginsberg
Provost and Executive Vice President
Date approved: March 21, 2011
Last Review/Revision: May 12, 2021