Faculty rank

Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to identify and define the faculty ranks in use at Lynn University.

Policy

The appropriate College Dean makes recommendations for all faculty appointments to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President of the University.

Members of the full-time faculty may be assigned to one of four ranks on the strength of their graduate education, their years of experience, and evidence of, or testimony to, their professorial competence. These ranks in ascending order are: Lecturer, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor.

Part-time faculty are assigned the rank of Lecturer or Instructor.

Definitions

Not Applicable.

Procedures/Guidelines

I. Minimum Criteria for Initial Assignment of Rank

In addition to the specific requirements for undergraduate and graduate appointments set forth below, in order to be appointed to the faculty of Lynn University, an individual must: (i) meet the minimum criteria for the applicable rank; (ii) provide evidence of special competence in the field(s) for which they are employed; (iii) possess an advanced degree from an accredited institution and 18 graduate credits in the subject area(s); (iv) possess personal and academic qualifications consistent with the mission of the University and with the academic needs of students served by the institution; and (v) manifest a commitment to continuous advancement in academic competence.

A. Lecturer/Instructor

Master’s Degree in the discipline or a master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline) from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.

B. Assistant Professor

Terminal Degree appropriate to the discipline or a minimum of 18 graduate hours in the teaching discipline from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.

C. Associate Professor

  1. Terminal Degree appropriate to the discipline or a terminal degree in a related field from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.
  2. Five years full-time teaching at the Assistant Professor level at a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.
  3. A record of effective teaching and evidence of contributions to education.
  4. A record of service to education.

D. Full Professor

  1. Terminal degree appropriate to the discipline or a terminal degree in a related field from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.
  2. Seven years of full-time teaching at the Associate Professor level at a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education.
  3. A record of effective teaching.
  4. A record of service to education.
  5. A record of scholarly activity.

II. Program Criteria for Assignment of Rank

A. Undergraduate Programs

All undergraduate program candidates must be proficient in oral and written communication in English, must have at least an earned Master’s degree in the teaching field or have a Master’s degree and 18 graduate semester hours in the field to be taught from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education, and two letters of recommendation. Preference will be given to those with the terminal degree, normally a doctorate, in their field. In exceptional cases, other preparation and experience may be considered (see paragraph 4.1.2.3). Evidence of academic and professional preparation, such as official transcripts, work records, technical training, performance competency records, copies of published work, and certifications, will be assessed by the applicable College Dean and kept on file as justification for appointment (see paragraph 4.1.2.2.3 below for additional information). In the case of non- degree diploma or certificate occupational courses, faculty members must provide evidence of special competence or certification in the field to be taught.

B. Graduate Programs

In addition to the minimum standards described above, faculty teaching in the University’s Graduate Degree Programs must hold the terminal degree, usually, the doctorate, in the teaching discipline or in a closely related discipline from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education. Faculty members teaching courses at the doctoral degree level must hold the earned doctorate from either a regionally accredited institution or an internationally recognized institution of higher education. All policies and regulations affecting graduate curricula and faculty certification, as well as requirements leading to graduate credit, certification and degrees, should be directed and formulated by the College Dean as appropriate, the Curriculum and Academic Standard Committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

III. Verification of Academic Credentials

The applicable College Dean will collect and examine all documents needed to demonstrate that the candidate’s academic credentials satisfy program criteria for assignment of rank. This documentation includes, but is not limited to:

A current curriculum vitae;
Official transcripts (indicating terminal degree or other appropriate transcripts);
Appropriate licenses or certifications; and
Verification of employment related to teaching experience (as needed).

In initially assessing the academic transcript, the College Dean or a designee must ensure that the transcript includes the following elements: (a) the issuing institution’s official seal; (b) signature of the appropriate authorizing agent, preferably the institution’s registrar; (c) the institution’s official letterhead or stationary; (d) the institution’s watermark or other identifier; and (e) the date of issue.

If a transcript is unclear, the College Dean or a designee will contact the institution producing the transcript and request additional information regarding the transcript or courses in question. Documentation received in response to such a request will be placed in the faculty member’s personnel file. Only course work and degrees granted by an accredited college or university an internationally recognized institution of higher education will be accepted for credentialing faculty members. In the event the institution ceases to exist and there are no records or method of verification, references to support academic course work must be provided by the faculty member or prospective faculty member.

If, as a result of the document review, it is determined by the College Dean that the current or prospective faculty member’s academic credentials satisfy the University’s formal program requirements, the candidate’s application for appointment will proceed and the materials reviewed will be kept on file.

IV. Exceptions Based on Unique and Professional Experience

In appropriate cases, the University will consider the unique and/or professional experiences of a candidate as the primary basis of their appointment. In those situations, the University is guided by SACSCOC standards and guidelines. The University is not bound by this policy to award exceptions.

In order to be considered for an exception, instructors must demonstrate that their peers, inside and outside the University, recognize them as a respected authority in the field. The fact that an individual has taught a particular subject or field for a number of years does not carry sufficient weight by itself to justify an exception. All faculty are expected to have a broad base of knowledge in a discipline or field such as one obtains through formal academic training in a graduate degree program.

Similarly, if professional experience is to be considered for an exception, the experience must span many years and encompass a broad range of positions with increasing levels of responsibility. Truly outstanding achievements in job performance must exist and they must be documented and judged to distinguish the individual as exceptionally competent and knowledgeable in the teaching field or discipline.

The evaluation results by the applicable Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs of a faculty member’s experience must establish that accomplishments and contributions to the profession or to the teaching field, as well as experience and competency, are unique, unusual, exceptional, outstanding and substantial. Such accomplishments, contributions and experience must be documented and judged by the applicable College Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to conclude that the individual is exceptionally competent and knowledgeable in the teaching field or discipline and is capable of contributing to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. Such a characterization should apply to exceptions for both undergraduate and graduate faculty. The highest and most stringent standards will apply to graduate faculty.

Therefore, it is anticipated that exceptions for graduate faculty will be extremely rare.

Given the above standards, it would be in the best interest of faculty to pursue the required academic qualifications concurrent with the review of an application for an exception.

Note: The acceptance of exceptional alternative qualifications by the University is contingent upon final review and approval by the Visiting Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In the event that a Visiting Committee disagrees with the University’s decision to grant an exception to a faculty member and an appeal to SACSCOC is unsuccessful, the faculty member will be considered out of compliance with both Lynn University and SACSCOC requirements for minimum qualifications. Such a ruling may result in termination or restriction to teaching courses solely in the discipline in which the faculty member holds at least a master’s degree with 18 hours in the teaching field.

To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact Academic Affairs.

Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018