2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.7.1 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty. (See Resource Manual for credential guidelines.)
The faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) are qualified to teach at the university and are competent not only to carry out the university’s mission but also to help the university achieve its aspirations. UT Dallas consistently seeks to employ highly educated, knowledgeable, and capable faculty members. In keeping with the dual aspiration expressed in the UT Dallas’ Strategic Plan, “Creating the Future,” to be “a first-rank public research university with focused centers of excellence, prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing, technology-driven global society” and, at the same time, “one of the most creative, innovative universities in the nation and world ,” each member of the faculty is expected to contribute to institutional excellence through his or her intellectual breadth, effective teaching, and professional potential and stature. Superior educational and professional preparation is essential to this profile. All UT Dallas faculty meet or exceed the criteria for competency established by SACS. The credentials and qualifications of the full roster of faculty who taught during the spring, summer, and fall semesters of calendar year 2006 are presented in the Credentials Navigator . The Foreign Credential Service of America  has verified the credentials of all faculty with a terminal degree from a non-United States university . The record of the verification is part of the permanent record of these faculty members and is included in their files in the Faculty Records Office (the information is also available as a “transcript” within the Credentials Navigator). The written results of the tenure- and nontenure-system faculty reviews discussed in the response to Principle 3.7.2  are also included in faculty members’ files and available in the Faculty Records Office. Written reviews of part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants are housed in the appropriate dean’s office. All fulltime faculty (regardless of tenure status) and all part-time faculty must be fully credentialed by their respective department or program head, the dean of their school, and the vice provost or provost before the faculty members can teach any classes  . The same conditions apply to graduate teaching assistants .Tenure-System (Tenured/Tenure Track) Faculty
Tenure-system faculty are selected for their individual potential to contribute to the educational, research, and service missions and aspirations of the university. A terminal degree is required, and the hiring committees expect the degree to be complemented by a distinguished career as a student or practitioner, with evidence of an upward trajectory. In most cases, the terminal degree is a doctorate, but for some disciplines such as the visual and performing arts and some clinical areas such as communication disorders, a master’s degree is considered by the profession to constitute the requisite terminal degree. The numbers and ranks of the UT Dallas faculty members who participate in the tenure system are documented extensively in the response to Principle 2.8 . The Faculty Records Office has identified only seven tenure-system faculty who do not hold doctorate degrees , and of the seven, six are instructors who hold master’s degrees and who have distinguished careers in the arts (two in the performing arts, three in the visual arts, and one in creative writing/poetry with an endowed chair). The remaining tenure-system instructor lacking the doctorate is a full professor, endowed chair in the Geosciences Department of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and director of the university’s Center for Lithospheric Studies. He holds a master’s degree in physics from the University of Toronto and has authored numerous significant articles in geophysics that have been published by the most prestigious journals in the field . He is also a member of the American Geophysical Union, is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Seismic Exploration, and has received multiple, major awards from the National Science Foundation.
The policy on initial appointments to the tenure-system faculty describes the criteria for appointment and their relationship to the expectations for reappointment and promotion: “The University recognizes three categories for standards for initial faculty appointments. They are (a) creative productivity and professional achievement; (b) teaching effectiveness; and (c) University citizenship, that amorphous blend of willingness to participate actively as citizens in the life of the University, and as collegial representatives of the University in extramural settings .” These categories parallel the standards for internal promotion, reappointment, and the awarding of tenure iterated in Policy Memorandum 75-III.22-3, General Standards and Procedures: Faculty Promotion, Reappointment, and Tenure: “All prospective tenured new faculty will be expected to have performed well in categories (a), (b), and (c) and to demonstrate excellence in at least (a) or (b). For all prospective tenure-track appointments it should be established that a candidate has the ability to perform well in categories (a), (b), and (c) and have the potential for excellence in at least (a) or (b) .” Successful candidates for junior tenure-system appointments who do not hold the terminal degree receive probationary appointments. The policy stipulates that “the rank of Instructor is a probationary appointment and is reserved explicitly for those cases in which a faculty member’s appointment is initiated prior to receipt of the highest professional degree in his/her field. It is otherwise equivalent to the rank of Assistant Professor and requires that the standards for that rank be met .” At the present time, there are no faculty at UT Dallas with the rank of instructor.
The Academic Senate Committee on Qualifications of Academic Personnel (CQ) is charged with reviewing recommendations from the faculty ad hoc committees and school deans regarding appointment, promotion, and promotion to tenure of members of the tenure-system faculty to ensure that “high academic standards are maintained, that appropriate and uniform procedures were followed in the review process, and that the evidence supports the recommendations .” The competency of tenure-system faculty to teach individual courses is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. When new courses are assigned that significantly deviate from or expand upon the previously determined competencies, the dean, or the program head, or the department head validates the assignment by completing the UT Dallas Certification of Credentials and Qualifications form .Fulltime Nontenure-System Faculty
UT Dallas employs two types of nontenure-system faculty: part-time faculty employed to teach one or two courses per semester and full-time faculty who teach a full load but are not required to do research. The majority of full-time nontenure-system faculty are senior lecturers; however, in recent years, the university has employed an increasing number of clinical professors. These faculty members normally receive one year contracts but may receive contracts up to three years. Such contracts are subject to renewal upon satisfactory performance of duties as determined by the head of the relevant administrative unit in consultation with the provost. The hiring and review policies for full-time nontenure-system faculty are presented in Policy Memorandum07-III.22-96, General Standards and Procedures for Review of Nontenure-System Faculty . A faculty hiring committee is charged with vetting the credentials of candidates for full-time nontenure-system faculty, and the new policy approved by the president, the provost, and the Academic Senate (and under review by The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel) will require a faculty vote. The deans, program heads, or department heads are required to certify that each nontenure-system faculty member is qualified to teach the assigned courses by completing the University’s Certification of Credentials and Qualifications form . Because these individuals are often reappointed and because they work fulltime, they undergo a rigorous peer review process. They also undergo annual reviews. This material is available in their files in the Faculty Records Office.Part-time Nontenure-System Faculty
The deans of the schools, in consultation with program and department heads and faculty hiring committees, are responsible for the initial appointment of nontenure-system faculty. These faculty members are hired to teach only specific courses offered for academic credit and are not subject to all the review procedures that apply to appointment of tenure-system faculty. The policies and procedures that apply to hiring and evaluating nontenure-system faculty are presented in Policy Memorandum 06-III.22-93, Hiring and Evaluation Procedures for Nontenure-System Faculty . The deans, program heads, or department heads are required to certify that each nontenure-system faculty member is qualified to teach the assigned courses by completing the university’s Certification of Credentials and Qualifications form . As noted in the response to Principle 3.7.2 , the local committees for excellence in teaching are responsible for reviewing the teaching of individuals in this category.Graduate Teaching Assistants
Graduate teaching assistants are selected by the deans of the schools and the program or department heads to provide assistance to the faculty responsible for large classes and, in some cases, to act as instructors of record for auxiliary course sections such as problem sessions, review sessions, and laboratory sessions. In addition, a number of graduate students are appointed to lead the sections of the three-hour Rhetoric classes, required for incoming freshman students, in basic writing skills. These graduate teaching assistants receive training in pedagogy and the specific curriculum used for the writing classes  . The director of rhetoric closely monitors the progress of the instructors and the students.
The transcripts of the graduate teaching assistants responsible for course sections must reflect adequate preparation to lead the class, including a minimum of 18 hours of relevant graduate-level coursework. In the case of some of the arts classes, significant professional experience is also required. The deans, program heads, or department heads must complete the Certification of Credentials and Qualifications for Graduate Teaching Assistants form  for every student appointed to lead a class. The forms are reviewed, and the appointments are approved by the provost or vice provost. As discussed in the response to Principle 3.7.2 , the performance of the graduate teaching assistants is evaluated annually and the evaluations are available in the various schools and in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
A review of the faculty credentials in the Credential Navigator evidences the high caliber faculty available to the students, both graduate and undergraduate, at UT Dallas. Although the faculty members’ credentials address the intent of this principle, the faculty continue to develop their professional skills through on-campus professional development programs, as outlined in the response to Principle 3.7.3 . The provision of opportunities for tenure-system and nontenure-system faculty alike to participate in a number of professional developmental activities ensures that the faculty better meet the needs of a growing and diverse student population.