Upon appointment, all faculty members whether full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid, in both on-campus and off-campus programs must submit official transcripts of their graduate work to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Only an official transcript physically prepared by the graduate institution itself fulfills this requirement. The transcript must bear the seal of the degree-granting institution; that seal must be distinguishable to the touch. Photocopies of official transcripts are not acceptable (except as allowed below). This requirement applies equally to degrees granted abroad. The dean of the faculty member’s college must confirm that the transcript indicates successful completion of the appropriate degree with at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline. In those cases where the university has ascertained that a transcript is not available, proof of the awarding of a degree (such as an official diploma or certification from the institution granting the degree) is required. If the date of hire precludes the possibility of obtaining required official credentials prior to issuing a contract to a new faculty member, that contract will not be renewed until such credentials have been presented.
According to the SACSCOC Faculty Credential Guidelines (PDF) (2018), faculty teaching baccalaureate courses are expected to have a doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline (minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline). Faculty teaching graduate and post-baccalaureate work are expected to have an earned doctorate/terminal degree in the teaching discipline or a related discipline. In general, the terminal degree is considered to be the doctorate. In the fine, creative, and performing arts, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is considered the terminal degree for art, creative writing, dance, interior design, film and theatre. The Master of Music (MM) is considered the terminal degree in the discipline of Music. The Master of Library Science (MLS) is considered the terminal degree for Librarian faculty. For legal studies courses, the Juris Doctor (JD) is considered the terminal degree. Professional licenses, certifications, work experience (DOC) or other achievements may be used to demonstrate faculty competence in specific fields of study. Such exceptions must be justified on an individual basis and approved by the college dean and provost.
All official documentation of academic preparation of faculty is to be filed in the Office of Academic Affairs. In the case of irreplaceable transcripts or other documentation, the university will accept a notarized copy, but the faculty member must possess the original and be ready to make it available immediately upon request. The appropriate dean must confirm that the faculty member has the original document in his or her possession and that the university has been provided an accurate copy.
Office of the Provost 8/31/94; reissued 5/99; reissued 7/2015