The Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees adopted a clarification to HLC's Assumed Practice B.2. regarding faculty roles and qualifications in June 2015, with an effective date of September 1, 2017. This revision clarified HLC’s longstanding expectations regarding the qualifications of faculty and the importance of faculty members having appropriate expertise in the subjects they teach. HLC published updated guidelines on faculty qualifications in March 2016 to reflect the policy revision.
The September 1, 2017, implementation date reflects the need expressed by institutions to work with faculty in dual credit programs, challenges facing rural-serving institutions, faculty development considerations, and the time needed to address these types of concerns. It allows institutions time to assess their needs in the area of faculty qualifications and achieve compliance with the policy. This date also aligns with the start of an academic year in accordance with faculty contracts and core institutional documents such as faculty handbooks.
Implementation Extensions for Dual Credit Programs
HLC has provided an opportunity for institutions with dual credit programs to apply for extensions related to compliance of faculty in dual credit programs with the revision to Assumed Practice B.2. Institutions that have been granted an extension will have until September 1, 2022, to come into compliance with the revised Assumed Practice. The extension includes faculty who might be assigned to teach dual credit during the extension period, but who were not assigned to teach dual credit at the time the institution submitted its application for the extension. At the institution’s first regularly scheduled accreditation review that occurs after September 2022, HLC will instruct the peer review team to verify that the institution is in compliance with the Assumed Practice.
Criteria for Accreditation
Faculty qualifications are considered in relation to Criterion Three, Core Component 3.C (See subcomponents 3.C.1, 3.C.2 and 3.C.4).