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Minimum Qualifications for Instructional Personnel

Academics and Research

PDF Version: Minimum Qualifications Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Procedures
  5. Definitions
  6. History

I. Introduction

  1. Authority: C.R.S. ยง 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver, who subsequently authorizes the Provost, to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to the academic functions of the University.

  2. Purpose: The aim of this policy is to establish a University-wide minimum standard for instructor qualifications. This policy establishes alignment with the Higher Learning Commission's June 2015 revision to their policy on Assumed Practice B.2.

  3. Scope: This policy applies to all MSU Denver employees who teach regardless of appointment category. This group is identified, herein, as "Instructional Personnel."

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Responsible Executive: Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

  2. Responsible Administrator: Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

  3. Responsible Office: Academic Affairs Office

  4. Policy Contacts: Academic Affairs - Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Policy Development, Associate Vice President for Academic Effectiveness, and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, 303-615-1900

  5. Additional Roles and Responsibilities: Deans and Department Chairs will oversee and administer related policies, addressing requirements specific to individual disciplines. Those policies must align with this University policy.

III. Policy Statement

  1. Qualification for Instructional Personnel will be assessed primarily on the basis of earned degrees from accredited academic institutions. The standard credentials will be a terminal degree, or a degree at least one level higher than the degree in the field in which they are teaching. For example, a Master's degree is required to teach courses that count toward a Bachelor's degree and a Doctoral degree is required to teach courses that count toward a Master's degree. Exceptions may include cases where the norm in the discipline (e.g., M.F.A. teaching Master's students in the Arts) or accreditation standards of the profession require otherwise. If Instructional Personnel hold a Master's degree or higher in a discipline other than that in which they are teaching, that individual should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline they are teaching.
  2. Instructors teaching in graduate programs should hold the appropriate terminal degree as described above and have a record of scholarship or achievement appropriate for the graduate program.
  3. Instructional Personnel who do not hold the academic credentials described above, can be qualified to teach if they hold at least a Bachelor's degree and possess substantial tested experience. This should include a depth and breadth of experience outside of the classroom in situations relevant to the discipline in which they would be teaching.
  4. Departments, in coordination with the Dean of the School or College in which they reside, shall have a policy defining the minimum criteria qualifying for tested experience and the procedures for assessing tested experience. The Dean of the School/College and the Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs must approve this policy.
  5. Factors of tested experience that may be considered relevant may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Substantial graduate level academic coursework and/or relevant methodological training in the discipline of instruction.
    2. A record of research, scholarship, creative activity and/or achievement appropriate to the discipline of instruction.
    3. Related research and/or professional and/or disciplinary experience in industry and/or the private sector, and/or the public sector.
    4. Practical experience in the art, business, legal, or political sector.
    5. Relevant clinical experience.
    6. Relevant board licensure or certifications.
    7. Demonstrated competency or fluency in a relevant skill set.
  6. Any decisions to hire instructional personnel based on tested experience shall be made with the intent to provide students with the best possible learning experience.
  7. This policy is not a decree to terminate or not renew existing contracts. Instructional personnel who do not meet minimum requirements (via degree or tested experience), but are otherwise achieving necessary performance standards, will, in consultation with the respective Department Chair and Dean, establish a plan for meeting the minimum requirements. The College/School Dean and Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs must approve this plan.

IV. Procedures

  1. Departments, in coordination with the Dean of the School or College in which they reside will define minimum criteria qualifying for tested experience and the procedures for assessing tested.

V. Definitions

  1. Tested Experience: Experience that the Academic Department, Dean, and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs identifies as equivalent to the degree that would otherwise be required for the instructional position. In most cases, tested experience should include experience outside the classroom situations appropriate for the subject the individual would be teaching.

VI. History

  1. Effective: January 1, 2020

  2. Review: This policy will be reviewed every three years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.

  3. Approved By: Provost

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