Your Guide To Ready-To-Run Universities in the USA
University License Series 3: Hiring Faculty & Admin
This involves helping our clients understand all the legal and financial requirements around university establishment, as well as providing marketing and branding advice to ensure their university or college stands out from other educational institutions.
Our competitors can only offer a limited service, either licensing or accreditation, as most don't have the skills or team required to provide a turnkey service. This is why EEC stands out from the crowd – we can offer our clients everything they need to get their university off the ground easily and efficiently.
At EEC we're looking at building a long-term relationship with our clients, where launching a university is only the first step.
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When you start a new college or university, there will be two major expenses to worry about: campus costs, and overhead costs. Another truth is that you probably won’t be generating revenue for at least 6 to 12 months until your institution is approved. Now, one of the most frequent questions I get from clients who go through this journey is “how many faculty members should I hire?”
This University License series post will be in the form of a Q&A on hiring faculty and admin staff for your institution. I will do my best to answer the question above, as well as a few others that are commonly asked.
As always, feel free to reach out to me by email or call if you have more faculty-related questions.
Question 1: Do I have to hire full-time faculty and administration staff from the very beginning of my university/college setup process?
Answer: The short answer would be no. However, you have to keep in mind that you need to satisfy the minimum requirements of both your regulator and your accreditor. This being said, accreditors usually require more than most regulators. For instance, a majority of regulators require faculty staff to hold at minimum the same degree level as the one they are teaching, whilst accreditors require to hold a degree higher than that.
In another instance, while many regulators won’t mind if you have hired an adjunct faculty, some accreditors will require you to have at least one full-time faculty member for each offered degree program.
To summarize, check the requirements of both your state regulator and your accrediting body before making any hiring decisions.
Question 2: What minimum qualifications must be held by faculty staff?
Answer: There is a difference between teaching degree programs versus teaching at vocational institutions. The answer to this also depends on whether the taught program is at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Case A: faculty staff that teach post-secondary institutions with offered degree programs must have completed a program of study in the discipline that they teach.
Case B: faculty staff that teach undergraduate programs must hold a degree one level above the degree of the program they teach.
Case C: faculty staff teaching technical courses, and occupational associate’s degree programs must hold a bachelor’s degree in their teaching field or must possess a combination of education, experience, and professional training.
Case D: faculty staff that teach in graduate programs must hold a terminal degree that is determined by the discipline, in addition to having a record of research, achievements, or scholarships appropriate for the said graduate program.
Question 3: Do the C-suite (executive team) have to hold doctorate and master's degrees?
Answer: Most regulators and accrediting agencies do not insist on this, however, they do require your Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) to have adequate relevant professional experience.
Your Chief Academic Officer (CAO), on the other hand, is expected to hold a doctorate, preferably in an education-management field of study, because they have a critical role in managing and influencing your institution’s quality of education.
Question 4: What’s the minimum number of faculty and admin staff members that should be hired in the first year of a newly-established college or university?
Answer: Although there is no specific rule that states how many faculty and admin staff should be hired at minimum, it’s a rule of thumb to have at least one to two faculty members for each course, and at least three to five admin staff members.
The good thing about this is that faculty members can teach more than one course. I usually manage this process for my clients by drafting a faculty/course assignment list and filling it with the names of hired faculty members according to their areas of specialty. This list helps to identify whether all courses’ requirements are filled or not.
Question 5: What’s the role of the faculty while I’m in the middle of waiting for the State's approval to operate?
Answer: This period is a great opportunity for you to start engaging with your faculty members by collectively reviewing the course syllabi, regularly meeting to discuss academic policies, and developing shared governance.
It is through these processes and activities that you’ll be able to gain lots of useful insights into the needs of your students and ways of improving your teaching offerings, for the ultimate goal of better preparing your institution for accreditation. After all, accreditors have always stressed the importance of shared governance and involving faculty members in critical academic decisions.
Question 6: What’s the average time spent on hiring qualified faculty?
Answer: From my professional experience, I would say you need a minimum of 6 months from the date of finalizing your faculty hiring plan to the date of signing a contract with selected faculty members.
My piece of advice: make it a habit to request official proof or legitimate teaching credentials before spending time interviewing your candidates. It’s a good idea to hire a third party to do academic and background checks to help you in this process.
Indeed, the quality of your faculty and admin staff can either make or break your institution, so choose wisely and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to research your candidates.
Always check for references before sending offers to your applicants. It’s also a good practice to have more than one person interview candidates so that you have a well-rounded view of each of them.
Remember, your chosen faculty and administration staff will be working alongside you for a very long time. If you haven’t considered it yet, invest in hiring HR experts that could help you select the best-fitted ones.
Do you plan to open your university? Let me and my team help you achieve this goal. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation.