Accreditation Series 4: Hiring Your Faculty
One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Teaching is the noblest profession of all,” and it’s something I fully agree with.
I wouldn’t be anywhere, much less this passionate about education if it weren’t for the great teachers in my life.
That’s why I’ve always believed that when building a university, finding good teachers should be your number one priority.
But with the challenges of opening an academic institution, you might ask yourself, is it really necessary to hire full-time faculty before I open my university? Well, the short answer is no, you don’t need to hire full-time faculty right out the gate. Instead, you can hire adjunct faculty that will hold part-time positions at your university or college, and then later convert them to full-time faculty. But remember, selecting the right faculty from the start is key to the success of your new college, university or vocational school.
Here are some tips to consider when you are hiring faculty:
You need to have “An adequate number of faculty members”: both regulators and accreditors expect you to have sufficient faculty, and there isn’t a magic number that you must hire. But the rule of thumb is that you must have at least 2 faculty members for each course. Each faculty member usually teaches 4-6 courses every semester, so you can use this to think about how many faculty staff you would need in total.
You need to have “Qualified faculty” and what this means is that you must hire faculty with the right credentials: when you evaluate the credentials of your faculty members, keep in mind that you need to satisfy the minimum requirements of both your regulator and your accreditor. Accreditors usually require more than most regulators. For example, a majority of regulators require faculty staff to hold at minimum the same degree level as the one they are teaching, But accreditors require them to hold a degree at least one level higher than the level that they teach.
But when it comes to faculty, it isn’t just academic achievements that will boost your accreditation. This brings me to my next tip…
“Involve your faculty in the accreditation process”
There is a number of ways faculty members can help your university get accredited. They can help with writing the self study, attending meetings hosted by your accreditor, and providing helpful suggestions about how to improve your educational program’s offerings. When the faculty members feel involved in the accreditation process, they are more engaged and have a sense of ownership to the teaching process in your institution. This process is called “Faculty Governance”, a concept that accreditors appreciate and want to see
Finally, it’s important to make sure your faculty's career development standards are clearly outlined. If you can’t hire full-time faculty just yet, make sure your adjunct faculty members have proper employment policies in place, and opportunities to get full-time employment.
So, if you’re going to start your university or college, but can’t hire full-time faculty yet, follow these steps to ensure your school still has top-quality faculty.
To learn more about faculty and staffing, explore our links below. And be sure to check out our next video "How do I open a vocational school?" As always, feel free to give me a call or Contact Us with any questions you may have. I’ve been helping clients establish universities in the US for over a decade, and I’m looking forward to helping you, too.