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2.8 Faculty PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 September 2009 11:17

2.8 Faculty

The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs.

Responsible Unit: Division of Academic Affairs

Compliance Judgment



North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T) has adequate full-time faculty to ensure the integrity and quality of its academic programs. As well, it has adequate and appropriate faculty resources to support the university’s mission. In fall 2008, A&T enrolled 8,829 undergraduate and 1,559 graduate students for a total student enrollment of 10,388 [1].Concurrently, it employed 455 full-time instructional faculty for whom teaching was the primary job responsibility and an additional seventeen full-time faculty employees classified as instruction/research/public service for whom teaching was not the primary job responsibility, for a total of 472 individuals. The university also employed 86 part-time faculty whose primary duty was instruction, and 26 individuals classified as instruction/research/public service for a total of 112. The part-time staff also include 436 graduate assistants. These data are available in the university’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Human Resources Report [2].

Regardless of job responsibilities, all A&T employees participate in a formal yearly performance evaluation. Faculty members are evaluated in several ways, including annual reviews of faculty, annual activity reports, student evaluation of instruction surveys, and the Comprehensive Review of Tenured Faculty. Faculty evaluation is covered in detail in the university’s response to SACS Principle 3.7.2, Faculty evaluation. The Comprehensive Review of Tenured Faculty reports are housed and available in the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The annual reviews, faculty activity reports, and student evaluation of instruction results are available in the faculty member’s personnel file in the respective departmental office. Those of part-time faculty are also housed in the departmental office and the written evaluations of graduate assistants are housed in the Office of the Assistant Dean, School of Graduate Studies. Both the full-time faculty members and the part-time instructors are appropriately qualified to teach at A&T.

Graduate assistants may provide support for and during the instructional process, however, graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) do not participate as the instructor of record for any of the courses taught at A&T. The details relating the qualifications of faculty can be found in SACS Principle 3.7.1, Faculty competence.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is one of the nation’s leading historically black universities and colleges (HBCUs). It is classified as a Carnegie high research activity university [3] [4] and is the leading producer of African-American engineers at the baccalaureate and Ph.D. levels, and of minority certified public accountants. As provided in its Mission Statement [5], “NCA&T University is a public, land-grant, high research activity university committed to fulfilling its fundamental purposes through exemplary undergraduate and graduate instruction, scholarly and creative research, and effective public service.” Furthermore, A&T has envisioned and planned a rich future which “seeks to utilize its historic advantages in engineering, technology, and business; a strong civil-rights legacy; and its status as an 1890 land-grant institution, to become the premier interdisciplinary university, able to provide students with exemplary and relevant educational experiences that prepare them for the complex needs of a global society.” [6]A&T recognizes the need for a highly qualified, diverse, and competent faculty to fulfill this mission. Towards this end, A&T seeks to attract, select, develop, and retain the best qualified faculty at all ranks and in each of its academic units. They must be effective teachers, scholars, and researchers and exhibit disciplinary excellence in the areas critical to the fulfillment of its mission.

The policies of the University of North Carolina, The Code, Chapter 1, Section 103 [7] the University of North Carolina [8] and of A&T [9] provide the basic guidelines regarding the recruitment, employment, and functions of faculty. Within these guidelines, A&T, in general, and each curriculum, or discipline area, in particular, employs the number and type of faculty best suited to the fulfillment of its function and those appropriate to the university’s mission. Faculty numbers are determined by programmatic and enrollment needs as well as available budgetary and personnel resources. Future needs are addressed in the objectives and goals of the university’s strategic plan [10] as well as the University of North Carolina’s new initiative for the future known as UNC Tomorrow [11].

Faculty Classification: The University of North Carolina System is implementing the Jobs Categories or “JCAT” system [12] of classifying employees. However, A&T faculty members are now classified by the NC State Personnel System into two major groups or categories: EPA faculty and EPA non-faculty. University employees designated as EPA are exempt from the provisions of the State Personnel Act, North Carolina General Statute 126, thus the designation EPA [13]. Employees subject to the provisions of the State Personnel Act are classified as SPA employees. EPA faculty are full-time employees with a contract period of nine, eleven, or twelve months and a formal job description which designates at least 50% of their employment responsibilities and activities dedicated to teaching. Each appointment is a tenure or tenure-track appointment with the associated rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor [14]. This is the group often referred to as “regular” teaching or permanent faculty and is the largest group. The A&T Fall 2008 IPEDS classification of Employees by Assigned Positions [15] listed 455 individuals as full-time employees whose primary occupational activity was instruction. Two hundred thirty-five of these or 51.6 % were tenured, 120 (26.4%) were on tenure track and 100 (22%) were not on tenure track or associated with the tenure system.

Faculty members who are appointed as EPA non-faculty constitute another group. Most of these would fall in a group noted in the Faculty Handbook as “Special Faculty” appointments [16]. EPA non-faculty includes three types of university employees: (1) senior academic and administrative employees including the chancellor, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, deans and directors, etc. (2) researchers whose duties are integral with and represent an extension of the regular academic experience and, (3) instructional employees including those whose employment duties may be limited to one or two courses, or full-time and commensurate with those of regular faculty, or individuals uniquely supportive of the educational process and having significant interactions with students [17].

Regular Faculty: As previously stated, at A&T the regular full-time tenure or tenure-track teaching faculty is the largest group. Among this group, 108 individuals were listed as holding the rank of professor, with 160 associate professors, 102 assistant professors, 24 instructors, and 87 designated as others. Men occupied 275 of the positions, or approximately 57% percent of the total. Women occupied 206 positions, which accounted for approximately 43% of the total [18].The vast majority of professors (97.6%) and associate professors (86.5%) are tenured. Six of 51 faculty members (11.76%) with the rank of assistant professor are tenured [19].

Appointment as an assistant professor is considered an initial probationary appointment to the tenure-track system, thus few assistant professors are tenured. For most, this is an initial appointment, or movement into the tenure system from the instructor category. Most are then considered on track for promotion and award of tenure after a probationary period. All of these faculty members, the tenured and tenure-tract faculty hold the doctoral degree or equivalent terminal degree in their academic field or discipline.

Special Faculty: The second major group of faculty members includes almost all other individuals with faculty/teaching responsibilities. In the Faculty Handbook they are identified as “Special Faculty” [16]. The topic of special faculty is also addressed in The Code, Chapter VI, Section 604C [20]. This classification is inclusive of several subcategories. Most of these individuals would also be identified as EPA non-faculty and as such are not subject to the tenure system. “Special faculty appointments allow the university to employ prospective faculty members who have unusual qualifications for teaching, research, academic administration, or public service, but for whom neither the professorial ranks nor the instructor rank is appropriate. This might be due to the limited duration of the need for which the appointment has been made or because of concern for continued availability of special funding for the position. Other valid institutional reasons might prevail. Special appointments include endowed professorships and those fixed term appointments with title designations "lecturer," "artist in residence," “writer in residence," and any faculty rank designation with the prefix-qualifier “adjunct,” “clinical," or "research." Initial appointments may be for a fixed term of one to three years. Subsequent appointments to fixed terms of one to five years duration may be made either in direct succession or at intervals.

Instructors: At A&T the rank of instructor is the title and appointment given to a faculty member who lacks one or more qualifications, such as the terminal degree, required by the department or school for an initial appointment to the rank of assistant professor. Instructors are appointed to the faculty with the reasonable expectation that they will progress toward the professorial rank and, having met those qualifications, will be considered for promotion to assistant professor and join the tenure promotion system or be given timely notice of non-reappointment [21]. The initial appointment as instructor is a one-year probationary appointment, renewable for three additional successive one-year terms. Near the end of the third term, the faculty member will receive written notice of either a fourth consecutive term, promotion to assistant professor, or a terminal one-year appointment at the end of the current term. These options are available at the end of the fourth, fifth, and sixth consecutive terms. No appointment beyond seven years is allowed. Promotion at any time to assistant professor constitutes an initial appointment at that rank.

Administrators, Professional Staff: Some members of the professional staff and other EPA non-faculty employees occupying non-academic administrative or supervisory positions may participate in the instructional process. As EPA non-faculty or special faculty, these positions do not carry or qualify for tenure and the tenure policies of the university do not apply. These individuals may however, hold a concurrent tenured faculty position and are counted among the faculty. Individuals in these categories who have the appropriate academic preparation and credentials along with teaching, research, or extension responsibilities may be assigned to an academic “home” department and in this manner obtain tenure in an academic discipline. Again, such appointments are made according to the rules and guidelines which prevail regarding all faculty appointments [9]. During the fall 2008 semester, there were seventeen such full-time positions with faculty status, seven of which were tenure track, and ten of which were non-tenure track. Similarly, one part-time position was identified as having faculty status and on tenure-track; six non-tenure track positions were identified [22].

Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Research Faculty: Included among the special faculty appointments would be faculty members within the School of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (SAES), who are involved in the agricultural research and the Cooperative Extension programs. A&T is a land-grant institution and the university’s continuing commitment to the fulfillment of that mission is largely focused in SAES and its associated Cooperative Extension and agricultural research programs. Research faculty with joint appointments in the instructional program conduct organized research supported by federal, state, and private funds and conducted on the University Farm and in on-campus laboratories. Agriculture research faculty members are accorded academic rank commensurate with their credentials through the same process by which appointment decisions are made for regular faculty. Their participation in the tenure process is dependent on the number of tenure eligible positions available. Also in SAES are faculty deemed Cooperative Extension faculty because their work is done under the auspices of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service [23]. Faculty specialists in the Cooperative Extension program provide research-based educational programs and outreach directed toward North Carolina individuals, families, and communities with special emphasis on those identified as having limited resources. During any one semester, academic school year, or longer, extension faculty may have an appointment that is 100% Extension Service-related or have instructional duties with concurrent appointment in an academic home department. Similar to faculty associated with the agriculture research program, Cooperative Extension faculty members are eligible for joint appointments in the SAES instructional programs, and are accorded academic rank utilizing the same criteria as for regular faculty.

Part-Time Faculty: A&T also employs “part-time” faculty. More accurately, these are special faculty with a limited appointment hired on a semester-by-semester basis and specifically for teaching particular courses. They are generally limited to teaching no more than two courses a semester and are identified by the prefix-qualifier, adjunct. Many departments utilize part-time faculty as an important faculty resource, some on a very limited basis, others on a more continuous basis. The use of “part-time faculty” is a active focus of discussion at many colleges and universities and of the UNC Faculty Assembly [24]. As part of its strategic plan, and with an anticipated increase in the number of tenure system faculty members, the university anticipates a reduction in the number of FTEs in this category. Recently announced statewide budgetary constraints are anticipated to lead to a reduction in the ability of the university to employ part-time faculty.

Graduate Teaching Assistants: Graduate assistants (GAs) constitute a small but valuable component of the faculty resources at A&T. Graduate assistants are appointed and function as either graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), graduate research assistants (GRAs), or graduate administrative assistants (GAAs). As stated in the UNC Policy Manual, the “University has an obligation to produce effective, well-trained teacher-scholars to fill faculty ranks in the future. Graduate teaching assistants are a major means by which the University introduces young scholars to the professoriate.” The basic policies and guidelines followed by the School of Graduate Studies are outlined in the UNC Board of Governors Policy Manual, item 400.3.5.1 [25] and include current SACS standards, including Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1.

GTAs may provide assistance in the undergraduate classroom in various ways under the mentorship of the teacher of record. However, at A&T, GTAs are not appointed as the instructor of record for any course. GRAs generally work in the laboratory in support of the research activities in a department. GAAs are assigned duties in various university offices including the graduate school and the Office of Planning, Assessment and Research. All GAs are required to participate in orientation activities held at the beginning of each semester and which include a program overview, an introduction to their roles and responsibilities, professional ethics, and the performance evaluation [26].

Workshops are provided by the Division of Research & Economic Development and the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) for GRAs and GTAs respectively. Routine monitoring of GA performance is provided by supervisory personnel. End of semester, or year-end evaluations are conducted by the office of the assistant dean in the School of Graduate Studies [27]. During the fall semester 2008, 436 graduate assistants were counted among the part-time staff. This was a 31% increase over the 138 listed in the fall 2007[24].

Primary Duties of Faculty The primary duties of faculty at A&T include teaching, research, administration, and service to the community. These are the basic categories which provide a template for the evaluation of faculty performance. Faculty teaching load for UNC System is addressed in UNC Board of Governors Policy Manual, Section 400.3.4 [28] and the A&T Faculty Handbook [29]. The established guidelines vary depending on the classification of the institution as a research, doctoral, master's, or baccalaureate level university. In this scheme, A&T is classified as a research university with the proviso that standard annual teaching course loads for full-time faculty should fall no lower than four organized classes. More succinctly, full-time, tenure-system faculty members in the undergraduate program are expected to teach twelve credit hours per semester, graduate faculty are expected to teach nine credit hours per semester, departmental chairpersons are expected to teach six credit hours per semester and school and college deans, three credit hours per semester.

Faculty workload may be impacted by other factors. Faculty whose primary assignment is other than instructional or who receive part of their compensation from non-instructional sources may have different requirements. Ultimately, all assignments are made by the department chairperson and approved by the school and college deans [30]. The full-time faculty equivalent (FTE) is a measure based on faculty workload and utilized by the State Legislature, UNC-GA and the university to evaluate faculty productivity. A full-time faculty member teaching twelve credit hours per semester in the undergraduate curriculum will account for one FTE. Graduate faculty teaching nine credit hours per semester are also accounted one FTE. A three-hour undergraduate course amounts to 33.33% FTE for a semester and a three-hour graduate course amounts to 50.00% FTE for a semester. For full-time, non-tenure-system faculty members, a three-hour undergraduate course amounts to a 25.00% FTE per semester and a three-hour graduate course amounts to 37.50% FTE per semester. For part-time faculty members a three-hour undergraduate or graduate course amounts to a 25.00% FTE per semester. Teaching workloads are appointed with the understanding of the distinction between teaching workloads and instructional workloads. Time spent in direct contact with students accounts for only a fraction of the time utilized in preparing for instruction. Faculty members are also expected in some measure to conduct research in their disciplines, supervise individual student research, or supervise thesis and dissertation research, and to provide service to their school through service on various committees.

Adequacy of Present Faculty Resources: The adequacy of faculty resources for instructional activities can be measured in many ways. One measure of the adequacy of faculty resources for instructional activities is the ratio of students to faculty headcount. This is most applicable in cases where the majority of students are full-time, and most faculty members are largely involved in instructional activities. Using this measure for fall 2008, &T had a 22-1 student-to-faculty ratio based on a 10,388 student headcount and 472 full-time faculty members. At A&T many students are not enrolled full-time. Also, many faculty members are involved in research activities and therefore do not devote all of their time to teaching. Accordingly, a more accurate measure of faculty adequacy might be the ratio of FTE students to FTE faculty. Student FTEs are based on the criterion that a full-time undergraduate student would enroll for fifteenhours of instruction per semester, that a full-time master’s student would enroll for twelve hours of instruction per semester, and that a full-time doctoral student would enroll for nine hours of instruction per semester. Overall, 9,213 FTE students were taught by 509 FTE faculty members, giving a ratio of 18.1-1 [31].

One can also compare the number of semester credit hours taught to the number of FTE faculty who are teaching. Another indicator of faculty productivity is Student Credit Hours Generated (SCHG), which is the ratio of SCHG to the FTE faculty. At A&T there was a total of 135,539 SCHG in fall 2008 [32]. This would indicate that the average FTE faculty taught approximately 88.76 students. Since the normal load for teaching only undergraduate students is three courses per semester, this calculation amounts to an average class size of 29.59 students per undergraduate class. In comparison to its peer American Association of University Professors (AAUP) institutions, A&T has adequate staffing for its existing instructional programs although the full-time equivalent staff is less than the comparison group median [33].

Overtime, differences in tenured faculty as a percentage of the total faculty can be attributed to differences in the rates of change in the number of faculty, the age of the faculty, turnover rates, and personnel policies. Moreover, tenured faculty expressed as a percentage of the total number of faculty is often used to provide an indication both of the extent of an institution's commitment to its mission and a quality faculty, and its ability to sustain that commitment. This is a concern at many universities, and of the faculties of the UNC System and has recently been addressed by the Faculty Assembly of the UNC System [24]. Again, at A&T the faculty resources are consistent with or exceed those of its peer AAUP institutions in many areas and suggest that present resources are adequate for the accomplishment of its mission

Faculty Resources for New Programs: A&T is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System which comprises all of the sixteen North Carolina public institutions that grant bachelor’s degrees and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a public residential high school for gifted students. The UNC Board of Governors has the statutory responsibility to authorize the establishment of new degree programs as well as the discontinuation of existing degree programs. Procedures for planning and obtaining authorization for new degree programs are described in the UNC Policy Manual, section 400.1. [34]. Campuses are expected to have a lead role in identifying the need for new academic program needs and in formulating proposals to meet those needs.

However, the UNC-GA also engages in the identification of academic program needs. New programs at A&T have often begun with the recognition of local business, community, or institutional needs for trained graduates in a particular discipline. Emerging technologies and the opportunity to combine the strengths of individual institutions have been the impetus for other programs, e.g., A&T’s new Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering [35]. The need and suitability and of new program is established as part of the proposal process. New programs generally begin at the departmental or school level. The Committee on New Programs and Curricula of the Faculty Senate must review all new programs before they are submitted to the Faculty Senate and then the University Senate for approval. Institutions wishing to plan new degree programs at the undergraduate or master’s level must also send a letter of notification of intent to plan to UNC-GA which will be responsible for managing the review process for new degree proposals. The process for planning a doctoral degree involves the UNC Graduate Council. The institution will then have one year to complete planning and submit a request to establish the proposed program. Funding of new programs and the adequacy of resources must be addressed at both the university level and at UNC-GA [34]. It is an integral component of the program planning process. UNC-GA Academic Planning, which provides assistance with academic program planning, development, and review also assists in preparation of the annual legislative enrollment budget request. New programs are only approved with the assurance of adequate budget resources. All degree programs at A&T have been approved by the UNC Board of Governors. They are listed on A&T’s website and can be accessed via the UNC website [36].

A&T degree programs are regularly reviewed and evaluated. Faculty in most departments regularly participate in a review of course offerings and course content. Changes in course titles, course content and curricular offerings are frequently made and must be reviewed by the appropriate, school or college, faculty and university committees. Degree programs are also reviewed by external reviewers who provide input regarding curricular offerings, facilities, faculty workload distribution, etc. [37] National accreditation programs help ensure a consistent level of adequate faculty resources and quality in the educational programs. [38] Funding of academic programs at A&T and other UNC System institutions is greatly dependent on the provision of state funds. Ultimately, the state funds allocated to each university are impacted by the planning and budgetary decisions made at the university, UNC-GA, and state legislative levels.

Program heads, department heads, and deans are allowed to request funding to ensure that adequate resources are available to support programs. These requests are forwarded to the Provost, along with other assessments used to ensure that A&T has adequate faculty resources to ensure the integrity and quality of its academic programs and to fulfill its mission. The state of North Carolina utilizes the Student Credit Hour Funding Model to cover current and projected enrollment growth and assist in the determination of funds to be appropriated [39]. Factors in the equation include the number of credit hours (weighted by area of instruction and level of instruction) offered at each university, anticipated enrollment and the number of additional instructors needed (calculated on the basis of various ratios of student credit hours per instructor) and the average instructional salary rate on each campus.

Finally, funds to support library and other general institutional costs are calculated and added. Like any effort to estimate costs, the adequacy of the SCH model hinges on many factors including the supporting data and assumptions, for instance, those regarding enrollment. In fall 2008 A&T reported more than $112 million received in state funds [40]. In the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Data Feedback Report, which provides a comparison of A&T with fourteen selected peer institutions, for 2007, the most current data available, A&T received 35% of its core revenues from state appropriations as compared to its comparison group median of 32% [41]. A&T has adequate resources to support and assure the quality of its academic programs.

Supporting Documents

[1] Fact Book, Enrollment, Fall 2008.

[2] Fact Book, IPEDS, Human Resources, Fall 2008

[3] Carnegie, Listing

[4] Undergraduate Bulletin, 2008-2010, History Statement

[5] Undergraduate Bulletin, 2008-2010, Mission, p. 3

[6] Undergraduate Bulletin, 2008-2010, Vision, p. 3

[7] UNC-GA, Code, Chapter I, Section 103

[8] UNC-GA, Code, Section 300.2.1, Hiring and Recruitment of Faculty

[9] Faculty Handbook, Appendix C-1, Employment Procedures

[10] FUTURES, Strategic Plan

[11] UNC Tomorrow

[12] UNC Job, Categories Templates

[13] NC General Statue, 126, EPA Employees

[14] Faculty Handbook, Appendix B-2, Section 3

[15] Fact Book, IPEDS Classification of Employees by Assigned Positions

[16] Faculty Handbook, 2007, Special Faculty

[17] Policies, Human Resources, Employment for EPA Non-Faculty

[18] Faculty, Classification Profile

[19] Faculty Classification, Tenured, Non-Tenured

[20] UNC-GA, Code, Chapter VI, Section 604C, Special Faculty

[21] Faculty Handbook, Instructors

[22] Faculty Classification, EPA Non-Faculty

[23] Faculty Directory, Family and Consumer Sciences, Cooperative Extension Faculty

[24] Faculty Assembly, Report To Board of Governors, Non-Tenured Faculty

[25] UNC-GA, Code, Section 400.3.5.1, Graduate Students

[26] Graduate Studies, Orientation

[27] Graduate Studies, Evaluation Form

[28] UNC-GA, Code, Section 400.3.4

[29] Faculty Handbook, 2007, Guidelines

[30] Faculty Handbook, Duties of Department Chairpersons

[31] IPEDS, Student to Faculty Ratio

[32] Fact Book, Student Credit Hours Generated

[33] Fact Book, IPEDS, AAUP Tenure, Non-Tenured Faculty

[34] UNC Policy Manual, Section 400.1 New Programs

[35] Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

[36] List of Academic Degree Programs at NC A&T

[37] Animal Sciences, Response to the CSREES Review

[38] School of Business, AACSB Program Review Guidelines

[39] UNC Student Credit Hour Funding Model

[40] Fact Book, IPEDS AAUP Financial Report State Funding

[41] Fact Book, IPEDS, AAUP Peer Comparison, Funding

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 January 2010 08:28 )

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