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3.7.1 Faculty competence

The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty. (See Commission guidelines “Faculty Credentials.”) (Faculty competence)

Judgment of Compliance

The faculty at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) are qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the university [1]. Sam Houston State University strives to hire capable, intelligent, active faculty who strive to promote the “intellectual, social, ethical, and leadership growth” of the students. To achieve the mission of providing “excellence by continually improving quality education, scholarship, and service to” students, the faculty of Sam Houston State University are expected to contribute to the university through effective teaching, scholarly accomplishment, and contributions through service to the university and community. Faculty at Sam Houston State University meet or exceed the competency expectations of SACS. The qualifications of all faculty who taught during the Fall 2007, Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 semesters may be accessed through the Faculty Credentials report. The Faculty Credentials report contains information for each faculty member who is the faculty of record for at least one course in the specified semester. The information includes courses taught by the respective faculty member and the faculty member’s academic credentials. Links are provided to course syllabi, course descriptions, and a “short vita” that uses a common template to provide a quick summary of the faculty member’s activities and accomplishments. The Faculty Credentials report also provides a listing of “Other Qualifications” such as licensure, professional experience, honors and awards, etc. Faculty members who hold the terminal degree in the field for which they taught courses were not required to enter additional information about their credentials in the “other qualifications” field. Any faculty members without a terminal degree were required to provide additional information. Given the fact that graduate education is progressively more advanced, faculty teaching a graduate course were also required to provide supplemental information in the “other qualifications” field. All transcripts are available on file in the Office of the Provost.

Tenure-Track Faculty
Tenured and tenure-track faculty are hired with the expectation that they will play a pivotal role in teaching, research, and service. The vetting processes in hiring and promoting tenure-track faculty places a premium on academic credentials and scholarly performance. Thus, there is a clear expectation that all tenure-track faculty will have a terminal degree. In most fields, the terminal degree is a doctorate, but in some disciplines such as the visual and performing arts, an appropriate master’s degree is considered the terminal degree [2].

Just under 97% of the tenure-track faculty teaching in the Fall 2007 semester possessed a terminal degree. Additionally, 94.5% of the teaching tenure-track faculty held the terminal degree in the discipline in which they taught. Only 12 (3.2%) tenured or tenure-track faculty members did not hold the terminal degree in their field. An additional nine (2.4%) tenured or tenure-track faculty members held a terminal degree in a related field as opposed to the specific field in which they taught.

Those faculty who are tenured but do not hold a terminal degree fall into two categories: faculty hired who have yet to complete their in-progress terminal degrees and faculty who were hired many years ago when Sam Houston State University was primarily a teacher-education institution with few research expectations for its faculty. The table below lists the faculty who have been hired prior to their completing their terminal degree:

Janis A. Warner Assistant Professor Management PhD in Progress
Amber M. Walker Assistant Professor Communication PhD in Progress
John W. Lane Assistant Professor Music PhD in Progress
Cynthia Moye Timme Assistant Professor Special Education PhD in Progress
Yvonne D. Frear Assistant Professor History PhD in Progress
Michael D. Glissmeyer Assistant Professor Management PhD in Progress

In one situation, Alfredo Velez III, a faculty member in the School of Music, was hired in a tenure-tenure/track position to head the marching band based on his professional experience [3]. Five faculty members were hired when Sam Houston State University had different criteria for the selection of faculty. Using these criteria, faculty with master’s degrees were hired and tenured based on their ability to teach. The table below lists the five current faculty with tenure without a terminal degree:

Deborah A. Hatton Instructor Communication
Jeff Lee Harwell Assistant Professor Accounting
Harold A. Hurry Assistant Professor Business Communication
Ruth E. Massingill Instructor Mass Communication
Robert L. Shadle Associate Professor History

Deborah Hatton has a master’s in communications and has published on communication pedagogy. Ms. Hatton also serves as the editor of the American Communication Journal and serves as chair of the National Communication Association’s Freedom of Expression Division [4] [5]. Mr. Harwell holds an MBA in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has published in his field and has presented at professional meetings. Professionally, Mr. Harwell served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Lifemark Corporation and was a senior auditor for Ernst and Whinney [6] [7]. Harold Hurry holds a master’s of education in Curriculum and Instruction and over 24 graduate hours in business. He has published in his field and has presented at professional meetings. He has held numerous offices, including president, in the Association for Business Communication, Southwest Region [8] [9]. Ruth Massingill holds a master’s degree in journalism. She has a recently published book and numerous publications and presentations. Ms. Massingill has professional experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently seeking a Ph.D. from Teesside University in England [10] [11]. Robert Shadle holds a master’s degree in History with more than 35 years of teaching experience. He has co-edited historical dictionaries and has made professional presentations [12] [13].

The table below lists the nine tenured/tenure-track faculty that hold a terminal degree in a related field. In each case, the faculty are publishing or presenting in the field related to the courses they are teaching and/or have substantial relevant work experience. The names in the table below provide links to the respective short vitas.

N. Anna Shaheen Assistant Professor Accounting JD/CPA
Taylor Klett Assistant Professor Accounting JD/CPA
Emily Roper Assistant Professor Kinesiology PhD in Education
Robert Matthews Assistant Professor Finance JD/CPA
Linda Zientek Assistant Professor Mathematics PhD in C&I with emphasis in Math Education
William Jasper Assistant Professor Mathematics PhD in C&I with minor in Mathematics
Mitchel Roth Professor Criminal Justice PhD in History
Nedom Muns Professor Agricultural/Industrial Sciences EdD in College Teaching with minor in Industrial Education
Peter Cooper Professor Computer Science PhD in Higher & Adult Education

All tenure-track faculty are expected to demonstrate effective teaching, research or creative accomplishments, and professional service. All tenure-track faculty are reviewed annually [14], while tenured faculty are reviewed every five years or when coming up for promotion [15].

On initial appointment, academic credentials are reviewed by the department faculty, the department chairs, the academic dean, and the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Faculty must obtain Graduate Faculty Status if they wish to teach graduate courses. The process for Graduate Faculty Status includes a review by the department chair, academic dean, Graduate Council, Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs [16]. If a faculty member is not on the Graduate Faculty, the department chair can petition for the faculty member to teach a specific course [17]. All faculty teaching graduate courses must meet rigorous standards for teaching and research.

Non-tenure-Track Faculty
Sam Houston State University has both full-time and part-time non-tenure-track faculty. Non-tenure-track faculty consist of interim and temporary faculty. Most interim faculty are hired on a full-time nine-month basis. Please see Core Requirement 2.8 for more detail on full-time faculty. Temporary faculty are hired on a semester-by-semester basis and may be assigned a full-time or part-time instructional load. The Academic Instructional Staffing Policy outlines the University’s procedures for assigning and reallocating faculty positions among the various departments of the University and outlines the expectations for faculty at Sam Houston State University: “Criteria for selection from among the applicants include: competitive quality of academic transcripts; recommendations from prior employers; the caliber of previous academic and nonacademic work experience; established record of or potential for research publications or creative activity; and the alignment of the expertise possessed by the applicant with that required of the position” [18]. The Appointment of Clinical Faculty Members Policy outlines the process for hiring non-tenure-track faculty on a full-time basis who serve an essential teaching function in a clinical setting [19]. The Employment of Non-Tenure Track Faculty Policy delineates the process for hiring these faculty and the standards for the non-tenure-track faculty. These faculty “should meet the same requirements for professional, experiential, and scholarly preparation as their tenured and tenure track counterparts teaching in the same disciplines” [20]. The credentials of non-tenure-track faculty are reviewed by the department chairs and academic deans at the initial appointment.

In the Fall 2007 semester, 97.5% of the non-tenure track faculty hold at least a master’s degree. Furthermore, 29% of the non-tenure track faculty possess the terminal degree. A review of the faculty credentials revealed only seven non-tenure track faculty members who do not possess at least a master’s degree. The seven faculty members are listed in the below table. The names in the table below provide links to the respective short vitas.

Name Degree Earned Graduate Hours
Richard Ballinger BSB Marketing/Professional Golf Management Earned MBA in May 2008
Mickey Herskowitz BS Journalism  
Beverly Roth BA Journalism /Communication and Environmental Studies 21 hrs. in Journalism and Mass Communication
Ernest Gobran BBA Accounting 6 hrs. in Spanish, 15 hrs. in Mandarin Chinese, 3 hrs. in German, 12 hrs. in French, 3 hrs. in Statistics
John Barnhill BMUS Music Teacher Education and BM Applied Music 25 hrs. in Music
Kevin Ward BBA Finance 30+ hrs. in Education and Kinesiology
Joseph Lind BS Human Performance and Fitness 30 hrs. towards the master's in Exersise Science

Richard Ballinger, the Director of the University’s Professional Golf Management/ Professional Golf Association (PGM/PGA) program teaches the PGM/PGA Professional Development labs designed to prepare students for certification as members of the PGA. SHSU is one of 20 universities in the country approved by the Professional Golf Association to offer the PGM/PGA program. To earn the approval of the PGA to offer the program, these labs must be taught by a PGA professional, such as Mr. Ballinger. Only students in the PGM program are eligible to take these courses.

Mickey Herskowitz, the holder of the Warner Endowed Chair, teaches journalism. Mr. Herskowitz received the National Headliner Award for excellence in sports writing, is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, Mr. Herskowitz was the first writer known to sweep four first place awards for best sports columns, including Associated Press, Texas Headliners, Houston Headliners and Texas Managing Editors competitions. In 1968, Mr. Herskowitz was the first writer in Associated Press history to win first place awards in three categories, sports, science (coverage of Apollo 11) and politics (coverage of Democratic and Republican national conventions.) Mr. Herskowitz has numerous feature articles in nationally circulated venues such as Time, Sports Illustrated, and Reader’s Digest.

Beverly Roth teaches undergraduate mass communication classes. Ms. Roth has been a professional writer for various newspapers and has served as an editor for the Austin American Statesman and ADWEEK, Southwest. Ms. Roth has completed 21 graduate hours in journalism and mass communications. Ms. Roth is not being rehired.

Ernest Gobran teaches undergraduate Arabic. Mr. Gobran has over forty years of experience teaching, tutoring, and translating Arabic, as well as other languages. Mr. Gobran is well-published with over 100 articles in Arabic, a selection of which is listed on his short vita; a book, and extensive creative writings. As Mr. Gobran does not hold a master’s degree, his credentials were positively reviewed by the departmental chair, academic dean, and the Council of Academic Associate Deans prior to being hired.

John Barnhill teaches individual instruction courses in trombone. Mr. Barnhill is an accomplished trombonist. He is the principal trombonist for the Houston Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1977. In addition to performing with the Houston Symphony, Mr. Barnhill has performed with the Chicago Music of the Baroque Ensemble, Atlanta Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic. He has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Houston, Rice University, and St. Thomas University.

Kevin Ward teaches the one-hour activity class in scuba diving. Mr. Ward has professional certifications from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and Scuba Schools International. Additionally, Mr. Ward has over 30 graduate hours in education and kinesiology.

Joseph Lind is the assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team at Sam Houston State University. Mr. Lind is near completion of an MS in Exercise Science from North Dakota State University and teaches a one-hour course in fitness and a one-hour activity course in volleyball.

Graduate Teaching Assistants
Graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are responsible for assisting faculty in labs, large classes, developmental classes, and review sessions. Some graduate assistants are responsible for teaching an undergraduate class as the instructor of record. As outlined in Academic Policy Statement 890303, “Employment of Graduate Assistants,” graduate teaching assistants “must have earned eighteen (18) graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, report directly to a faculty member, and be evaluated regularly” [21].

All graduate teaching assistants who are the instructor of record for baccalaureate courses receive training and are under direct supervision. The format of the training may differ by college and/or program. For example, a number of graduate students teach the freshman-level composition courses. These teaching assistants receive training in pedagogy through a specially designed course entitled “Practicum in Teaching College Composition" (ENG 567) [22]. These students are closely supervised by the Director of Freshman English. Mathematics teaching assistants have a one day orientation and bi-weekly meetings where they discuss teaching/pedagogy issues. At the end of the semester the teaching assistant supervisor, a tenure-track faculty member, and/or the departmental chair meet with the TAs to discuss the results of the teaching evaluations. Teaching assistants in Biology may be instructors of record for biology labs. They receive a full-day training meeting held at the beginning of each semester to expose lab instructors to pedagogical ideas designed to enhance the learning environment in the laboratory courses to include a power point presentation by Karl A. Smith concerning cooperative learning [23]. These TAs also attend weekly preparatory meetings held during the semester to preview topics to be covered the following week. The lab coordinator and/or lab instructors present pre-lab discussions to their peers followed by a free exchange of ideas and constructive criticism. The lab coordinator and instructors then work together to set-up the practical quiz to be given the following week. The evaluation process includes feedback given to lab instructors during the weekly prep meetings. At least once a year the lab coordinator will conduct a classroom visit for each lab instructor and complete an evaluation form that is shared with the lab instructor [24] [25].

All faculty of record at SHSU, to include teaching assistants, have their classroom performance evaluated using an instrument developed and nationally normed by the IDEA Center [26]. Please see Comprehensive Standard 3.7.2 for more information on course instructor evaluations. The course report not only provides an evaluation of the teaching assistant’s effectiveness with respect to course objectives, but also provides suggestions for improving teaching methods and styles [27] [28].

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Mission Statement, SHSU - Graduate Catalog, 2007-2009 - Print Version
[2] Minimum Terminal Degrees, SHSU
[3] Vita - Alfredo Velez III
[4] Faculty Credentials Report - Deborah Hatton
[5] Vita - Deborah Hatton
[6] Faculty Credentials Report - Jeff Harwell
[7] Vita - Jeff Harwell
[8] Faculty Credentials Report - Harold Hurry
[9] Vita - Harold Hurry
[10] Faculty Credentials Report - Ruth Massingill
[11] Vita - Ruth Massingill
[12] Faculty Credentials Report - Robert Shadle
[13] Vita - Robert Shadle
[14] Academic Policy Statement 820317 - The Faculty Evaluation System
[15] Academic Policy Statement 980204 - Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty
[16] Academic Policy Statement 801014 - Graduate Faculty Status
[17] Request for Permission to Allow a Non-member of the Graduate Faculty to Teach A Graduate Course Form
[18] Academic Policy Statement 800114 - Academic Instructional Staffing
[19] Academic Policy Statement 041020 - Appointment of Clinical Faculty Members
[20] Academic Policy Statement 890301 - Employment of Non-Tenure Track Faculty
[21] Academic Policy Statement 890303 - Employment of Graduate Assistants, Section 2.01
[22] Syllabus - ENG 567
[23] Biology Training PowerPoint Presentation
[24] Evaluation Form Example, Lab Instructor 1
[25] Evaluation Form Example, Lab Instructor 2
[26] IDEA Student Reactions to Instruction and Courses Form
[27] IDEA Diagnostic Form Report, Mathematics Teaching Assistant
[28] IDEA Diagnostic Form Report, English Teaching Assistant


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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111