Full-time faculty members are required to hold the highest academic degree in their given field of study after a change in the university’s policy that requires the faculty to have a terminal degree
to earn tenure.
The change will not affect adjunct professors, Dr. Mike Wanous, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, said.
“This applies only to tenure track faculty, who come up for evaluation in their seventh year,” Wanous said.
According to Wanous, terminal degrees tend to vary for different disciplines. For example, in the arts, the terminal degree is usually the master of fine arts (M.F.A.). The terminal degree for most other fields is the Ph.D. or Ed.D.
“Before this change, the terminal degree was preferred, but not a requirement for tenure,” Wanous said. “The idea is that, on average, faculty prepared with a terminal degree will provide the best education for our students. Teaching excellence and mission fit are our highest priorities for faculty.”
The university aims to continuously put its best foot forward and believes this change is on the path to doing so, Wanous said. It believes that change will help provide a high-quality faculty to educate students.
“Virtually all of our current tenure track faculty have their terminal degree, or are working on it,” Wanous said.
The policy went into full effect last year, and left the university with some positions to fill. Wanous said the search is already in progress, and the university is currently looking to fill positions in the education, exercise science, theatre, social work and graphic design departments.
Faculty applications require an initial Skype interview followed by on-campus interviews.
“We have had some on-campus interviews for exercise science, theater, and social work, Wanous said. “The other searches are at earlier stages of progress.