The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which accredits the University of Kansas, requires that all instructors possess an academic degree one level higher than the level of instruction they are assigned. (H.L.C. Assumed Practice B.2.a; and HLC Criterion 3.C.3) The HLC provides for one exception, “equivalent experience.” (Ibid.) The School of Professional Studies complies with these HLC requirements as follows.
Academic Courses in Professional Studies (including lecture courses in all Professional Studies disciplines): Instructors for an undergraduate course must hold earned degrees in the Professional Studies discipline or related fields in which they instruct at the master's or doctoral level. Instructors for a master’s-level course must hold earned doctoral degrees in the Professional Studies discipline in which they instruct unless a master’s degree is considered the terminal degree for that discipline, in which case they must hold a relevant master’s degree and have an appropriate amount of applied experience as defined below. The sole additional exception to this requirement can be made for undergraduate and master’s level courses to be taught by instructors without the required degree by a showing of exceptional professional expertise and experience as defined below. Instructors for a doctoral-level academic course must hold earned doctoral degrees in the Professional Studies discipline or related fields in which they instruct.
Applied, Clinical, and Other Practical Courses in Professional Studies (including capstone courses, clinical supervision, internships, practica, and other applied courses): Because of the vocational nature of applied and practical courses in professional studies, professional experience may often be considered in lieu of instructors holding degrees beyond the master’s level in a Professional Studies discipline or related fields. Generally, an undergraduate degree in a Professional Studies discipline is expected as the minimum academic credential required for teaching at the collegiate level. Holding a master’s degree in a Professional Studies discipline is normally expected for instructors teaching applied and practical courses at the undergraduate and master’s levels. A doctoral degree is generally expected for teaching applied and practical courses in a Professional Studies discipline at the doctoral level. Exceptions can be made at all levels of instruction for instructors having exceptional professional expertise and experience as defined below.
Exceptional professional expertise and experience. What constitutes exceptional professional expertise and experience must be approved by the program director and the dean, or designee, on a case-by-case basis. This case-by-case determination will be retained in the instructor’s permanent employee records within the School of Professional Studies.
Such approvals will always:
(a) Be crafted in light of the professional expertise of the instructor as related to course content and the norms of the relevant discipline;
(b) Ensure that the instructor has at least 3 years of relevant professional experience directly related to the application of the discipline material to be taught; and
(c) Consider (non-exclusively) the instructor’s: (1) graduate-level academic coursework, (2) record of professional experience, research activity, or professional roles, (3) instructional or clinical experience, and/or (4) other relevant achievements.