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 Music complies with these HLC requirements as follows.
Academic Courses in Music (including lecture courses in music theory, music history, music education, and music therapy): Instructors for an undergraduate course must hold earned degrees in music at the master's or doctoral level. Instructors for a master’s-level course must hold earned doctoral degrees in music. The sole 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 music. Credentialing by experience, as opposed to degree, is truly an exceptional approach for academic courses in music.
Applied, Clinical, Ensemble, and Other Practical Courses in Music (including private lessons, ensemble direction, ensemble coaching, clinical supervision, instrumental/vocal methods, and pedagogy): Because of the vocational nature of applied and practical courses in music, professional experience may often be considered in lieu of instructors holding advanced degrees in music. Generally, an undergraduate degree in music is expected as the minimum academic credential required for teaching at the collegiate level. Holding a master’s degree in music 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 music at the doctoral level. Exceptions can be made at all levels of instruction for instructors having exceptional professional expertise and experience as defined below. Credentialling by experience, as opposed to degree, is common for applied and practical courses in music.
Exceptional professional expertise and experience. What constitutes exceptional professional expertise and experience must be approved by the area coordinator and the dean 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 Music.
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 (e.g., exceptional vocal performance experience will differ greatly from exceptional experience in music therapy);
(b) Ensure that the instructor has 3 years of professional experience; and
(c) Consider (non-exclusively) the instructor’s: (1) graduate-level academic coursework, (2) record of performances, compositions, creative activity, or professional roles, (3) instructional or clinical experience, and/or (4) other relevant achievements.