New Accreditation Rules Could Disqualify Some College Faculty

Dec 4, 2015

A change in accreditation requirements could be bad news for many of Wyoming’s college professors.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Wyoming and the state’s 7 community colleges. The agency released new guidelines in October.

They say that professors teaching courses where credits will be transferred to four-year colleges must have a master’s degree and 18 graduate-level credit hours in their subject areas.

Wyoming Community College Commission executive director Dr. Jim Rose says the new rules could mean many educators teaching introductory classes at community colleges would no longer be qualified.

“My fear would be—and I hope this doesn’t happen—but, you could lose very effective, dedicated, long-serving professionals who just may simply not have the absolute stricture in terms of disciplinary credit and the necessary credentials to conform to these guidelines,” Rose says.

And the changes could present challenges to Wyoming high schools who provide concurrent enrollment courses.

“It’s a little too rigid, and I’m not sure what it’s going to gain us,” says Rose. “In some cases, in these school districts where they really would like to have their students taking these college level classes and yet they can’t qualify their faculty to teach them, that creates a problem.”

Administrators hope some faculty may be allowed to substitute experience for coursework, but the flexibility of the new requirements remains to be seen. 

Colleges have two years to meet the new requirements.