Adequacy in Faculty Standards of U.S. Regional Accreditation Commissions
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Adequacy of full-time faculty is an indicator utilized by regional accreditors in the United States to ensure quality instruction since studies have shown that a high percentage of contingent faculty may have a negative impact on student performance. U.S. regional accreditors of colleges and universities include this requirement in their accreditation standards. In order to demonstrate compliance with accreditors’ requirements related to adequacy of full-time faculty, institutions need to assess this requirement in light of their institutional missions. This research study analyzed self-study documents submitted by 18 institutions during their SACSCOC regional reaffirmation of accreditation processes conducted in 2014 and 2015. An analysis of these narratives was conducted using qualitative methodology, and Nivo10 software. Three themes emerged: faculty characteristics, assessment measures utilized to demonstrate adequacy of full-time faculty, and nature of faculty responsibilities at different types of institutions. Recommendations are offered on commonly-used assessment measures for adequacy of full-time faculty in order to support future institutional examination of the reaffirmation of accreditation requirement.