3-12: Faculty Qualifications – Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes and describes the qualifications required for faculty members teaching for Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) to assure compliance with the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practice and in alignment with guidelines for Determining Qualified Faculty through HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all employees who are hired to teach college-level credit-bearing courses. These faculty members must be in documented compliance of this policy as required by HLC guidelines. Volunteers and contractors who have been identified as performing functions similar to those of employees occupying a faculty position are subject to the provisions of this policy.

Policy Statement

SFCC is committed to assuring effective teaching and learning and will ensure that faculty members whose responsibility is teaching college-level credit-bearing courses are qualified in accordance with HLC guidelines and can communicate expertise in the subject matter in which they are teaching. SFCC and HLC’s requirements related to qualified faculty members seek to ensure that students have access to faculty members who are experts in the subject matter that they teach and who can communicate knowledge in that subject to their students. SFCC will work with faculty members who are otherwise performing well to ensure that they meet the requirements.


  1. Dual Credit Enrollment State-mandated program that allows high school students to enroll in college-level courses offered by a postsecondary institution that may be academic or career technical but not remedial or developmental, and simultaneously to earn credit toward high school graduation and a postsecondary degree or certificate. Students who are concurrently enrolled may also be enrolled in the dual credit program if they meet eligibility requirements as specified in 6.30.7 NMAC.
  2. Faculty Employees whose position is to instruct students.
  3. Industry Certification is a voluntary process through which individuals are assessed by an independent, third-party certifying entity using predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, and competencies, resulting in the award of a credential that is nationally recognized, and must be at least one of the following: • Within an industry that addresses a critical local or statewide economic need; • Linked to an occupation that is included in the workforce system’s targeted occupation list; • Linked to an occupation that is identified as emerging.
  4. Professional Portfolio is documentation presented by the prospective faculty member that provides sufficient evidence of subject area mastery.
  5. Subfield is a subdivision of a field of study within an academic discipline.
  6. Tested Experience demonstrates a breadth and depth of experience outside of the classroom relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member may teach. Tested experience is established through evaluation of a minimum threshold of professional experience, consideration of demonstrated skill sets, portfolios, professional, industry, and subject matter certifications and experience, additional credentials, publications, and experiences that establish expertise in the specific discipline or program area in which they will be teaching as well as demonstrated skill sets derived from work experience, comb­ined with training, that contributes to knowledge and expertise in a given subject area, of no less than two years.

Policy Process

  1. SFCC will establish consistent procedures that support careful consideration of qualifications for all instructional faculty members including full time, part time, adjunct, dual credit, and temporary.
  2. When tested experience is established, faculty or advisory committee members who have expertise in the relevant teaching area shall set the threshold.
  3. The Office of Human Resources will maintain a summary record of tested experience. Faculty members may be required to present their portfolio and professional credentials at a later time.
  4. Faculty members teaching general education courses or non-occupational courses must (1) hold a master’s degree or higher in the discipline or subfield in which they teach (preferred) or (2) hold a master’s degree or higher in a discipline or subfield other than that in which they teach with a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline or subfield in which they teach.
  5. Faculty members teaching in career and technical education college-level certificate and occupational associate degree programs may demonstrate qualifications in either of the following ways:
    1. Hold a bachelor’s degree in the field, or
    2. Possess a combination of education, training and tested experience.

Such qualifications are allowable even in instances where technical/occupational courses transfer. The evaluation will be done by the department chair and/or dean. Human Resources will prescreen new applicants for these qualifications and retain documentation of the qualifications.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, and the Executive Director for Human Resources and Professional Development/EEO Officer and the Office of Human Resources, shall be responsible for enforcing academic and human resources policies and procedures. The Office of Human Resources shall work with different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.


Higher Learning Commission Guidelines, Determining Qualified Faculty through HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices, October 1, 2015

6.30.7 NMAC New Mexico Administrative Code, Primary and Secondary Education, Educational Standards-General Requirements, Dual Credit

Policy 2-5 Admission of Secondary Schools Students


SFCC Governing Board approved: 2/20/17

Associated Procedures