Faculty Credentialing in a Virtual World

Posted by Tony Adam on May 15, 2020 12:15:30 PM
Tony Adam

Verifying faculty credentialing is an essential part of any institutional or programmatic process, as it ensures that any individual instructor is qualified to teach a particular subject. Without verification of credentials, you can’t assure academic quality, regardless of how popular an instructor might rate by her students.

Faculty credentialing is not limited only to those instructors who have degrees from flagship US universities. The institution or program must also validate the credentials of technical workforce instructors who may not have academic degrees but have certificates or work experience that demonstrate their skills.

International faculty must also be vetted through a localized process that aligns non-US coursework/degrees with those approved by the US Department of Education and other agencies. In our new virtual environment, using an online system such as SPOL helps institutions through the credentialing process for all current and prospective faculty regardless of individuals’ backgrounds.

An online faculty credentialing platform also allows the institution to review potential hires through a multi-step process. You’d enter the candidate as a prospect in the Credentialing Module with no additional access or permissions. Hiring committee members, Human Resources personnel, and other qualified staff could then have access to the prospect’s curriculum vitae, certificates, letters of reference, and other documentation for review. With a cloud-based solution, anyone with permission could access the documentation anywhere—no need to meet on campus. Instead of collecting and referencing paper records, hiring authorities could seamlessly validate documentation.

Deans and others in the approval hierarchy could then review the credentials make hiring and teaching decisions. If you move forward with a candidate, you could then automatically set up final credentialing for the institution’s discipline. Those prospects not hired could be made inactive (for hiring at a future date) or deleted from the system. Written policies can also be uploaded to a secure folder accessible to anyone involved in the credentialing process, in order to assure that those policies are being properly followed.

You could easily follow the same process for technical or workforce faculty. As there are no limits on the type, size, or amount of documents that could be uploaded, a prospect’s record could include a plethora of certificates along with information concerning special qualifications or life experience. If the prospect were a systems manager for twenty years at a major corporation, that information could be entered on the prospect’s SPOL record for review and validated against institutional policy.

As with degreed faculty, the records for technical/workforce faculty would remain on the platform until deleted by someone with the proper permissions. Institutions with health science programs would also find this ability useful, as adjunct faculty could be inactivated when particular courses were not offered but reactivated when the course was once again on the schedule.

Documenting international faculty credentials would also be available to anyone with permission and would remain on file until purposely deleted. The institution could also store the equivalency documents that show which international degrees align with which US degrees.

Additionally, anyone with permission could add continuing education coursework to an instructor’s record to ensure additional credentialing even across disciplines. For example, a credentialed Biology instructor might take additional courses during the summer to also be credentialed to teach Chemistry, and that information could be easily reviewed by the proper institutional authorities at any time, anywhere. 

Faculty credentialing will continue to be a cornerstone of institutional effectiveness, throughout the pandemic and beyond. Partners such as SPOL specialize in providing customizable platforms that meet your institution where you are. If you’d like to learn how SPOL can pivot your institution’s credentialing efforts, reach out to us today for a consultation.   

Topics: Institutional Effectiveness, Faculty Credentialing