The Office of the Dean of Faculties assumes responsibility for verifying the teaching qualifications for faculty. Colleges and departments are responsible for overseeing the hiring of graduate assistants who serve as instructors-of- record.

We use the federal Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes to determine whether or not an instructor’s educational background is in the same discipline as courses he/she teaches. The CIP codes for courses are maintained in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s course inventory for Texas A&M University. 

Because faculty members sometimes teach courses that are closely related to but not the same as their highest-earned degree, the Office of the Dean of Faculties worked with deans and department heads to establish a cross-walk that documents similar disciplines. As new faculty are hired, we request all earned degrees CIP code and the CIP codes for courses the faculty member is qualified to teach so we are able to update our database. 

Prior to the first day of classes, the DOF Portal compares the CIP code for each instructor’s earned degrees to the CIP code for course sections the instructor is teaching. If degrees, masters and/or doctoral depending on the course level being taught, and course CIP codes are not an exact match, the Office of the Dean of Faculties checks the cross-walk to determine whether or not the instructor is qualified to teach the course because the disciplines are similar. If the degree and course CIP codes still do not match, the department/college must provide a detailed justification that relates the instructor’s education and experience to the course content in order to verify and document the instructor’s qualifications to teach each course.

Recommendations for Colleges and Departments
Courses—Course CIP codes, which corresponds to the subject matter of that course, are assigned by the department or unit administering the course, typically when the course is first proposed. CIP codes reflect the content of the course and not the department in which the course is offered.
Course CIP codes for all Texas A&M University programs are included in an inventory maintained by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and may be downloaded from the Board’s data server (http://www.txhighereddata.org/interactive/UnivCourse). We recommend departments periodically review CIP codes assigned to their courses to ensure alignment between the CIP code, course content, and degree program. Administrative units wishing to change CIP codes assigned to courses already listed on the THECB inventory should contact the Office of the Registrar for information regarding the request and approval process.
New Faculty—Instructor qualifications and degree verifications are required for new faculty at the time of hire. This information is used to update resources used for the semester-based credentialing process. Administrative units complete and submit faculty credentials, along with other request-to-hire materials, to the Office of the Dean of Faculties. In the DOF Electronic Hiring Portal, administrative units will be required to complete the credentialing information regarding the faculty member’s earned degrees, courses the individual is expected to teach, and the individual’s qualifications to teach assigned courses. The same process described above for Semester-based Credentialing is followed to credential new faculty members.

Graduate Teaching Assistants — To meet SACS guidelines regarding graduate teaching assistants, all graduate students assigned as instructors of record should have satisfactorily completed at least 18 semester-based graduate credit hours in the same or a closely related discipline to that of instruction. The DOF Credentialing Portal captures the current number of graduate credit hours completed by the student.   The Office of the Dean of Faculties verifies that the individual is teaching a course in the same program where they are getting their degree and for which they have completed 18 semester-based credit hours.  If the program differs from the course subject, a detailed justification is needed. Credits for which an “incomplete” has been assigned, such as research hours, should not be included in determining the number of graduate hours completed. Graduate student instructors of record should receive appropriate training prior to instruction. Training may include completion of the teaching assistant training provided by the Center for Teaching Excellence, auditing the course during the term prior to instruction, or in-department training. All graduate student instructors of record must be supervised by a faculty member holding teaching credentials appropriate to the course and should be regularly evaluated on their teaching performance.
Departments wishing to appoint as instructors of record faculty or graduate students with fewer than
18 completed graduate credit hours in the discipline assigned to teach, should maintain documentation demonstrating additional credentials that qualify the individual for instruction. In every case, the department should receive prior approval from the Office of the Dean of Faculties for these exceptions.
CIP Code References
Course Inventory, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Degree Program Inventory, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
CIP Code Tools, National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/Default.aspx?y=55