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Graduate Faculty Status Policy**

Overview of Policy

As a comprehensive, public institution, the scope of graduate education at St. Cloud State University encompasses a broad spectrum of advanced degrees and credentials. Participation in graduate education is reserved for individuals appointed to Graduate Faculty Status whose qualifications, experience and institutional appointments enable them to make significant contributions to the training of graduate students in research, creative or scholarly activity and/or professional graduate programs in a comprehensive and sustained manner. Given the genuine commitment to scholarship and professional activity required, only faculty with graduate-level appointments may teach graduate courses, mentor graduate students as they work on their culminating experiences, direct graduate- level independent studies and advise graduate students.

The Graduate Faculty Status Policy is in compliance with Higher Learning Commission guidelines and indicates that St. Cloud State University values scholarship and has a systematic approach to monitor and evaluate the qualifications necessary to obtain Graduate Faculty Status.

Graduate Faculty Status is not intended for the limited purpose of teaching graduate courses or for serving on a singular or occasional thesis committee. Nor is it expected as a means to recognize an individual who holds a graduate degree and may be employed at the University otherwise. Status is intended for individuals who will participate broadly in the training of graduate students (i.e. supervising master’s or doctoral research or culminating experiences, serving on program committees, chairing committees, etc.) with an ongoing and continual basis and who maintain an active program of research, scholarship or creative activity.

Criteria for Appointment to Graduate Faculty Status

*Graduate Faculty Status may be obtained via one of the following pathways:

  • Standard Academic Preparation + two:  Possession of a terminal degree in the field of instruction plus two examples of scholarship and/or professional activity as defined in Section II. As most St. Cloud State University faculty have a terminal degree and are active in their field of study, this will likely be the most common pathway to achieve Graduate Faculty Status.
  • Absence of Standard Academic Preparation + three:  Possession of a master’s degree in the field of instruction plus three examples of scholarship and/or professional activity as defined in Section II. St. Cloud State University recognizes that not all faculty or committee members have a terminal degree yet bring expertise into the classroom or culminating project committee. These faculty are required to establish their proficiency by providing examples of their scholarly and professional activity.

*Faculty guiding doctoral education should have a record of scholarship and preparation to teach at the doctoral level. Research and scholarship should be appropriate to the program and degree offered.

Definition of Criteria

There are three sets of criteria to obtain Graduate Faculty Status:

  • Standard Academic Preparation:

Standard academic preparation requires a terminal degree from an institution accredited at the time the degree was awarded. Faculty eligible for appointment to Graduate Faculty status under category Ia (Criteria for Appointment to Graduate Faculty Status) will possess a degree in a related discipline and one step higher than the degree students in the course are pursuing. In addition, faculty will be active in research, scholarship or creative activity in their field.

An exception applies when (and only when) the credential being earned is a terminal degree. Faculty who hold terminal degrees are able to teach for that credential. The “one-degree higher” rule is void.

Substitution for standard academic preparation may be granted with documentation of exceptional experience and/or scholarly, research or creative activity in a specific area relevant to the graduate course to be taught or culminating project of the student. Departments will submit a request for substitution, as described in section VI (Special Circumstances). The Academic Dean will make a recommendation; the Dean of Graduate Studies will make the final decision.

  •  Scholarship:

Scholarship includes publications, presentations and internally/externally-funded grants. Examples are as described below:

  • Publications
    • Research, theoretical or tutorial articles published in referred journals; theoretical, creative or other professional books, textbooks and/or chapters in edited textbooks/research books published by a national publisher and reviewed by peers
    • Research, theoretical, creative or tutorial articles in non-refereed journals
    • Research, theoretical, creative or tutorial monographs published by regional or national organizations
    • Refereed or juried artistic activities, non-print productions appropriate to the discipline
  • Presentations
    • Similar papers presented at state or multi-state or regional conferences or conventions
    • The presentation of art, music, dance, literature or theater that is open to the campus community, general public, professional association or other external entity
    • Professional presentations at regional, national and international conferences
    • An invited or keynote speaker
  • Professional Activity

Professional activity includes consulting, contract work, professional practice, service and submission of internally and externally funded grants.

    • Consulting or contract work in the areas of disciplinary and research expertise appropriate to the academic discipline
    • Professional practice in the areas of disciplinary and research expertise appropriate to the academic discipline
    • Leadership activity in professional associations, civic organizations or other groups in areas appropriate to the academic discipline
    • Service on university, civic, non-profit or other boards, committees, task forces or other groups in areas appropriate to the academic discipline.
    • Grants or contracts submitted external to St. Cloud State University
    • Editorial involvement in state, regional or national publications
    • Funding of an internal faculty grant
    • Serving as the Chair of a culminating project.

Standard Approval Procedures for New Graduate Faculty

1.   Applicants seeking Graduate Faculty Status, to teach specific graduate courses, or to serve on a graduate culminating project committee will originate at the departmental level and shall have the recommendation of at least three Graduate Faculty or the Department Advisory Board. Academic units who have less than three faculty members must have consensus.

  • The application will proceed to the Academic Dean for recommendation.
  • The application will proceed to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final decision.

Graduate Faculty 4-year Review Process

All graduate faculty must reapply every four years to ensure that they are current in their disciplines and thus, adept in their teaching roles. Graduate Faculty need to demonstrate a current and sustained record of scholarly or creative activities as defined in section II. The application will include the Graduate Faculty Status application and current curriculum vitae, or other pertinent documents highlighting scholarly and professional activity over the last four years.

Individuals with joint appointments will be evaluated in the department in which their tenure, or tenure-track line resides. In these cases, the other units with which they are affiliated may be asked for a recommendation.


A faculty member denied graduate faculty status will be provided feedback by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The faculty member may appeal the decision if there is evidence of procedural error or if additional pertinent information is able. All appeals should be submitted to Provost for a final decision.

Special Circumstances

The School of Graduate Studies recognizes that many individuals who are not eligible for Graduate Faculty status nonetheless have the potential to bring significant knowledge and experience to our graduate students. Individuals with a substantial level of expertise and/or specialized training and who do not have St. Cloud State Graduate Faculty status may teach graduate-level courses or serve as a “special member” of a masters/doctoral committee with recommendation by the Academic Dean and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The Dean of Graduate Studies may revoke graduate faculty status for cause, such as for academic misconduct or at the substantiated recommendation of the Academic Dean or the Provost.

**Approved by President's Council for implementation beginning Spring 2017, pending approval of the process document.