Below are the standards set forth by Middle States that relate to contingent faculty. All page numbers for Middle States’ standards refer to Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education: Requirements of Affiliation and Standards of Accreditation
Standards for ratios of full-time vs. contingent faculty on campus.
There should be an adequate core of faculty and other qualified professionals that is responsible to the institution, supports the programs offered, and assures the continuity and coherence of the institution’s programs. (37)
Middle States indicates that the word faculty should be “broadly construed to encompass qualified professionals such as third parties contracted by the institution, part-time or adjunct faculty, and those assigned responsibilities in academic development and delivery.” (37) Middle States does not give guidance on what an acceptable ratio of full-time to contingent faculty should be.
Standards for working conditions and professional development opportunities for contingent faculty.
For institutions relying on part-time, adjunct, temporary, or other faculty on time-limited contracts, employment policies and practices should be as carefully developed and communicated as those for full-time faculty. The greater the dependence on such employees, the greater is the institutional responsibility to provide orientation, oversight, evaluation, professional development, and opportunities for integration into the life of the institution. (38)
Standards for hiring practices and evaluation of part-time faculty’s performance.
As mentioned previously, “for institutions relying on part-time, adjunct, temporary, or other faculty on time-limited contracts, employment policies and practices should be as carefully developed and communicated as those for full-time faculty, ” (38) which provides some equity between full-time and contingent faculty.
As for evaluation, Middle States asks for evidence that:
…criteria for the appointment, supervision, and review of teaching effectiveness for part-time, adjunct, and other faculty [are] consistent with those for full-time faculty. (38)
Under Optional Analysis and Evidence, Middle States would like to see:
Analysis of institutional practices for the appointment, supervision, and review of teaching effectiveness for part-time, adjunct, and other faculty on time-limited contracts. (39)
Standards for the employment of graduate employees.
Also under Optional Analysis and Evidence, Middle States would like to see “analysis of the training, role, and effectiveness of graduate students who provide undergraduate instruction” (39)
Do you have experience with Middle States regarding the implementation of these standards? We would like to hear about your experience.