2.8 Faculty

The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs. Upon application for candidacy, an applicant institution demonstrates that it meets the comprehensive standard for faculty qualifications.

Judgment of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University has an adequate number of full-time faculty to support its mission of teaching, research and service [1], and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs.

The faculty is comprised of tenured, tenure-track and non-tenured members. Non-tenured faculty members include adjunct instructors as well as administrators who teach. A description of faculty categories is found in the 2007-2008 Faculty Handbook [2]. All faculty members, unless the terms and conditions of their appointment letter state otherwise, are expected to engage in teaching, scholarship, and service. Essential job functions for a position may vary depending upon the nature of the department in which the faculty member holds expertise, external funding requirements attached to the position, licensing or accreditation requirements, or other circumstances. Essential job functions are listed in the initial appointment letter. To comply with Texas A&M University System Policy 12.01 Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure [3] and University Rule 12.01.99.P1 Procedures, Rules, Information, Academic Freedom, Responsibilities and Tenure Procedure [4], appointment letters indicate whether the appointment being offered is with tenure(T), tenure-accruing(TT), or non-tenure accruing(NTT) [5] [6]. The institution’s policies on employment of part-time or adjunct faculty are presented in Rule 12.01.99.P1 [4].

Conditions of appointment and advancement in rank of all faculty members are presented in the 2007-2008 Faculty Handbook [7]. To ensure faculty quality, all faculty members undergo annual review, and tenured faculty members undergo post-tenure review every five years as outlined in the Texas A&M University System Policy 12.06 Post-Tenure Review Policy [8] and the Prairie View A&M University Rule 12.06.99.P Post Tenure Review Process [9]. Sample reviews of all types are provided in Comprehensive Standard 3.7.2. The University also seeks to maintain faculty workload and class enrollments at levels sufficient to contain the normal costs of instruction within the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board formula funding guidelines. While some variability has been necessary and unavoidable, the overall goal is to maintain control. Work load procedures are established and set forth in PVAMU Rule 80.02 [10], and the University is committed to supporting its new faculty through quality orientation sessions [11].

In accordance with the mission [1] of the institution, the University offers a range of degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. The University maintains an adequate number of regular faculty members in each College, School or department to support non-classroom activities including advisement, research and creative activities, assessment, curriculum development and service activities. The average class size at the undergraduate level is 24.35 while at the graduate level it is 13.42 [12]. The University is committed to employing the most qualified faculty to ensure quality and integrity of its undergraduate and graduate programs. The credentials of the faculty and their teaching assignments are shown on the Faculty Roster Forms referenced in Comprehensive Standards 3.7.1.  Faculty members are engaged in research which supports and enhances academic programs. Funded grants provide faculty release-time, and the salary savings accrued from release-time are used to employ adjunct faculty to meet instructional demands necessitated by grant release time.

The University has experienced a significant expansion of its degree program role and scope having moved, in 2000, from a level III institution to a level V institution, and currently as a level VI. Moreover, student enrollment has grown 25% between fall 2000 and fall 2008, from 6,609 to 8,203 [13] [14]. During the fall 2007 semester, enrollment peaked at 8,382 [14]. The 25% enrollment growth has allowed the University to do its part to keep pace with the state mandated Closing the Gap enrollment targets set for the University.

Over the past several years, changes have taken place in the number of tenure/tenure-track and 'other' non-tenure designated faculty. While the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology, for example, has seen a 19% decrease in the number of tenure and tenure-tenure track faculty since 2004, other areas such as the School of Architecture and College of Engineering have seen a 6% increase over the same time period [15]. Committed to its Core Curriculum, the University maintains a fairly high number of tenure and tenure-track faculty in this area in particular [15]. In spite of the decrease in tenure and tenure-tract numbers in some areas since 2004, the University has increased its FTSE/FTFE ratio since 2000 (the University's last reaffirmation of accreditation visit) from 19:1 to 18:1 in 2008. The percent of FTE teaching faculty who are tenure and tenure-track has gone from 49.6% in 2000 to 51.6% in the fall of 2008 for a 2 point change [16]. Furthermore, as discussed below, 87% of all faculty have a terminal degree. While the percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty teaching lower division semester credit hours has decreased slightly since 2000, the number of faculty with terminal degrees in this same category has increased since then.  

In spite of some decreases, NSSE data from 2008 [17] demonstrate significant increases in areas that reflect on the academic and support rolls that FTFE may have. Specifically, 67% of seniors in 2001 [18] reported that faculty provided the support that students need to succeed academically either very much or quite a bit. This number rose to 78% in 2008. Commenting on the role faculty played in supporting students to cope with non-academic responsibilities, the percents rose from 27% to 48% during the same time frame. Seniors also reported that the faculty prepared students to learn on their own, with percentages increasing 5% since 2001 to 91%. Finally, 68% of seniors in 2001 said that they had quality relationships with faculty members. By 2008, that percentage rose to 88% and helps demonstrate that the number of full-time faculty is adequate to support the mission of the university.

Faculty members also have appropriate credentials to help fulfill the University’s mission and to ensure the quality and integrity of the University’s academic programs.  All faculty teaching baccalaureate courses have a doctoral or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a minimum of 18 graduate semester credit hours in the teaching discipline. Transcripts which document faculty qualifications are maintained in the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. As of fall 2008, the total faculty headcount was 507, an 8.56% increase since the fall 2004 [19]. Of the total faculty, 45.35% are regular tenured and tenure-track faculty. In the fall 2008, 87% of the total faculty and 96% of the regular faculty held a doctorate or equivalent terminal degree [20]. The numbers of terminal degreed faculty has increased since 2003 [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [20]. The Faculty Terminal Degree Attainment Chart 1994-2008 shows the trend in full-time faculty terminal degree attainment between 1994 and 2008 [26].

In addition to the ensuring the academic credentials of the faculty and an adequate number of faculty to support the mission, the University is also committed to faculty diversity in ethnicity and gender. The following tables from the PVAMU Fact Book 2004-2008 give a breakdown of the total faculty based upon rank, ethnicity, gender and tenure status [27].

Faculty at the University have contributed to its many successes. Highlights of some of those achievements are found in University publications such as the Five Points of Excellence 2004-2008 [28] and College newsletters provided in several of the Comprehensive Standards narratives. Furthermore, a number of disciplines at the University have specialized accrediting bodies with special faculty requirements, and the number and quality of faculty have contributed to specialized accreditations across the University [29]. The University's most recent NCATE report for teacher education, for example, was identified as a national model [30] [31].

According to the Texas Higher Education Accountability System, among its seven comprehensive university peers in the state, the University ranks second with 37% of its undergraduate classes with less than 20 students [32]. It is fifth in its group for the number of lower division courses taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty [33] and above three universities in the Texas A&M University System on this quality measure [34]. Furthermore, at 31 students, the University is in the middle of its comprehensive peers for average class size of lower division courses [35]. The University also maintains a higher than average percentage of baccalaureate graduates enrolled in professional or graduate schools or employed within one year of graduation. Among the ten universities in the Texas A&M University System, for example, it ranks fourth with a rate of 83.5% [36]. PVAMU ranks 14th among the 36 Texas universities listed in the Higher Education Accountability System for research expenditures in FY2007 [37]. At $11,172,489 in FY2007 research expenditures, the University is first among comprehensive universities in the state [38]. The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic program.

Supporting Documentation and Links

Core Requirements 2.8

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