Faculty Proficiency in Oral and Written English

The procedures adopted by Tennessee Technological University for adhering to the Board Guidelines and SACS Criteria follow:

I. Procedures for Teaching Appointments

A. New Full-Time, Tenure-Track or Tenured Faculty

  1. During the interview process for regular, full-time, tenure-track or tenured faculty appointments, the candidate will:
    a. give a seminar or lecture or conduct some similar activity which will be attended by faculty and/or students and/or administrators and
    b. provide a writing sample on a topic to be determined by the academic unit. A letter of application or cover letter may be used in lieu of the writing sample should the academic unit so choose. This sample or letter will be reviewed by faculty and/or students and/or administrators.
  2. The search committee will review the oral presentation and the writing sample or letter as part of its considerations and will provide assessment of the presentation and sample or letter, in writing, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  3. At the time of recommendation, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will certify in writing to the President that the applicant can effectively communicate orally and in writing in the English language.

B. New Part-Time and/or Temporary Faculty

All candidates for part-time and/or temporary faculty positions in an academic unit will be interviewed by the head of that academic unit to ascertain ability to use English orally. To ascertain writing ability, candidates will provide a writing sample on a topic to be determined by the head of the academic unit, who may use a letter of application or cover letter in lieu of the writing sample. Candidates who, in the assessment of the head of the academic unit, are not able to communicate well will not be recommended. If the head of the academic unit recommends the appointment, he/she will certify in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will in turn certify to the President that the applicant can effectively communicate orally and in writing in the English language.

C. New Graduate Teaching Assistants and Associates

Because it is not feasible to interview all graduate teaching assistants and associates before they are appointed, each will be evaluated for ability to use English orally and in writing during the week prior to the start of the first semester during which they have a teaching assignment. The evaluation will be carried out by the head of the academic unit (or his/her designee) for which they will be teaching. As part of the evaluation process, each teaching assistant/associate will provide a writing sample on a topic to be determined by the head of the academic unit. A letter of application or cover letter may substitute for this sample should the head of the unit so choose. Those identified as not able to communicate effectively in the English language, either orally or in writing or both, will not be allowed to begin teaching but will either be assigned other duties or have their assistantship/ associateship revoked. Those identified as being able to communicate effectively in the English language will be certified in writing by the head of the academic unit to the Dean of the Graduate School that the teaching assistant/associate is proficient in oral and written English.

D. Tenure Decisions

  1. Oral English competence will be considered in the review for the tenure for faculty employed after January 1, 1985.
  2. Competence in writing English will be considered in the review for tenure for faculty employed after May 6, 1995.

II. Procedures for Providing Assistance for Improving the Spoken English Competency of Currently Employed Personnel

A. Complaints from students or faculty that current faculty members, other currently employed personnel who are teaching, are not communicating effectively in English will be directed to the head of the academic unit.

B. If a head of an academic unit finds that a faculty member, teaching assistant/associate, or other person who is assigned to teach a course in that unit, is having difficulty communicating in English, he/she, in consent with the appropriate dean, will recommend a process for improvement.

[Source: Adopted by the Academic Council February 20, 1985: Amended by the Academic Council November 2, 1994.]

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