Faculty and the Accreditation Process

This website will be kept up-to-date as the SACS Accreditation process moves forward. Contact Cindy Russell, Associate Vice Chancellor of Faculty Administration and the Chair of the SACS Faculty Credentials Workgroup with questions or to discuss this process.

Email: accreditation@uthsc.edu
Telephone: 901-448-6158

General Information

UTHSC was once independently accredited by SACS. Most recently, UTHSC has been part of the "Big Orange" accreditation that included the University of Tennessee Knoxville, UT Institute of Agriculture, UT Institute for Public Service, and Tullahoma. We are now once again moving toward independent accreditation for UTHSC.

We will initially apply for candidacy. This requires UTHSC to demonstrate that we meet several Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. The tab, SACS Requirements & Standards, lists those that are most relevant to our faculty.

The tab, UTHSC Policies & Procedures, describes the processes that have been put in place to enable us to successfully demonstrate compliance with the requirements and standards that are most relevant to faculty.

The FAQ tab is an ever-expanding list of questions and answers about this process. Send your questions to accreditation@uthsc.edu if they are not already addressed in the FAQs and we will answer them and post the answers.

The Forms & Documents tab provides a centralized location for you to access and download needed materials.

To enable us to obtain required documentation that will demonstrate faculty credentials, you will enter information into a database. Instructions for accessing and using that database are in the tab entitled Accessing & Using the Faculty Credentials Website.

The Relevant Links tab provides ready access to a variety of resources that are of most interest in the SACS Accreditation Process. If you've identified resources that would be helpful and that aren't listed, send an email to accreditation@uthsc.edu and we'll add them.

SACS Requirements & Standards

In the document The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement , the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) lists 12 Core Requirements, 14 Comprehensive Standards, and 9 Federal Requirements. Counting the sub-parts results in 84 unique requirements.

  • Core Requirements are basic, broad-based, foundational requirements that an institution must meet to be accredited with the Commission on Colleges.
  • Comprehensive Standards are more specific to the operations of the institution, represent good practice in higher education, and establish a level of accomplishment expected of all member institutions.
  • Federal Requirements focus on an institution's compliance with criteria outlined in the federal regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education.

An applicant institution seeking candidacy (which is the status of UTHSC as of Summer 2013) is required to document compliance with the following requirements and standards to move forward in seeking accreditation.

  • Core Requirements 2.1 - 2.11
  • Comprehensive Standards 3.3.1, 3.5.1, 3.7.1
  • Federal Requirements 4.1 - 4.9

Of the listed requirements and standards, the ones that are of most relevance to faculty in terms of credentialing include:

  • The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of each of its academic programs. Upon application for candidacy, an applicant institution demonstrates that it meets the comprehensive standard for faculty qualifications. Core Requirement 2.8
  • At least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level are taught by faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree -- usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree. Comprehensive Standard 3.5.4
  • The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty. (See Commission guidelines "Faculty Credentials.") Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1

UTHSC Policies & Procedures

UTHSC must document that our faculty are qualified to teach the subjects they are assigned to teach. While we have every confidence that this is the case, SACS requires us to justify and document our faculty's qualifications.

Our application for candidacy covers Academic Year 2012-2013, therefore we must justify and document faculty qualifications for our recently-completed academic year. Our central faculty files must show documentation of the doctoral degree, or terminal degree as appropriate for one’s field. Additionally, since some qualifications may be derived from coursework taken from an institution from which a faculty member did not graduate or from a degree program that was completed prior to receipt of the terminal degree, transcripts from those institutions must also be in our faculty files.

As noted in the UTHSC Faculty Handbook, Section 4.7.2, Execution of a faculty appointment agreement requires documentation of the candidate’s credentials (including a copy of his/her diploma and transcripts) and evidence of licensure where appropriate. The Office of Academic Affairs is taking on the task of getting our current faculty files up to date in the instance of needing further transcripts. However, we expect the colleges to continue obtaining the required documentation for all faculty appointed after July 1, 2012.

In order to facilitate this process, we implemented the following procedure:

  1. Beginning Tuesday, June 19, 2012 faculty will log onto the SACS Faculty Credentials website to provide information on institutions attended and semesters taught by college. Faculty will also upload their current CV (see the document in the Forms & Documents tab entitled Accessing and Using the SACS Faculty Credentials Website).
  2. Faculty for whom we need additional documentation will then sign a request form for each institution they’ve listed that authorizes my office to request their transcripts (see the document in the Forms & Documents tab entitled Official Transcript Authorization Request). These request forms will be distributed centrally from the departments.


If you have questions that aren't addressed on this page, send them to accreditation@uthsc.edu and we will post our answers here.

FAQ Categories:

  • Faculty Credentialing General Questions
  • Faculty Credentials Website Questions
  • Transcript Authorization Request Form Questions

Faculty Credentialing General Questions

Q: To whom does the faculty credentialing process apply?
A: All faculty are required to have appropriate documentation of credentials in their faculty file, as noted in the UTHSC Faculty Handbook, Section 4.7.2, Execution of a faculty appointment agreement requires documentation of the candidate’s credentials (including a copy of his/her diploma and transcripts) and evidence of licensure where appropriate. However, our first concern is to obtain credentials for faculty who taught courses in Fall 2012 and/or Spring 2013.

Q: Why do you need a copy of my transcripts?
A: Our first step is acquiring basic documentation to verify faculty degrees by obtaining transcripts from institutions attended or from which you've graduated. Depending on the subject and level taught, the transcript from a faculty member's terminal degree may be sufficient. For some faculty members, however, earlier degrees (particularly from some professional schools) or even courses taken at an institution from which a faculty member did not graduate may be required to demonstrate faculty qualifications to teach a course.

Q: Some of my credentials come from a postdoctoral fellowship. That won't be on my transcript. How will you know about that?
A: That's why we also need a copy of your updated CV. Things like postdoctoral fellowships, internships, and certifications should be listed on your CV and we will look to the CV to guide us for what credentials need obtained that do not come from your transcripts.

Q: Do I need to request my transcripts and pay for them?
A: No. We are undertaking that task from the Office of Academic Affairs. Once you've completed the online SACS Faculty Credentials site and have signed a transcript authorization request form for each institution, we will request those transcripts. Campus administration will be paying for the transcripts. We have centralized this process and simplified it as much as possible so that it will not require much of a faculty member's time.

Faculty Credentials Website Questions

General Questions about the Faculty Credentials Website

Q: What browser should I use to access the Faculty Credentials website?
A: Any browser should work. We've tested it on Firefox 13.0, IE 8, and Safari 5.1.7. On Safari, when you upload the CV it appears to stall - refresh the browser, ignore the error that it may result in a duplicate record, and you should receive a successful upload message.

Q: I don't have a NetID (or I don't use a NetID) to access the system. What should I do?
A: Contact the Chair of your department to obtain a form to complete "off line" that will request the same information as the online environment. [Note: This form was sent on Thursday, June 21 to the Academic Deans/Faculty Affairs Deans of each college for distribution to the Chairs.]

Questions about Entering Institutions I've Attended or Graduated From

Q: What should I select for "Degree Earned" for internships, residencies, and fellowships?
A: Select "certificate" for these.

Q: I can't find the institution I attended in the list. It must be there, but I can't find it.
A: You can select the option for "My Institution Isn't Listed" and then we will contact you to obtain the name of the institution. You may also call 448-6158 or email crussell@uthsc.edu and we can walk you through finding the institution. We apologize for how challenging it can be to find the precise institution, but we will work with you to record what needs to be recorded in the online database.

Q: I'm trying to find UTHSC - The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. I can't find it. But it must be there. How do I find it?
A: Search using this phrase - Univ Tenn - and you will find it.

Questions about Entering Semesters Taught

Q: I teach in the TIP program (or other summer program or a course/program that is not listed in Banner). Do I need to indicate that teaching somewhere?
A: No. SACS and other programmatic accreditations deal with our formal academic programs. We greatly appreciate the effort everyone puts into TIP and other types of these programs, but they do not need to be recorded in the Faculty Credentials Website.

Q: I teach in the clinical setting. I may have one or more students with me for a month or the rotation may be longer or shorter. What should I select in the semesters taught?
A: Even if you've only taught one month to one student during a semester, select that semester. For clinical faculty, you may be selecting Spring, Summer, and Fall if you regularly have students. That's fine. We want to capture the teaching you do, just as we capture the classroom lecture/didactic teaching.

Questions about Uploading my CV

Q: What format should my CV be in that I upload?
A: We prefer either Microsoft Word or PDF. Either will be acceptable.

Transcript Authorization Request Form Questions

Q: May we fax you a copy of our signed transcript authorization request form?
A: No. Institutions expect an authorization request form that has what they refer to as a "wet signature." Each form must be individually signed. No faxed forms. No online forms.

Accessing & Using the Faculty Credentials Website

This information provides instructions to faculty members for accessing and completing the SACS Faculty Credentials Database. Click here to access a pdf version that can be printed off for viewing while you're using the system.

Log into the SACS Faculty Credentials Database by clicking iLogin in the orange bar at the top of almost any UTHSC webpage.

Enter your NetID and NetID Password into the next screen that opens, then click the LOGIN button.

Click the + beside the Administration link to expand the listing.

Select the option for SACS Faculty Credentials in the list that opens up.

Enter the requested information about institutions you've graduated from or attended.

  • Your employee information (NetID, personnel number, first name, last name, and current job title) will be at the top of the screen.
  • Follow the steps to add information about all institutions of higher education that you've attended or from which you've graduated.
  • To search for your specific institution, use only one word in the search. That word should be the most identifiable for the institution. Example: To find the University of Tennessee, Martin use only the search term Martin.
  • Make sure to click SAVE after each entry.
  • Click the + beside the Non-Listed Institution, Non U.S. Institution, or Degree not Listed if you are unable to find your institution listed, if you attended a non-U.S. institution, or if your specific degree is not listed. Check the box(es) beside the instance(s) that fits you and then click the box that says Update Unique Circumstances For Checkboxes Above. Our office will contact you to obtain information about your specific circumstance.
  • When you have finished entering information about all of your institutions, click the NEXT button at the bottom of the screen to move to the next page.

Enter the requested information about semesters you've taught and colleges for which you've taught.

  • Your employee information (NetID, personnel number, first name, last name, and current job title) will be at the top of the screen.
  • Follow the steps to indicate the semesters you've taught and the colleges for which you taught from 2010 thru today.
  • Make sure to click SAVE after each entry.
  • You may return to the prior screen by selecting the PREVIOUS button at the bottom of the page. Select the NEXT button when you have finished entering information on this page.

If you need to delete a row for either institutions attended or semesters taught.

  • Click in the box at the beginning of the row you want to delete (see orange arrow above).
  • Then click the DELETE button.
  • A pop-up will ask you if you want to perform the delete action. Click OK.
  • The screen will then refresh with the row deleted that you had selected.

Click the SUBMIT TRANSCRIPT AUTHORIZATION button to store information you've just entered into the SACS Faculty Credentials Database.

As the final step in the system, click on the UPLOAD CV button to upload your current, updated CV to the system.

  • You will receive confirmation that your record was successfully updated at this stage.
  • To finish the online SACS Faculty Credentials system, click the button to UPLOAD CV at the bottom of the screen.

Upload your current, updated CV.

  • Click Browse... to open the file list on your computer.
  • Browse to where your current, updated CV is located and click on the name of the file you wish to upload. It will insert a link to that file in the blank box.
  • Then click the UPLOAD button to upload a copy of the document to the online SACS Faculty Credentials system.

On the final page, you will receive a positive message that your CV was successfully uploaded.

Now, you can logout of the system!


A special thanks to the Information Technology Services team from Application Development who designed the Faculty Credentials Website (Charlie Brooks, Director, Joe Johnson, IT Analyst IV, Tanzina Sharmin, IT Analyst IV).


Cindy Russell Chair of SACS Faculty Credentials Work Group

Cheryl Scheid Co-chair of SACS Accreditation

Alicia Dorsey Co-chair of SACS Accreditation

College representatives to the SACS Faculty Credentials Work Group