College’s Accreditation At Risk Until December
“The warning is for only six months. The only issue is that in their opinion we should have more full-time faculty members,” College Provost Rolando Montoya said. “We will submit additional information to demonstrate that we have sufficient full-time faculty to fulfill the mission of the College and to maintain the quality of our programs.”
MDC currently has 3,129 part-time faculty and 655 full-time faculty. Effective August 18, the College will be hiring 50 full-time faculty members, according to Montoya.
“The number of part-time faculty also varies and the head count seems large, but you need to remember that adjunct instructors teach one, two or three classes per semester, while full-time professors teach five or six sections,” Montoya said. “Full-time and part-time faculty members have the same credentials.”
SACS describes the warning as a public sanction issued due to non-compliance with Core Requirement 2:8: “ The number of faculty is adequate to support the mission of the institution and to ensure the integrity of its academic programs.”
However, SACS does not have official guidelines on the ratio of full-time and part-time faculty an institution should have.
“I find this incredibly novel; bizarre. We don't have sufficient full-time professors but they don't even tell us the ideal number we should have,” said Michael Lenaghan, a full-time international relations professor at North and InterAmerican Campus. “I in turn teach an average of nine courses a semester. They need to do the math.”
Any school that loses its accreditation faces major obstacles. Its students wouldn’t be able to receive federal financial aid and they would have a difficult time transferring credits to other institutions.
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, MDC had approximately 46,000 students that received federal funding, according to College-Wide Financial Aid Director Mercedes Amaya.
Last year the college credit to student population increased by about 5.5%, according to Montoya.
“I wouldn't be surprised if enrollment dropped dramatically. People want a legit school, and if their diploma isn't viable, what would be the point in coming here?” said Brittany Harvey, a 20-year-old business major at North Campus. “I think I can understand the warning. Part-time professors don't really have office times or office hours. It has stopped me in the past from having easy access to what I need.”
The warning applies to all components of the institution including all programs, branch campuses, off-campus sites, and distance learning programs.
In December, the warning will either be removed, extended, the College could be placed on probation or its accreditation could be removed.
Florida Christian College in Kissimmee was also given a six-month warning.
“The economic situation has really forced us into this, really.” said John Todd, a full-time speech professor at Kendall Campus. “However, I find part-time professors to be committed to the education goal of the College. I know I was when I was one.”
For more information, visit: www.facfcoc.org
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