207  English Proficiency - Faculty

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  University Provost
Responsible Officer: Vice Provost for Faculty and Strategic Initiatives

I. Purpose

The Senate Joint Resolution 211 adopted by the 1984 General Assembly requires assurance that all faculty employed by Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) are proficient in use of the English language. Pursuant to this resolution and to the accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (4.4.1), MTSU must establish written guidelines for documentation of compliance with this requirement.

This policy assures that all new faculty, full-time and part-time, as well as graduate assistants who will be in a position to instruct students, are proficient in the English language.


MTSU sets forth the following minimum guidelines for evaluating faculty regarding proficiency in English. At a minimum, candidates shall demonstrate:

A.  An ability to speak and write English clearly;

B.  An ability to understand written and spoken English; and

C.  An ability to communicate effectively in an academic environment (for example, previous successful employment in an academic institution).

All recommendations for hiring a new faculty member, as defined above, will be accompanied by confirmation of the faculty member's ability to communicate effectively both in written and oral format in an academic environment.

The Department Chair/Director and the appropriate Dean are responsible for verifying proficiency by such means as required, confirming that the candidate meets the minimum standards described above. No individual shall be appointed to a position to instruct students without express written confirmation to the President of such abilities by the Provost, being advised by the appropriate Department Chair/Director and Dean for which the faculty is seeking appointment. English proficiency for faculty is verified using the Personnel Appointment Form and the Academic Preparation Certification Form. The University reserves the right to further assess English language proficiency after a faculty member has been appointed in order to ensure the quality of direct instruction to its students.

The foregoing criteria are to be used strictly as a measure of a candidate's ability to communicate effectively as an instructor and shall not be utilized to arbitrarily disqualify applicants of certain nationalities

III. Remediation

If it is discovered that assessments were made in error and that a faculty member is not able to communicate effectively in the academic environment, and if the recommendation is made for a faculty member to pursue activities such as enrollment in a course in English as a second language to improve skills in English to meet the above criteria, it will be the responsibility of the department /program director to monitor and verify remediation efforts and the outcome of same.


Personnel Appointment

Academic Preparation Certification

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: November 2020.

References: Senate Joint Resolution 211; SACSCOC 4.4.1.