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Academic Affairs

Policy Title
Faculty Fluency in English
Policy Description
Procedure for hiring instructional faculty who are proficient in the written and spoken English language. Each department and academic unit will make every effort to ensure that instructional faculty (*see definition below) who are offered employment at Winthrop University possess adequate proficiency in written and spoken English. Such assurance will usually be attained through interviews and documents submitted by candidates as a part of the hiring process. In cases where there is a question about a candidate’s proficiency in English, further demonstration of proficiency may be required.
Policy Procedures
*Definition of “instructional faculty” in the English Fluency in Higher Learning Act: “every member of a public institution of higher learning whose first language is not English, other than visiting faculty but including graduate teaching assistants, who teaches one or more undergraduate credit courses at a campus of that institution within this State except:
1. courses that are designed to be taught predominantly in a foreign language;
2. student participatory and activity courses such as clinics, studios and seminars;
3. special arrangement courses such as individualized instruction and independent study courses; and
4. continuing education courses.”

Internal Control Considerations
Student Grievance Procedure:

A student who claims that a member of the instructional faculty does not possess fluency in written or spoken English adequate to conduct a course should first discuss the problem with the instructor, to determine if the instructor can develop teaching techniques or offer assistance to students who are having difficulty understanding the instructor.
If the student prefers not to discuss the problem with the instructor or, after consulting the instructor, believes that a problem persists, he or she should discuss the problem with the appropriate department or division chair. The chair will consult with the instructor and the student regarding the problem. After these discussions, the student may choose to submit a written grievance to the chair, who will formally investigate the grievance. In cases where the grievance is found to be unwarranted, the chair will notify the student in writing of the results of the investigation.
If the grievance is found to be warranted, the chair, in consultation with the dean of the academic unit, will take appropriate action to ensure the faculty’s member’s ability to conduct the course. This action may include but is not limited to one of more of the following: requiring supervised study and practice of written and spoken English; consultation on effective presentation and lecture methods; appointment of a graduate student to assist in the course; or adjustment of course load.
The student may appeal the chair’s decision and actions in writing to the dean of the academic unit and, if the student desires, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The dean and the Vice President may recommend additional action to the department/division chair and the faculty member to ensure the faculty member’s ability to conduct the course.
The department/division chair should report each written grievance concerning a faculty member’s fluency in English, regardless of its disposition, to the dean and to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Act mandates that the number of student grievances be reported to the Commission on Higher Education annually.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will be responsible for submitting this policy and procedure and any amendments to the Commission on Higher Education. The Vice President will also be responsible for mandatory annual reporting to the Commission on Higher Education the number of such grievances under this policy.
Policy Author(s)
Academic Affairs
Effective Date
January 1991
Review Date
January 1991
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