HLC revised policy to affect high schools

New national standards for undergraduate and graduate level instructors have the potential to impact students and faculty at the high school level.

The Higher Learning Commission is amending its required qualifications for instructors teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The HLC Board of Trustees approved the clarification to the HLC’s Assumed Practice B.2. during June. The revised policy guidelines state instructors must have a master’s degree in a particular field or have completed 18 hours of graduate level coursework in that area to teach undergraduate courses for that subject.

These guidelines also apply to high school teachers who teach dual credit courses, according to the HLC website.

The new standards must be fully implemented by Sept. 1, 2017. The time frame is intended to allow educational institutions to work with their existing staff to comply and is not intended to force longterm staff changes, according to the website.

Truman Institute Director Kevin Minch says the regulations are fairly new coming from the HLC but not new to Missouri. Minch says the state has been working to implement similar standards ahead of the HLC deadline, and originally had planned to require compliance by Jan. 1 of this year. However, in response to voiced concerns from high schools and colleges across the state, the Missouri regulations will go into effect during 2017, Minch says.

“Even if HLC had not made the decisions which it had made, state policy was really going to drive where we were headed,” Minch said.