Faculty & Staff

Within Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges, the following statement concerning faculty appears

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. (Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1, December 2008).

With the approval of the dean of the college, each department with graduate programs will determine procedures for handling recommendations or appeals concerning Graduate Faculty appointments, reappointments, or changes in level of membership status. The department and/or the college criteria and procedures must be consistent with the qualifications and responsibilities outlined below but may be more restrictive.

Graduate Faculty members are listed in the Bulletin of the Graduate School and on the Graduate School website.

Graduate Faculty Appointment Levels

Level 1 Qualifications

An individual appointed to Level 1 Graduate Faculty must

  • have an earned terminal degree (highest degree awarded in the discipline) in or related to the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility;
  • be a full-time employee of Mississippi State University, holding the rank of assistant professor or assistant research professor or assistant extension professor or assistant clinical professor or higher without any qualifying designations such as "visiting" or "adjunct";
  • have demonstrated and maintained noteworthy accomplishments in research and/or creative achievement, as defined in the Faculty Handbook (6.1.2);
  • and have demonstrated experience directing graduate research and independent study, thesis, or dissertation.

Level 1 Responsibilities

An individual appointed to Level 1 Graduate Faculty may

  • teach graduate-level courses in each field of specialization based upon formal advanced study or demonstrated competence through independent scholarly activity;
  • serve as a member of master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis, or specialist thesis committee within Department of appointment or outside Department;
  • serve as a chair of master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis, or specialist thesis committee within the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility;
  • serve as a member of doctoral committees and doctoral dissertations within Department of appointment or outside Department;
  • serve as a chair of doctoral committees and/or director of doctoral dissertations within the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility.

A Level 1 term of service is five years and is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The appointment is renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean of the college.

Level 2 Qualifications

An individual appointed to Level 2 Graduate Faculty must

  • have an earned terminal degree (highest degree awarded in discipline) in or related to the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility;
  • be a full-time employee of Mississippi State University, holding the rank of assistant professor or assistant research professor or assistant extension professor or assistant clinical professor or higher without any qualifying designations such as "visiting" or "adjunct";
  • and have demonstrated and maintained a record in research and/or creative achievement, as defined in the Faculty Handbook (6.1.2).

Level 2 Responsibilities

An individual appointed to Level 2 Graduate Faculty may

  • teach graduate-level courses in each field of specialization based upon formal advanced study or demonstrated competence through independent scholarly activity;
  • serve as a member of master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis, or specialist thesis committee within Department of appointment or outside Department;
  • serve as a chair of master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis, or specialist thesis committee within the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility
  • serve as a member of doctoral committees and doctoral dissertations within Department of appointment or outside Department
  • serve as a co-chair of doctoral committees and/or director of doctoral dissertations with a co-director, who has Level 1 Graduate Faculty status, within the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility

A Level 2 term of service is five years and is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The appointment is renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean of the college. A Level 2 Graduate Faculty member may apply to have his/her appointment status changed to a Level 1 Graduate Faculty status when the conditions for Level 1 status have been met. A status change from Level 2 to Level 1 requires the support of the department head and dean of the college and will be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

[ back to top ]

Associate Level Qualifications

An individual appointed to Associate Graduate Faculty must

  • have a terminal degree (highest degree awarded in the discipline) in or related to the faculty member's area of graduate responsibility
  • be a full-time employee of Mississippi State University holding the rank of assistant professor or assistant research professor or assistant extension professor or assistant clinical professor and may include the qualifying designation of Visiting Faculty (as defined in AOP 13.22);
  • and have a record of research and/or creative achievement as described in the Faculty Handbook (6.1.2) or the ability to conduct research.

Associate Level Responsibilities

An individual appointed to Associate Level Graduate Faculty may

  • teach graduate-level courses in each field of specialization for which formal advanced study or demonstrated competence is documented;
  • serve as a member of master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis, or specialist thesis committees within Department of appointment or outside Department;
  • serve as a member of doctoral and dissertation committees within Department of appointment or outside Department.

An Associate Level term of service is five years and is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The appointment is renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean of the college.

Participant Level Appointments

Participant level appointments can be granted to individuals to enable them to serve either through graduate teaching or graduate committee participation. Individuals who receive participant appointments do not fall under the criteria of Level 1, Level 2, or Associate categories.

Graduate Teaching Participant

An individual appointed Graduate Teaching Participant status must

  • be an instructor with terminal degree in the discipline of graduate teaching responsibility, or
  • have commensurate experience in or closely related to the discipline of graduate teaching responsibility.

Commensurate expertise must be in or related to the area of graduate responsibility, such as professional certification, licensure, or record of professional practice. Applicants relying on commensurate expertise must be approved by the department head, academic dean, and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

An individual appointed Graduate Teaching Participant status may

  • teach a graduate course

A Graduate Teaching Participant's term of service is two years. The appointment is initially requested and renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean of the college and is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Graduate Committee Participant

An individual appointed Graduate Committee Participant status must

  • hold a terminal degree and have research experience or commensurate expertise in the discipline of graduate research responsibility, and
  • be either
    • a research associate (including postdoctoral investigators);
    • a fully retired faculty member, including emeriti appointments, from MSU or another university;
    • a member of the Graduate Faculty who departed the University in good standing (this enables a committee member or chair to continue participation as a committee member after departure. This type of appointment is at the discretion of the student's graduate committee and the department head);
    • a faculty member at another university whose expertise contributes to the research product of the student; or
    • an individual whose expertise contributes to the research product of the student.

Commensurate expertise must be in or closely related to the area of the research discipline. Applicants relying on commensurate expertise must be approved by the department head, academic dean, and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

No more than two individuals who have been granted participant appointments can serve on a dissertation or doctoral committee. No more than one individual who has been granted a participant appointment can serve on a master's non-thesis, master's thesis, specialist non-thesis or specialist thesis committee.

A Graduate Committee Participant term of service is three years. The appointment is renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean of the college and is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

[ back to top ]

Appointment/Reappointment/Change of Level

Forms for appointments and reappointments are available at The Graduate School website (www.grad.msstate.edu). All Graduate Faculty appointments (Level 1, Level 2, and Associate Level) and participant appointments for graduate studies must be on record with the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School approves the appointments and can require review of an appointment by a committee of the Graduate Faculty of the appointing department.

Procedures for Initial Appointment

  1. The initial appointment of individuals to the Graduate Faculty and the determination of Graduate Faculty membership level (Level 1, Level 2, and Associate) and of individuals to the participant appointment must be in accordance with the corresponding criteria and approved by the academic dean based upon recommendation from the department head and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  2. University administrators (individuals holding the rank of Assistant Dean or higher) seeking initial appointment to the Graduate Faculty must be held to the qualifications outlined above, but their applications go directly to the Dean of the Graduate School who makes a recommendation to the Provost. These appointments are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  3. Recommendations for initial appointments to the Graduate Faculty, determination of membership levels, and participant appointments may be made at any time during the calendar year. It is the responsibility of the department head, dean, and applicant to provide documentation to support an applicant's qualifications for appointment.
  4. The applicant may withdraw the request for appointment at any time.

Procedures for Reappointment or Change in Level of Membership

  1. The Graduate School will request department heads to submit an updated list of current Graduate Faculty members with corresponding membership levels (Level 1, Level 2, or Associate Level) in early spring for publication in the annual Bulletin of the Graduate School. The OGS will notify academic deans of faculty members or participants whose graduate appointment statuses are expiring within the next fiscal year.
  2. University administrators (individuals holding the rank of Assistant Dean or higher) seeking reappointment, to the Graduate Faculty will be held to the qualifications outlined above, but their applications go directly to the Dean of the Graduate School who makes a recommendation to the Provost. These appointments are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  3. Recommendations for change in level of membership in Graduate Faculty status may be made at any time during the calendar year. It is the responsibility of the department head, dean, and applicant to provide documentation to support the applicant's qualifications for appointment.
  4. The applicant may withdraw the request for reappointment at any time.
  5. The department must notify the Graduate School when an individual holding graduate faculty status (Level 1, Level 2, or Associate Level) or graduate participant status is no longer eligible for the status appointment. For example if a faculty member resigns, retires, or is no longer holding the status that initially made the individual eligible for the appointment, the department must notify the graduate school. This information can be submitted at anytime during the calendar year.