FAQs: Faculty Resources

The Council chose not to include an aggregate student-faculty ratio (SFR) as a reporting element in the 2016 criteria based on a number of factors. First, there is limited evidence for the correlation between aggregate SFR and quality. More importantly, calculating an aggregate SFR has proven to be inadequate for capturing the complexity of our schools and programs, particularly in terms of interdisciplinary teaching and in terms of teaching across multiple degree levels.

For instance, if a school offers multiple, department-based MPH degrees and a schoolwide bachelor’s degree, how do we accurately apportion faculty effort in a way that makes a meaningful aggregate SFR calculation?

Therefore, the 2016 criteria focus on SFR for key “touch points” in the curriculum: advising, supervising integrative learning experiences, etc. At this point, we do not have a target number in mind for these figures. This is partially because these indicators are new to our process, but is largely because our emphasis has shifted to a holistic review. A single data point, such as SFR at key points, will be read alongside other narrative information and data, so that reviewers will be making a holistic assessment of faculty resource adequacy based on multiple inputs.

If teaching is a regular component of this individual’s responsibilities (ie, if his/her annual evaluations and promotion considerations examine classroom teaching as a key component of performance), we do not define a minimum frequency of course offerings. That said, the accreditation peer-review process relies on transparency and good faith on both sides. We would ask the school or program to be clear about its rationale for identifying this individual as a primary instructional faculty member and then consider that in the context of the school or program.

Faculty are counted first by the concentration. If the program has a concentration in health policy at one degree level (eg, master’s), the program must document three faculty members for that concentration. If a joint degree includes that existing master's degree (JD/MPH in health policy), no additional faculty members would be required. If a joint degree includes a master's degree specific to the combined degree (eg, JD/MPH in health law), your school or program must document the required faculty for the new combined degree concentration (health law).

No. For a faculty member to have a 1.0 FTE in a program, he/she must be dedicated solely to the unit of accreditation. Any time spent outside of the unit of accreditation, such as instruction in a non-accredited undergraduate program, should be subtracted from the 1.0 FTE designation.

To be considered a primary instructional faculty (PIF) member, a person must be 1) employed full-time in the school and 2) have regular responsibility for instruction in the school’s public health degree programs. If a faculty member, even a dean, does not have a regular instructional role, then that individual cannot be counted as a PIF.

Instruction refers to teaching. A PIF must regularly serve as the instructor for public health courses within the unit of accreditation. Faculty whose sole instructional responsibility is advising individual doctoral or research students or whose regular instructional responsibilities lie in non-public health degrees within a school would not meet this definition.