Course Release


Course releases are a one course reduction in a full-time faculty teaching load. They are provided to faculty members to further the faculty members scholarship, research, and/or creative activity.

These releases are intended to recognize both past accomplishment and future promise. Course releases do not relieve the
faculty member from other responsibilities to the College, including advising, serving on committees, participating in departmental business, etc. In other words, course release does not constitute a sabbatical term. Faculty members are expected to continue to be in residence and carry out their other duties during the term in which they have a course release.

Generally, the chair, or designee of a department will determine if requests for course releases will or should be considered based primarily on:

  • Department needs (curriculum schedule, number of faculty on leave, course enrollments etc.)
  • Individual faculty needs (teaching evaluations, research demands, administrative or service assignments, performance, etc)
  • Availability of suitable teaching replacements


  1. No more than 1 full-time faculty per department may apply for a course release per academic year.
  2. The number of available course releases per year is contingent upon approved sabbatical applications each year. That is, course releases will be funded by whatever funds remain after sabbaticals are approved for a given year. If sufficient funds do not remain, no course release will be given.
  3. Only those full-time faculty members who have received a meets/exceeds rating in instructional quality/college service/professional practice in their annual self–appraisal at least two of the past three years and at least meets/exceeds in the third year are eligible.
  4. Prior accomplishments in instructional quality/college service/ professional practice, as reflected in the faculty’s annual self-appraisal, shall be considered for evaluation. The following should be considered for evaluation:
    1. Professional activities that include but are not limited to journaled articles, book writing, juried art shows, design exhibitions, consulting, research, presentations, etc. For a full list of qualifying department specific activities, please read the “Criteria for Professional Practice Guidelines” found on Blackboard under Faculty Review Committee.
    2. Specific accomplishments in securing contracts and grants (i.e., funded projects).
    3. The full-time faculty member’s scholarly agenda as articulated in his/her annual self–appraisal.
  5. A full-time faculty member who receives a course release does not become eligible for a second course release until they have completed three academic years since the course release was granted.
  6. A full-time faculty member who receives a sabbatical does not become eligible for a course release until they have completed three academic years since the sabbatical was granted.
  7. Receiving a course release does not affect a faculty member’s ability to apply for and receive sabbatical in accordance with the guidelines and schedule set forth in the Faculty Handbook.
  8. Full-time faculty are eligible for a course release after three years of full-time employment at the College.
  9. The full-time faculty member’s annual self–appraisal over the course of two years will explicitly take into consideration the fact that they were granted a course release. Evidence of outcomes must be documented.
  10. Within thirty (30) days of the end of the semester in which the course release was granted, the faculty member shall submit to his/her chair, dean, and the Provost, a concise written appraisal regarding his/her accomplishments. If not provided, faculty will not eligible for future course releases.

Deadlines for Application

Fall Semester

April 30; Course Release Application Deadline
May 15; Faculty and Development Committee Decisions are Announced

Winter Semester

September 15; Course Release Application Deadline
October 1; Faculty and Development Committee Decisions are Announced

Faculty Credentials and Equivalent Tested Experience

The College for Creative Studies adheres to The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) guidelines on Determining Qualified Faculty Through HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices. These guidelines state that institutions will use credentials as the primary mechanism to ascertain minimal faculty qualifications. HLC recognizes that tested experience also may be considered in determining faculty qualifications.  The following guidelines apply to all faculty members whose primary responsibility is teaching, including full-time, part-time, adjunct, dual credit, and/or temporary faculty.


Faculty credentials refer to the degrees that faculty have earned that establish their credibility as content experts and thus their competence to teach that content in the classroom.  Common expectations for faculty credentials include the following:

  • Faculty teaching should have completed a program of study in the discipline or subfield (as applicable) in which they teach, and/or for which they develop curricula, with coursework at least one level above that of the courses being taught or developed. Completion of a degree in a specific field enhances an instructor’s depth of subject matter knowledge and is easily identifiable.
  • Faculty teaching in undergraduate programs should hold a degree at least one level above that program in which they are teaching. If a faculty member holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline other than that in which he or she is teaching, that faculty member should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline in which he or she is teaching.
  • Faculty teaching in graduate programs should hold the terminal degree determined by the discipline and have a record of research, scholarship or achievement appropriate for the graduate program.
  • Faculty guiding doctoral education should have a record of scholarship and preparation to teach at the doctoral level. Research and scholarship should be appropriate to the program and degree offered.

Faculty Credentialing Table

DepartmentLevel Being TaughtCourse LevelsRequirement
Art Practice
Communication Design
Craft & Material Studies
Entertainment Arts
Fashion Accessories Design
Interior Design
Liberal Arts
Product Design
Transportation Design
BFA Undergraduate100-400MFA with specialty relative to course content being taught or other Master’s degree with at least 18 graduate credit hours relative to course content being taught
Art EducationTeacher Certification

MA Graduate

500 – 700
MA with state teaching certification or MAAE or MFA in art, studio art, or art education

MFA or Ph.D in Art Education
Color and Materials Design
Interaction Design
Systems Design Thinking
Transportation Design
MFA Graduate500 – 700MFA or Ph.D with specialty relative to course content being taught or other Master’s degree with at least 18 graduate credit hours relative to course content being taught

Tested Experience

According to HLC, “Tested experience may substitute for an unearned credential or portions thereof.” Criterion B.2, Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support, states that “when faculty members are employed based on equivalent experience, the institution defines a minimum threshold of experience and an evaluation process that is used in the appointment process.” Consistent with HLC policy, “experience should be tested experience in that it includes a breadth and depth of experience outside of the classroom in real-world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.”

Equivalent Tested Experience Table

For a faculty member to be considered eligible to teach, they must have completed 18 credits toward the educational credentials listed on the Faculty Credentialing Table or provide evidence of one of the below qualifications. Faculty must receive a score of “3” in ONE of the below categories for activities within the last ten years.

Indicate the creative output expertise evidenced in the candidate’s portfolioNo ExperienceBeginner (Fewer than 3)Average
Above Average (10+)Advanced (10+ National and/or International)Not Applicable (N/A)
Exhibitions and/or Performances123456
Lecture/Presenter/Visiting Artist/Panelist/Keynote123456
Publications of Artistic Work (i.e. short story, poem, illustration etc.)123456
Curatorial experience123456
Professional Awards/Memberships123456
Indicate the candidate’s professional qualifications (evidence must be on CV or resume)No ExperienceBeginner (Fewer than 3 years)Average (3-5 years)Above Average (5-10 years)Advanced (10+ years)Not Applicable (N/A)
Professional Experience123456
Professional-level Projects or Consulting123456
Workshops, Training, or Seminars123456
Indicate the candidate’s teaching qualifications (evidence must be on CV or resume)No experience teaching at the College levelBeginner (Less than 4 semesters of experience)Average (4-5 semesters of experience)Above Average (More than 5 but less than 10 semesters of experience)Advanced (More than 10 semesters of experience)
Teaching at the College level12345
Indicate the candidate’s research experience (evidence must be offered on CV or resume)No ExperienceBeginner (1-2 conference papers, 1-2 journal publications, 0 monographs or book chapters)Average (3-4 conference papers, 3-4 journal publications, 1+ monographs or book chapters)Above Average (4-8 conference papers, 5-8 journal publications, 1+ monographs or book chapters)Advanced (9+ conference papers, 9+ journal publications, 2+ monographs or book chapters)Not Applicable (N/A)
Conference Papers123456
Journal Publications123456
Book Chapters123456

Determining Faculty Credentials or Equivalent Tested Experience

Once a faculty search process is initiated, the Department Chair develops a position description in consultation with the appropriate Dean. Throughout the search process, the CCS Faculty Credential Table should be used to evaluate candidates according to HLC’s Determining Qualified Faculty requirements. The Faculty Credential Table should also be used to assess qualifications for adjunct instructors as well as dual enrollment faculty. If a candidate does not meet the minimum required credentials as outlined in the table, the rubric for Equivalent Tested Experience should be used to determine whether or not the candidate is qualified in lieu of having the appropriate credential.

Process for Documenting Faculty Credentials or Equivalent Tested Experience

Once the Department has made an assessment on the faculty members credential or equivalent tested experience that information is submitted by the Department Chair or Program Manager to the CCS Human Resources Department.  Departments, in conjunction with Human Resources, will ensure that written documentation is maintained for each current or future faculty member hired through tested experience verifying that s/he meets the minimum expectations for tested experience established by the department. This applies to all faculty, including adjunct, part-time, and dual enrollment instructors. Additionally, all new faculty should be provided with an electronic copy of the CCS policy and procedure for reviewing and approving tested experience minimum standards.

These requirements are not a mandate from our accreditor to terminate or withhold contract renewals for current faculty members. HLC expects that the College for Creative Studies will work with faculty who are otherwise performing well to ensure that they meet HLC’s requirements.

Department Chairs

Teaching Load

Department Chairs are required to teach two 3-credit courses each semester.


The Department Chair is a faculty member, administrator, and leader. The department Chair is responsible for planning and managing the educational objectives and the human, financial, and physical resources of his/her department. The Department Chair, working closely with the faculty of the department, sets standards of excellence and maintains the quality and reputation of the department, encourages innovation to sustain the department’s vitality, encourages cohesion and harmony within the department, supports formal and informal interdisciplinary activities and programs, and is a vigorous advocate for the department’s faculty and programs. As a member of the faculty, the Department Chair is expected to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a faculty member as described in this handbook, although the number of credits a Chair teaches will be affected by the administrative release time a Chair receives. In addition, the Department Chair’s duties are as follows:

  1. Faculty/educator
    1. Duties and responsibilities of Full-Time Faculty
  2. Direct and support faculty development
    1. In consultation with the faculty member, set development goals, motivate and encourage professional development and conduct annual performance reviews in accordance with established College procedures, including preparing a written evaluation of each faculty member using the established template.
    2. Advocate on behalf of faculty in the support of professional development goals.
  3. Curriculum development
    1. Provide leadership in the development of courses and programs of study.
    2. Approve the syllabi of all courses and independent study offered by department faculty.
    3. Communicate approved curriculum requirements and changes to the Academic Advising and Registration Office.
  4. Planning/managing
    1. Hold and preside over regular department meetings throughout the academic year, preparing the agenda, and posting Department minutes to a college archive.
    2. Make written recommendations to the Faculty Review Committee (FRC) and the appropriate Dean regarding promotion in rank, renewal of contracts, or dismissal.
    3. Coordinate with the Program Manager to develop the teaching and course schedule of the department after consultation with the faculty, and subject to the approval of the appropriate Dean, ensuring that the workloads, teaching, and departmental responsibilities are equitably distributed.
    4. Recruit new faculty, in accordance with institutional policy and in consultation with the appropriate Dean and Provost.
    5. Acquaint new faculty members with department policies and procedures.
    6. Develop in consultation with departmental faculty and the appropriate committees, long-range plans, and departmental objectives.
    7. Develop, prepare and administer the yearly budget in consultation with members of the department.
    8. Assure that students’ progress is evaluated and tracked, according to College policies, and that students receive timely reports of their progress.
    9. In partnership with members of the department, develop and coordinate the department’s mentoring program.
    10. Prepare the department’s monthly report.
    11. Review student and faculty concerns arising within the department and handle them in accordance with College policies and, when necessary, in consultation with the Office of the Provost.
    12. Manage the facilities of the department.
    13. Hire departmental support staff according to institutional procedures, supervise their duties and evaluate their performance.
    14. Participate in the recruitment of new students to the College.
    15. Partner with the Admissions Office in the screening and evaluation of applicants.
    16. Participate in the Chairs’ meetings as a partner in developing College governance and policy.
    17. Plan activities to augment the academic program by securing visiting artists, critics, lecturers, exhibitions, workshops, and international study programs.
    18. Coordinate responsibilities regarding accreditation requirements, assessment, strategic planning, and program evaluations.
    19. Support and facilitate interdisciplinary activities between departments, other colleges, and universities.
    20. Partner in the development and assessment of the college retention plan.
    21. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to support the mission and goals of the department.
    22. Support student international study opportunities working with individual students, international institutions and the Office of International Student Services at CCS.
    23. Develop, facilitate, approve and manage, when appropriate, international programs through the College for Creative Studies.
  5. External Relationships
    1. Coordinate the department’s efforts and work with the Office of Career Services regarding internships and employment opportunities.
    2. Partner with Institutional Advancement (IA) to develop learning opportunities through sponsored research projects.
    3. Facilitate entering student work in national and international art and design competitions.
    4. Maintain and develop contacts in industries and professions for which the department educates students and stay abreast of changes in those fields that may affect the department’s educational mission.
    5. Partner with IA in developing the tools and communications necessary to achieve the department’s marketing and PR goals.

Assist and encourage student and faculty participation in community art and design partnerships.

The appropriate Dean, Provost or President may assign other duties from time to time, following consultation with the Chairs.


Each year, the Chair completes an Annual Report as a self-evaluation. The appropriate Dean provides written responses within the same document. The Dean also seeks comment from the full-time faculty and program managers as regards the Chair’s performance. Afterward, a meeting between the Chair and the appropriate Dean is conducted to review the evaluation.

Calendar Year Responsibilities

The Department Chair’s responsibilities for administering the department extend throughout the calendar year. The departments remain open during the summer; and numerous activities occur on campus, including summer classes, planning and preparation for the coming academic year, admissions, readying of facilities, long-range planning, and community education. While Department Chairs determine their own schedules during the summer, they continue to take all necessary steps to maintain the operations of the department and honor reasonable requests from the President, Provost, appropriate Dean, and other administrators to attend to College responsibilities.


Chairs are appointed annually by the President on the recommendation of the appropriate Dean and Provost and serve at the pleasure of the President. Chair reports to the appropriate Dean.

Unemployment Insurance

This insurance provides a continuation of a certain portion of your salary in the event you lose your job through no cause of your own.  If your employment is terminated, you may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation from the state. If it is your choice to leave CCS, generally you will not be eligible for benefits.  If your termination was the choice of CCS, you may be entitled to receive unemployment benefits, depending on the circumstances.

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation insurance is designed to cover all occupational injuries and illnesses.  It is paid by the College and is effective from your first day of work.  Workers compensation insurance provides benefits that may apply as a result of a work-related illness or injury.  These benefit payments may cover expenses incurred for medical care, replacement of a portion of your income lost as a result of disability, and lump-sum payments to beneficiaries in case of death.

If you are injured while you are at work, or become ill as a result of your job, you must report this to your supervisor immediately.  In all cases of work related injury or illness, no matter how minor, an Accident/Injury Report form must be completed and forwarded to the Office of Human Resources.  This record-keeping is required by OSHA and MIOSHA.

Long-Term Disability

CCS employees are eligible for a long-term disability income plan through a third party insurer after one year of employment. CCS’s long-term disability plan is an income protection plan for eligible employees and does not guarantee a job, or any particular job, following an absence.  Full-time employees who are unable to work as the result of an accident or illness are eligible for a maximum of 60% of their regular salary, up to a maximum of $15,000 per month, when integrated with other benefits.  You will remain eligible for benefits for as long as you are disabled, up to age 65.  This plan has a twenty six-week qualification period, a portion of which may be covered by CCS’s short-term disability income plan.

Short-Term Disability

CCS provides a short-term disability plan for all full-time employees who are unable to work due to an illness or injury, as documented by a properly licensed physician acting within his or her field of expertise.  CCS has the discretion to require an independent medical examination as a condition for receiving or continuing short-term disability benefits.  Employees become eligible for this plan following one hundred eighty (180) days of employment.  The duration and amount of short-term disability is per the following schedule:

Eligibility: After 7th Day of Illness/Injury
Duration: 13 Weeks

Percent of Pay
Length of Employment100%80%
Less than 180 daysn/an/a
180 days to < 2 yearsn/a13 weeks
2 years to < 5 years6 weeks7 weeks
5 years or more13 weeksn/a

CCS’s short-term disability plan is an income protection plan for eligible employees and does not guarantee a job, or any particular job, following an absence.  If, however, an employee has a serious health condition and is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employee may be simultaneously entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the FMLA and income benefits under this short-term disability policy.

Employee Reimbursement Accounts

The Employee Reimbursement Account enables you to pay a portion of your Uninsured Health Care and Dependent Care expenses with pretax dollars.  Prior to the beginning of each plan year, you will have the opportunity to elect to fund your Reimbursement Account for the coming year.  The amount that you select will be deducted from your gross salary through automatic payroll deductions.  Then, during the plan year, you may submit claims to the Administrator to reimburse yourself for health care expenses and/or dependent care expenses incurred during the plan year that were not reimbursed by your insurance plans.

Health Insurance

Medical, dental and vision insurance are available to all full-time employees on the first of the month following thirty days of employment.  Employees may from time to time have a choice of plans and are required to pay a portion of the premium. Refer to individual plan summaries from the Office of Human Resources for details.  The employee will have his/her contribution deducted on a pre-tax basis.

In certain instances, federal law requires availability of continued coverage where coverage under the group plan would otherwise end.  In compliance with the federal COBRA program, CCS offers employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage at group rates with the employee paying the full cost of coverage plus a 2% administrative fee.