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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Faculty Proficiency in Oral & Written English : 5:02:01:03

Policy/Guideline Area

Personnel Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities


The Tennessee Board of Regents recognizes that the ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill necessary for all academic personnel to perform successfully in Board of Regents Institutions. Therefore, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 211 adopted by the 1984 General Assembly and to the accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (4.4.1), all TBR institutions shall ensure that all faculty at Board of Regents institutions are proficient in oral and written English. The Board hereby sets forth the following minimum guidelines for evaluating candidates.


  1. English Competency
    1. By January 1, 1985, each institution shall develop written procedures for review and evaluation of English language competency of candidates for appointment to or tenure in a teaching position.
    2. The Board hereby sets forth the following minimum guidelines for evaluating faculty. At a minimum candidates shall demonstrate:
      1. An ability to speak and write English clearly;
      2. An ability to understand written and spoken English; and
      3. An ability to communicate effectively in an academic environment (for example, previous successful employment in an academic institution).
    3. No individual shall be appointed to a teaching position or recommended for tenure in such a position on any campus or other institutional unit of an institution unless the chief academic officer or college of applied technology director certifies in writing to the president or other chief administrator that such individual can communicate effectively with students in the English language.
    4. The foregoing criteria are to be used strictly as a measure of a candidate's ability to communicate effectively as an instructor and shall not be utilized to arbitrarily disqualify applicants of certain nationalities.
    5. Each institution shall establish procedures for providing assistance and improving the written and spoken English competency of currently employed teaching personnel who are identified as needing such assistance.


TBR Meeting, December 14, 1984; September 23, 1994


Mickey Sheen