English Fluency in Higher Education Act

Policy Title:  Policy for English Proficiency of Instructional Faculty
Classification:  University - Student
Approval Authority:  Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Responsible Entity:   Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life
Policy Owner:  Darlene Shaw, PhD
Original Effective Date:  Unknown
New/Revision/Retired:  Revision ( 9/ 15/ 19)

I. Policy Statement

The Medical University, in accordance with the English Fluency in Higher Education Act, requires all faculty and graduate assistants with teaching responsibilities whose first language is not English to possess adequate proficiency in spoken and written English.

II. Scope

This policy applies to faculty and graduate teaching assistants at the Medical University of South Carolina.

III. Approval Authority

The Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the approval authority for this policy.

IV. Purpose of This Policy

The purpose of this policy is to make certain teaching faculty whose primary language is other than English are effectively communicating with students in order to maximize the learning experience.

V. Who Should be Knowledgeable of This Policy

All instructional faculty, college deans, students, and personnel directly involved with students should be knowledgeable about this policy.

VI. The Policy

A.  Prior to the employment of new faculty and graduate assistants, each college or administrative area will determine the method  and will assess and verify the ability of each potential candidate to speak, write, and understand English and effectively communicate with students in the English language in his/her role as an instructor.

B.  Students who consider an instructor to lack proficiency in English in the teaching environment may submit a concern or complaint as outlined in the MUSC Student Complaint Policy.  The University and the six colleges have established mechanisms for students to submit informal complaints and processes to submit formal, written complaints which include the opportunity to appeal.

C.  Each college and administrative unit will include formal complaints related to English proficiency in the complaint monitoring log, which is sent annually to the Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life who includes this information in his/her annual report to the Commission on Higher Education. Any such formal complaint(s) received from students, and the disposition of such complaint(s) must be reported annually to the Commission on Higher Education and the chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives Education Committees.

D.  Each college and administrative unit will establish a process to intervene with instructors who have difficulty with written or oral English as determined by student or faculty concerns.

VII. Special situations

This policy does not apply to faculty and graduate assistants for the following types of courses:

1) Courses designed to be taught predominately in a foreign language

2) Student participatory and activity courses such as clinics, studios, and seminars

3) Special arrangement courses such as individualized instruction and independent study courses

4) Continuing education courses

Communication concerns related to impairment or disability will be referred to the Director of Equity/ADA Coordinator.

VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance

Colleges and administrative units that do not comply with this policy will be reported to the Provost.

IX. Related Information

SC State Code SECTION59-103-160.  English Fluency in HigherLearning Act.

MUSC Student Concerns and Complaints Memorandum

MUSC Student Concerns and Complaints Policy

X. Communication Plan

The policy will be published in The Bulletin and distributed to the Dean’s offices.

XI. Definitions


a campus-based or distance-based, degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking individual who is currently enrolled at MUSC

Instructional Faculty    

“…every [teaching] member of a public institution of higher learning whose first language is not English, other than visiting faculty but including graduate teaching assistants…”  (Source:  South Carolina State Code:  Section 59-103-160)

XII. Review Cycle

This policy will be reviewed every 3 years.

XIII. Approval History

Original approval date and subsequent review dates:

XIV. Approval Signature

Lisa K. Saladin, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost