Qualified Instructor information

Instructional roles

When departments and programs assign instructors to courses, they will also determine what role that instructor has in the course. It’s helpful to be familiar with the “Policy on Minimum Qualifications for Instructional Staff,” to understand the specific definition of a “qualified” instructor.

Principal, supervisory, and auxiliary instructors

Every section of a course must have a principal instructor. This is the instructor who regularly interacts with students in that section, typically holds office hours, and is the first line of contact for students with questions or problems. Some sections might have more than one principal instructor. Principal instructors could be professors, lecturers, teaching assistants, etc.

Example: GENETICS 467 has two principal instructors (a professor and an associate professor) who share teaching duties.

A supervisory instructor will be a “qualified” instructor, associated with the section when the principal instructor is not qualified or needs supervision (such as a teaching assistant supervised by a professor). Only one supervisory instructor can be assigned to a course.

Example: SPANISH 102 is usually taught by teaching assistants, who are the principal instructors. A faculty member serves as the course coordinator for all SPANISH 102 offerings. This is the supervisory instructor, and isn’t usually known to the students enrolled in this course.

An auxiliary instructor provides a small portion of instruction in the section but does not have substantial responsibility for the curriculum or its delivery. A section may have no instructors in this type of role, or one, or several.

Example: PSYCH 202 has a principal instructor (a faculty associate) who is recognized by the students as their teacher. There is also a teaching assistant who provides some additional instruction. This TA is an auxiliary instructor.

For sections numbered 001 to 299 (most lectures, seminars, and independent-study sections), the principal instructor must be qualified, or have a supervisory instructor also listed for that section.

For sections 300 to 999 (most discussions and labs), the principal instructor doesn’t need to be qualified. These kinds of sections are associated with a lecture or seminar (a section numbered 001 to 299), which requires a qualified principal or supervisory instructor.

View a PDF flowchart of the instructor role relationships.