Faculty Handbook - Section 1



The Jacksonville State University Faculty Handbook, as approved by the board of trustees, serves as a reference manual for faculty members and administration. It is the product of faculty and administration collaboration, which reflects broad-based participation in the governance of the university.

The Faculty Handbook is a compilation of selected policies, regulations, procedures, and guidelines currently in operation. It may be revised from time to time to reflect official policy changes. When official policies are changed by the board of trustees or other duly constituted authority, such changes become effective on the date designated at the time of their adoption and supersede any contrary provisions of the Faculty Handbook.

Copies of and changes in the Faculty Handbook will be distributed through normal organizational channels and on the university website by the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, whose office is the repository for the official master copy and signed acknowledgements of receipt by faculty of the Jacksonville State University Faculty Handbook. Individual faculty members are responsible for maintaining their own copy or referring to the Jacksonville State University website: www.jsu.edu.


This handbook is provided for faculty members to use as a ready reference and as a summary of Jacksonville State University academic faculty policies, work rules, and benefits. It is to a faculty member's advantage to read the entire handbook as soon as possible to have a complete understanding of the material. This handbook and the policies herein do not in any way constitute, and should not be construed as, a contract of employment between Jacksonville State University and the faculty member, or a promise of future or indefinite employment. The policies and procedures contained in the handbook can be changed, modified, or amended.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement

Jacksonville State University is an equal opportunity employer and educational provider that is dedicated to non-discrimination of any member of the university's community on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veterans' status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other legally protected group status. This policy applies to faculty, staff, students, visitors, applicants, and contractors in a manner consistent with applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, orders, and university policies, procedures, and processes.

The university will consider through appropriate and designated procedures the complaint or grievance of any individual who has reason to feel he or she has been affected by discrimination because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.

As an institution of higher education, and in keeping with its policy of equal employment opportunity, the university hereby declares its policy of equal educational opportunity. All applicants for admission will be considered solely upon the basis of individual qualifications.  All available student job opportunities will be distributed without regard to an applicant's race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status. This policy will be noted in all student handbooks, and the complaint or grievance of any student or prospective student who has reason to feel he or she has been affected by discrimination will be considered through appropriate procedures. 

A representative has been appointed as equal opportunity officer for the university. The equal opportunity office serves as an extension of the president's office and is directly responsible for the administration of the affirmative action plan of the university.

Section 1

History, Mission, General Organization, and Governance

1.1 History

From modest beginnings, Jacksonville State University has evolved into the educational center of Northeast Alabama. The Alabama Legislature, in the 1882-83 session, created a state normal school when Governor Edward O'Neal signed into law a bill creating the school on February 22, 1883. Jacksonville State Normal School acquired the facilities and equipment of Calhoun College, consisting of twelve (12) acres of land and a two (2)-story brick building. The Board of Directors elected James G. Ryals, Jr., as the first president. The school opened with three instructors: W. J. Borden, mathematics; Eliza A. Bowen, English; and Ida J. Woodward, primary department. As stipulated in the establishing act, the Normal School administered a preparatory school for children of the town and surrounding areas. At the end of the first year, on August 15, 1884, William Mark Hames, President of the Board of Directors, reported that funds totaling $4,751.25 had been received, including $2,500 from the state; that twenty-five (25) students were enrolled in the normal school; and that two hundred twenty-two (222) were in the preparatory school.

The normal school remained in operation until 1930, when it became Jacksonville State Teachers College. Five (5) years later, the college earned regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The name again changed to Jacksonville State College in 1957 when the first graduate program—the master's degree in elementary education—was created. On August 2, 1966, the legislature authorized the State Board of Education to elevate the college to university status. On August 17, 1967, the legislature established an independent board of trustees for the university and divested jurisdiction from the State Board of Education.

Jacksonville State University has been served by twelve (12) presidents: James G. Ryals, Jr. (1883-85), J. Harris Chappell (1885-86), Carleton Bartlett Gibson (1886-92), J. B. Jarrett (1892-93), Jacob Forney IV (1893-99), Clarence William Daugette (1899-1942), Houston Cole (1942-71), Ernest Stone (1971-81), Theron E. Montgomery (1981-86), Harold J. McGee (1986-99), William A. Meehan (1999-2015), and John M. Beehler (2015-2019).

Jacksonville State University has developed into a modern regional university serving Northeast Alabama on a three hundred ninety-two (392)-acre campus with seventy-six (76) buildings. In addition, the university operates off-campus centers in Anniston and Jacksonville. Through its programs of teaching, research, and service, Jacksonville State University has served the region and state for more than one hundred thirty (130) years.

1.2 Mission Statement

Jacksonville State University, as a learning-centered community, provides distinctive educational, cultural, and social experiences to prepare students to be competent, ethical professionals and engaged, responsible, global citizens.

1.3 Vision Statement

Jacksonville State University will be recognized nationally for excellence in providing a transformational learning environment that supports student success and engagement, regional stewardship, and innovation.

1.4 Key Strategic Initiatives

  1. Increase Enrollment: Increase enrollment by improving upon the overall recruitment and retention strategies of undergraduate and graduate students.
  2. Expand Regional Stewardship: Serve our region of Northeast Alabama by promoting direct, two-way interaction with communities and key external constituencies through the development, exchange, and application of knowledge, information, and expertise for mutual benefit.
  3. Enhance University Resources: Maximize and make effective use of resources in order to improve and secure the financial future of Jacksonville State University by increasing revenues, increasing productivity, redefining the fee structure and fee allocation, and diversifying the revenue stream.
  4. Expand Innovative Educational Experiences: Develop strategies to enhance the awareness of the importance of providing innovative educational experiences to students and identify innovations in curriculum, learning spaces, academic support systems, and student experiences that enhance learning and career preparation.
  5. Enhance Branding and Marketing: Enhance the branding and marketing of JSU through increased brand awareness and targeted and engaging marketing strategies to our primary and secondary markets. This will be accomplished through the development of a comprehensive integrated marketing plan that will be delivered through various media and kept current by continuous assessment of our technology and marketing software platforms.
  6. Enhance Human Capital: Provide new opportunities, and further enhance existing opportunities for promoting and maintaining all aspects of the health, knowledge, skills, abilities, talents, experiences, judgment, and motivation which are possessed by JSU employees. Enhancing of the aforementioned elements, both individually and collectively, help increase the value, morale, and productivity of employees and that of JSU’s resources, and further increase the sense of belonging. Enhancing JSU’s human capital enables employees to enjoy a high standard of health, when access to varied and satisfying opportunities for work, personal creativity, and recreation are provided.
  7. Enhance University Infrastructure: Improve and maintain the physical facilities, information technology, and networks required to support the university’s mission.

1.5 Core Values

Jacksonville State University is committed to:

  1. Student-Centered Culture
  2. Excellence
  3. Transformation
  4. Innovation
  5. Engagement
  6. Stewardship
  7. Integrity
  8. Inclusivity

1.6 Accreditation

Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master's, educational specialist's, and doctoral degrees.

1.7 Academic Affairs/Administrative Governance Structure

1.7.1 Board of Trustees

The board of trustees is the governing body for Jacksonville State University. The board has the statutory authority to organize the university; to appoint the faculty and other employees; to fix salaries and compensation and increase or reduce the same at its discretion; to regulate, alter, or modify the government of the university; to prescribe courses of instruction and rates of tuition and fees; to confer degrees; and to do whatever else it may deem best for promoting the interests of the university.

The board of trustees consists of two members from the congressional district in which the institution is located, one from each of the other congressional districts in the state, and one member from the state at large. The governor is president of the board and, together with the state superintendent of education, is an ex-officio voting member. The trustees are appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the state senate, and hold office for a term of twelve (12) years or until their successors are appointed and qualified. The board is divided into three groups, as nearly equal in number as possible, so that one third may be chosen quadrennially.

The board of trustees holds its annual meeting at the university on the third Monday in October. Quarterly meetings are scheduled at this session unless the board determines to hold its meetings at other times. Special meetings of the board may be called by the governor or upon the written application of any three members of the board.

The board appoints the president and other officers of the university. The president serves as the secretary to the board.

1.7.2 President

The board of trustees invests the president with full administrative responsibility for the institution. As the chief executive and administrative officer of the university, the president is responsible for the governance of the institution and for carrying out the policies of the board.

In the implementation of the overall administrative responsibility for the university, the president seeks the advice and assistance of faculty, students, and administrative personnel. This assistance is accomplished primarily through elected and appointed faculty and student representatives and through administrative appointments and delegations of authority.

1.7.3 provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs

The provost and senior vice president for academic affairs (provost/VPAA) has administrative jurisdiction over all academic affairs personnel and programs. The provost and senior vice president for academic affairs recommends to the president long- range plans for academic affairs development and formulates policies to implement approved plans, coordinates and furnishes direction and guidance to the associate vice presidents and deans in the development and operation of their academic affairs programs, presides at meetings of the academic faculty, and serves as chair of the university council and the council of deans. All academic affairs personnel and departments report through their appropriate department heads and deans/directors to the provost/VPAA who, in turn, reports to the president.

1.7.4 Vice Provost

The vice provost reports to the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. The vice provost is responsible for divisional activities such as, but not limited to, academic advisement, academic enhancement and tutoring, the faculty commons, graduate studies, learning services, and Online@JSU. The vice provost is a member of the executive council, council of deans, and other standing committees as deemed appropriate by the provost/VPAA and president.

1.7.5 Associate Vice Provost

The associate vice provost reports to the vice provost. The associate vice provost is responsible for undergraduate studies and special academic programs; international academic partnerships; and sponsored programs, grants, and contracts. The associate vice provost is a member of the council of deans and other standing committees as deemed appropriate by the provost/VPAA and president.

1.7.6 School Deans

School deans are responsible for coordinating and managing the operations within their respective schools. Deans report to the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. The individual dean is the administrator of the school and serves as a liaison between the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and the school. School deans have certain responsibilities for personnel matters; the development and maintenance of programs, plans, and goals for the school; and other assigned duties. School deans are members of the council of deans and the executive council.

1.7.7 Dean of Library Services

The dean of library services reports to the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and is responsible for library operations, collections, and services. The dean of library services is responsible for personnel; the development of programs, plans, and goals for the library; and other assigned duties. The dean of library services is a member of the council of deans and the executive council.

1.7.8 Department Heads

Department heads are responsible for the general direction and supervision of their departments. Department heads report to their respective deans. The department head is an administrator and the academic leader of the faculty in the development of the department's programs, plans, and goals. The department head maintains liaison between the department, the dean, and external agencies.

1.8 General Institutional Governance

1.8.1 Executive Council

The executive council represents all divisions of the university and serves as the main administrative unit that recommends policy to the president. The provost and senior vice president for academic affairs serves as chair of the university council and establishes additional standing and ad hoc committees as deemed necessary.

1.8.2 Council of Deans

The council of deans serves as an advisory unit to the provost/vice president for academic affairs. The membership of the council includes all deans, the vice provost, the associate vice provost, and others as deemed necessary. The provost/VPAA is the chair of the council of deans.

1.8.3 Athletic Council

The athletic council is a committee that serves at the pleasure of the university president. It consists of representatives from faculty, staff, athletic department, and students. It is chaired by the faculty athletic representative, who represents the university's interest before any appropriate conference and before the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The council is charged with the responsibility of insuring that athletic policies are consistent with the overall educational objectives of the Institution.

The council also advises the president; serves as a link between academics and athletics; serves as the due process body for adjudicating athletic grievances; reviews the university's philosophy, policies, and objectives regarding athletics; and reviews aspects of the athletic program such as admission prices, sponsorships, and personnel needs or changes.

1.8.4 The Faculty Senate

The faculty elects from among its members a representative body known as the faculty senate. The faculty senate is an advisory body and as such may consider and make recommendations through the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Those areas affecting the academic activities of the university and faculty welfare are appropriate for consideration by the faculty senate. The minutes of the faculty senate are published on its website: www.jsu.edu/facultysenate.

1.8.5 Graduate Council

The graduate council is responsible for recommending policies and regulations relative to all aspects of graduate education. Membership consists of representatives of the graduate faculty, graduate students, the deans of the schools, and the provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs. The director of graduate studies serves as chair, ex-officio, of the graduate council.

1.8.6 Student Government Association

The Student Government Association (SGA) is composed of four branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial, and student activities council. The student body elects the officers of the SGA and all registered students are automatically members of this organization. The SGA office is located on the fourth floor of the Theron Montgomery Building. The director of student life and orientation oversees the SGA.

1.8.7 Standing Committees

Standing university committees exist for athletic council, budget committee, distance education advisory council, diversity and employment equity, enrollment management, institutional effectiveness, institutional review board, research and service, safety and environmental health, scholarship/financial aid, strategic planning, undergraduate admission appeals, university compliance committee for athletics, and university support services for athletes. Ad hoc committees and task forces are appointed at presidential discretion. The president's office maintains a current list of committee memberships.