Skip navigation

Office of the Provost

Instructor Of Record Policy

Printable PDF version 


Instructor of Record

The instructor of record at the University of Southern Mississippi is listed as the primary instructor for a course, except in those courses that are team-taught, in which instructors share the responsibilities for the course. Primary instructors

  • Are listed on the SACSCOC Faculty Roster,
  • Must be appropriately credentialed to teach the course (see special circumstances for 400/500 courses), and
  • Will be evaluated by students in the course and by the academic department offering the courses according to standing University polices and practices on the evaluation of teaching.

Each instructor of record (IOR) is assigned an appropriate percentage of responsibility in SOAR.

The instructor of record has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the course syllabus, for the day-to-day delivery of the course, for the course addressing the student learning outcomes implied by the syllabus, and for the issuing of grades. In most circumstances, the instructor of record is the individual who delivers the course.

Notable exceptions to situations where the IOR may have overall responsibility for a course without continuous presence or ongoing instruction in a classroom or through online delivery include

  • Undergraduate laboratory and studio sections of courses, in which teaching assistants or adjuncts may participate in the delivery of instruction/student supervision, but for which the IOR has primary responsibility and oversight
  • Proseminar courses, in which the IOR has the responsibility for organizing a series of speakers for a course while maintaining overall responsibility for the course
  • Graduate 500-level courses that are cross-listed with an undergraduate 400-level course and for which the IOR of the undergraduate course does not have the academic qualifications for teaching a graduate course
    • The graduate faculty member will have overall responsibility for the course offering and will be listed in SOAR as the first primary instructor for a team-taught graduate course with at least a 60% responsibility for the graduate course.
    • The following document will be on file in the department, the respective college, and the Office of the Provost:

•  A description of the division of responsibilities between the 400-level IOR and the 500-level IOR;

•  A statement by the graduate IOR that verifies that the graduate IOR had full responsibility for the graduate content portion of the course, is in agreement with the undergraduate content and organization of the course, and has responsibility for the criteria and policies concerning grade assignments for the graduate students and the awarding of grades for the graduate students;

•  A description of how and how often the graduate IOR will interact separately with the graduate students in the course (e.g., separate seminar sessions, graduate-student only web chats; etc.);

•  A copy of the graduate-level syllabus clearly listing the graduate IOR as the faculty member responsible for the graduate course, in collaboration with the undergraduate IOR. In addition, the syllabus will clearly demonstrate graduate-level content, assignments, and expectations.

  • Certain study abroad courses, in which the day-to-day responsibility of course delivery rests with discipline-specific instructional personnel, but course framework and grading remains the responsibility of an appropriately-qualified IOR (e.g., intensive language courses)
  • Clinical instruction that is supervised by persons experienced in the discipline and focuses on application of concepts and principles in the field
  • Field supervision of student teaching, practica and internships supervised by persons experienced in the discipline
  • Other situations that may not require the continuous presence or ongoing instruction of the IOR and (1) that the department can demonstrate and document as educationally sound and (2) that have received approval of the office of the respective dean and the Office of the Provost 

The IOR also has responsibility for student complaints and grievances associated with the course and is responsible for course activities delivered by his/her designated representatives.


Teaching Assistants/Graduate Students

A graduate teaching assistant may serve as IOR for an undergraduate course provided that the individual and offering department meet SACSCOC guidelines for faculty qualifications:

Graduate teaching assistants: master’s in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations. ( 

Teaching assistants serving as IORs must have earned the master’s or the 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline prior to the beginning of the course being taught. Thesis and dissertation research hours do not count towards the requirement of 18 graduate hours in the teaching field. 

Departments utilizing teaching assistants as instructors of record must provide the following on an annual basis to their respective deans:

  • A list of faculty members serving as TA supervisors
  • A description of any regular pre- and in-service training provided to TAs serving as instructors of record
  • A report showing the date of the annual evaluation of each teaching assistant

In no instance can a graduate student serve as an IOR of a graduate course, including any split- level course (e.g., 400/500), except in a different discipline/department where the student has appropriate credentials. A graduate student with a master’s degree or equivalent appropriate credentials can be hired as an adjunct instructor and IOR for an undergraduate course through the normal process of hiring part-time instructors.


Secondary Instructor(s)

A secondary instructor is an individual assisting the IOR in instructional, grading or other appropriate activities and listed with responsibilities in SOAR. Examples of secondary instructors/TAs include the following: 

  • Students serving as graders, assistants in course delivery, and laboratory and studio assistants working under the active supervision of the appropriately qualified IOR.
  • Adjuncts serving as graders, providing instruction for a portion of a course, or serving as clinical instructors, as long as they are under the direct supervision and active guidance of an appropriately-qualified individual who serves as IOR.
  • Individuals providing instruction for a portion of a course, perhaps functioning as the primary instructor of that portion of the course. In such a course, an individual secondary instructor may provide no more than one-third of the instruction of the course, and collectively, secondary instructors may not provide more than half of the instruction, except in courses as noted below:
    • Undergraduate laboratory and studio sections of courses, in which assistants or adjuncts may participate in the delivery of instruction, but for which the IOR has primary responsibility and oversight
    • Individuals serving as a field supervisor of students, but not directly involved in the design of the course or the final grading of students. 

Secondary instructors are not listed on the SACSCOC faculty roster, but should be evaluated on an annual basis as a matter of good practice.



Except as noted above, it is not acceptable for an individual to be listed as the IOR while another individual, even when listed as a secondary instructor or as a teaching assistant, carries out, substantially, the duties of a primary instructor. Any such instance carries negative consequences for the IOR and the academic department.


NB - This policy was distributed to the colleges for feedback in August 2014 and again in August 2015.

Contact Us

Office of the Provost
Lucas Administration Building

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map