Case Studies

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Case Study: Tulane University

Tulane had been looking for a way to bring promotion and tenure committee process online for years, but found no system to match their needs, let alone deliver financial planning and workload management at the administrative level. As early adopters of ByCommittee Promotion & Tenure, Tulane users not only found a solution to their issues around automation, but also were able to partner with Interfolio to contribute to product growth by providing feedback about their workflows, requirements, and business needs. Now, ByCommittee provides transparency around academic decisions at Tulane ranging from hiring to review, reappointment, tenure, and academic leave.

Resource Management Meets User Experience

Tangible benefits of the transition to ByCommittee were apparent from both a resource management perspective as well as an improved faculty user experience. Some of the highest praise of ByCommittee at Tulane revolves around resource management: previously, tenure cases were reviewed from paper files, an extreme waste of resources (paper, money, and time). Every promotion and tenure candidate was required to print their entire file and create a binder—and then create ten to twelve copies for review. Then, a staff member dedicated time to hauling binders across campus in a wagon to store print copies under lock and key in the Dean’s office. Faculty committee members had to make trips to review files in person on their own time. Now, faculty committee members can review from an office, café, airplane, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Users on Tulane’s campus have been pleased with the transition, reporting that they are happy not only to be reviewing materials according to their own schedule, but also to be killing fewer trees.

Financial Planning and Workload Efficiency

ByCommittee Promotion and Tenure has also helped with Tulane’s financial planning and workload. Alysia Loshbaugh, Director of Financial Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs and Provost, explains, “From a university perspective, being able to log in and see how many active cases we have at a given time is so helpful because we have budgetary considerations tied to promotion.” With ByCommittee, administrative users can view the total active promotion and tenure case load across campus and determine the budgetary impact in advance—in this sense, ByCommittee replaced a manual process of reaching out to individual schools and departments. Planning future work and budgets is far easier knowing when leadership know how many full professors will be on campus the following year.

Partner in Development

As an early adopter of ByCommittee Promotion & Tenure, Tulane became a partner in the module’s development process. Interfolio’s “agile” approach to building software—making incremental improvements based on users’ needs—means that Tulane has been able to contribute to, and see the effects of, feature developments that speak directly to their institutional workflow efficiencies and process improvement. As the primary point of contact, Ms. Loshbaugh enjoys that she can send her ideas to Interfolio and know they will receive serious consideration as part of the future development process.

ByCommittee Promotion and Tenure has been expanded across Tulane’s campus. The School of Science and Engineering has started using it for the review and reappointment of endowed chairs and professorships, while the institution has used it successfully to determine the annual, university-wide teaching awards—a process that requires a teaching portfolio review by multiple committees. Starting Fall of 2016, Tulane will use ByCommittee for sabbatical and academic leave committees, as well.

ByCommittee Faculty Search at Tulane

Before the entire institution adopted ByCommittee for both hiring and promotion, the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University used the ByCommittee Faculty Search module to process hundreds of applications to post-doctoral positions. The transition to institution-wide usage of ByCommittee Faculty Search meant transitioning away from an HR system that wasn’t working for their needs—it had limited workflow options, limited flexibility or customization, and didn’t include an option for soliciting confidential letters of recommendation. ByCommittee met all of these needs, and also included an added data and reporting component. ByCommittee’s combined reports feature, with its ability to turn certain columns on and off, allows Tulane’s users to easily generate a custom reports to see just the necessary information from a search (finding, for instance, everyone hired in a given search period).