Case Study: The University of Notre Dame
Until fall of 2014, University of Notre Dame tried to fit their faculty hiring needs into overly-complicated, HR-driven, staff hiring software, which led to inefficiencies and potential inaccuracies. Users were forced to adopt “workarounds” to make the existing system work with their process—for instance, administrators often “applied” on behalf of a faculty candidate already recommended for hire. The system was used less to support recruiting and hiring decisions at the department level than it was used to support approval workflow in an electronic system. The sheer volume of applications caused some departments to seek and create their own web-based tools, which resulted in lack of standardization, visibility, and potential compliance concerns.
Collaborative Tools for Faculty
After speaking with peers in the academy, university leaders turned to Interfolio’s ByCommittee Faculty Search because it addressed a critical component of the hiring process: faculty collaboration in the hiring decision. Not only did ByCommittee address the specific requirements of committee work with conversation, rating, and reviewing tools, it also eliminated inefficiencies like photocopying, document distribution and storage, and provided an applicant software “front-end” with an academic feel.
“Recruiting and hiring future colleagues is one of the most critical services a faculty member provides to her institution,” said Christine Maziar, Vice President and Senior Associate Provost for Budget and Planning. “At Notre Dame, we felt that we needed to provide better tools to our departments in managing the volume of information considered by each committee member in each search. The less time that a committee member spends wrestling with a system (or paper), the more time that a committee member can devote to considering the merits of each candidate.”
Standardization and Customization
Previously, practices for managing applicant files at Notre Dame differed from department to department. Now applicant file management and required components of the applicant file are standardized across campus—even with over 400 searches this year. Most importantly, Notre Dame achieved standardization without undue limitation on disciplinary autonomy. Individual departments initiate new searches according to their unique specifications—customizing the position description and required materials—but the institution as a whole benefits from a process with reliable standards for electronic document collection, information gathering, secure storage, and oversight. Hiring is now a visible, trackable process, from department to Dean’s office to the Office of the Provost.
“The cloud-based system was especially easy to use,” said Joe Lyphout, Assistant Director of Budget and Planning, Office of the Provost. “I didn’t have to wait for your team to set up our system; I was able to quickly set it up in a day or two and use it right away.”
Data and Reporting
Data visibility was an important additional benefit for Notre Dame in choosing ByCommittee. The ability to attach customized forms to every application opened up a world of possibilities for understanding the applicant pool. Departments are now using custom forms to find out about disciplinary sub-fields, conference attendance, and other applicant information. And, where previous diversity reporting was a very manual process, now EEO information is gathered automatically, with compliant and pre-approved forms automatically attached as a requirement of every application submission.
About Interfolio’s ByCommittee
Interfolio launched ByCommittee in 2012 as a response to user feedback about the need for better systems to support shared governance and committee decisions. ByCommittee currently supports the most fundamental decisions by and about faculty—hiring and tenure—although new modules to support the wider field of faculty work are in development today. ByCommittee is currently in use at over 125 institutions worldwide. For more information about ByCommittee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (877) 773-6546.