(Our sort-of manifesto)
We believe faculty is the group most central to the success of higher education.
Faculty define the culture and intellectual climate of a campus. They drive research initiatives, grants, published works, and critical thinking. They are responsible for the success of current students and the influence of generations of alumni. And, not least, they are responsible for the important governance decisions that shape the institution, like curriculum, hiring, promotion, and tenure. Faculty are uniquely equipped to steer your institution through the myriad external pressures that affect higher education by means of their expertise, talent, drive, and dedication.
Despite this very clear value, very few systems are available to make faculty work easier or more productive. As mounting costs create demands for efficiency, institutions across higher education have tried to reduce spending by hiring even fewer full-time, tenure-track faculty. In doing so, they have exacerbated many of the issues they sought to alleviate, creating more service and mentorship demands on faculty, fewer faculty resources for students, and a two-tier system whereby nearly 75% of the professoriate lack a governance role at the institution. As the remaining full-time faculty have more and more on their plate—mandates, assessments, and reports that demand more paperwork and time on top of existing obligations—what tools exist to help prioritize the teaching, research, and service that faculty were hired to do?
We believe that the right technology—when it accounts for faculty requirements, work, and decisions—has the ability to make faculty life easier and more productive. Too many times, technology decisions are “done unto” faculty. Someone in some office buys something and hopes that it makes things a little more effective. But if you build tools that are seamlessly integrated into the work that faculty are already doing—applying for jobs, going up for review, seeking tenure—technology isn’t an additional burden for faculty. By engaging faculty work, decisions, and data directly, technology has the potential to make institutions far more efficient and effective than they are today.
In fact, when technology is built for the most important element of higher education everyone benefits: with support, faculty have more time for teaching and research; with transparency into faculty data, institutions can enact meaningful change around big issues like campus diversity and budget; with the right tools, governance becomes an engine for transformation at the university.
This mutual benefit for institutions and faculty guides all of our work. Institutional decisions are better when they take faculty expertise and information into account. Faculty committees are most effective when aligned with the strategic mission of their institution.
Advance faculty, advance the institution.