September 19, 2019
Four reasons why you need a Faculty Information System
Topics in Higher Education
A faculty information system (FIS) rovides a central platform for all faculty data, which benefits faculty and well as administrators. By enabling greater transparency, FIS systems can actively encourage university personnel to put forth their best contributions. There are four main ways your institution can benefit from adopting a comprehensive FIS.
1. Transparent tracking of faculty data
There are plenty of uses for faculty information systems. They are primarily used as a tracking tool for various pieces of faculty information. This includes — but is not limited to — appointments, sabbatical eligibility, research interests, tenure review, and honors granted to faculty members.
Because a faculty information system is useful during the processes for review, tenure, and promotion, as well as in faculty searches and faculty activity reporting, it is essential that institutions frequently update the information in their systems. However, the more often university faculty and administrators can update this information, the better.
2. Organization pertaining to subject matter expertise
Faculty information systems are effective tools for compiling and gathering information that relates directly to faculty members’ strengths and specialties. When a faculty member, department head, or administrator needs someone with subject matter expertise on a certain specialization or topic, they can turn to the FIS to provide insight.
3. Improved fairness across the institution
Tracking this information in a platform that is visible across the institution allows for an increased sense of fairness. Faculty members directly input their data into the system, allowing control over their information and also offering visibility into their accomplishments to their colleagues and department chairs. In addition, it is crucial that department chairs and administrators have access to faculty information. That way, they stay attuned to exactly when educators should qualify for tenure and sabbatical, and what professional development opportunities they took advantage of to propel their career.
In addition to providing a sense of transparency to faculty members, faculty information software adds another layer of fairness by looking at equity in pay, hiring, tenure, and promotion rates across many different demographics. With access to a comprehensive FIS, institutions can make sure they are providing fair opportunities to all faculty.
4. Increased communication between faculty and staff
One of the most important components of adopting a faculty information system is deciding who will be part of the platform. The most effective way to make sure you are including every faculty member is to reach out to the faculty affairs department of your university. They will likely have access to the hiring and appointment records for faculty across the university. This is particularly useful when you work at an institution that has multiple locations. State universities located in several cities, for instance, will have faculty spread across a geographical distance, but their HR will likely be cohesive and integrated. You can use HR’s insight to make sure you’ve included each faculty member, regardless of location, discipline, and employment status — meaning part-time and adjunct faculty should be part of the system.
In addition to making sure each faculty member and department head is on this centralized platform, it is essential that certain members of administration have access to the FIS. Individuals that can profit from reviewing information on the faculty information system include deans, human resources professionals, institutional research officers, and payroll personnel. There are other staff members who may not be integrated directly into the system, but may benefit from gaining insight into the faculty data being implemented into the FIS. For instance, a public relations professional writing a press release to announce a professor’s groundbreaking research discovery may find it beneficial to find information from their profile on the FIS system, as certain components — such as honors, years of service, and professional growth opportunities — can further develop the piece.
The integration of both faculty and staff members in this platform is yet another perk of working with an FIS. Rather than keeping faculty information viewable only to faculty members, having this data visible across the organization creates a sense of community among different departments, programs, and disciplines.
Interfolio’s Faculty Information System
If your university is motivated to migrate to a cohesive, centralized data platform for its evaluation and reporting systems, you may consider investing in Interfolio’s Faculty Information System. This suite of solutions allows you to modify data in real time and share accurate, up-to-date information to various members of the university, from faculty and department chairs to staff and administration. If you are interested in finding out more about Interfolio’s Faculty Information System, get in touch with us to see how our capabilities can match your institution’s needs and expectations in order to provide value to all members of faculty and staff.