Georgetown Case Study:

Streamlining Faculty Hiring with Seamless Integrations

At your institution, how do different schools and departments approach faculty hiring? Do you find that there are different approaches and points of data collection? You might consider this deferential policy to be harmless, but like all choices, it has costs.

Georgetown University adopted Interfolio Faculty Search to mitigate these costs.

Watch the video to learn more.

“Across our 10 schools, we had multiple processes for faculty recruitment: we had people using shared drives and email, people using Interfolio Faculty Search, others using competitors to Interfolio, and still others using mail only,” explained Charlie Leonhardt, Georgetown University’s Director of Online Initiatives and Innovation.

“When you have this kind of Wild West, it’s impossible to gather all the demographic data from all of the processes across the University to see how well you’re doing in attracting diverse faculty,” Charlie said.

In this video, Georgetown will demonstrate the following outcomes of adopting Interfolio:

  • A consistent process for candidates and departments
  • Uniform data collection for applicants and committees
  • Compliance with EEO and Demographic Reporting
  • Increased efficiency by saving time on transfers of information
  • How easy Interfolio is to use for applicants and search committees

Faculty Information System

White Paper: The Faculty Information System

Read the updated 2020 edition of our popular white paper to find out:

  • Why build for faculty first?
  • What colleges and universities stand to gain by supporting and studying faculty work with a modern, digital-first system
  • The six specific elements of higher education faculty information

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the nearly 1,000 registrants from academic and faculty affairs, technology, HR, and other university roles who made the 2021 Interfolio Summit, earlier this month, a uniquely valuable event.

Here, we’re going to share just a few of the things that made the two-day virtual conference so worth everyone’s time.

We’re going to focus on five recurring themes—feel free to hop down to what interests you the most:

  1. An Academic/Faculty Affairs Community of Practice
  2. Progress on Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  3. Achieving Efficiency (with Integrity) in Faculty Affairs Personnel Processes
  4. Integrations: Faculty Affairs and the University Technology Ecosystem
  5. Successful Change Management: Real People and Faculty Affairs Technology

1. An Academic/Faculty Affairs Community of Practice

The 2021 Interfolio Summit provided a unique venue for interaction to academic/faculty affairs professionals, as well as those in university technology and HR whose work touches faculty employment.

Whether in the form of the 20 prepared sessions, the lively chat throughout, the audience Q&A, or the “Meet the Speakers” breakout rooms, the Summit this year provided a space to talk about successfully supporting faculty in the modern university. 

In “Maximizing Efficiency with Creative Uses of Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure,” Elizabeth City State University’s Dr. Farrah Ward, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dr. Joy Smith, Dean of the School of Education and Business showed how they have extended their use of the platform beyond academic evaluations to include faculty credentialing.

With “Documenting Personnel Processes and Increasing User Adoption,” Arizona State University’s Chantel Powers, Academic Personnel Analyst and Katherine Sackman, Academic Personnel Specialist, gave a detailed walk-through of their model for ensuring that the very practical “nuts and bolts” of their procedures are as easy as possible to locate, maintain, and carry out. 

And during “Stories from the Field: Managing Interfolio Long-Term,” Lauren Wolk, Senior Consultant, and Kelly Doolan, Project Manager, from the Interfolio Professional Services team announced the Interfolio Certification program, a newly formalized course by which academic professionals can demonstrate their full competency with the Interfolio Faculty Information System.


2. Progress on Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Early in planning the Summit, Interfolio recognized that the issues of justice and equal opportunity continue to pose a pressing challenge throughout the US and global society—no less in higher education faculty affairs than anywhere else.

Right from the opening keynote address by Dr. Ebony O. McGee, Associate Professor of Diversity and STEM Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College (“Beyond Recruiting: Retaining Underrepresented Minoritized Faculty & Graduate Students”) this year’s Summit included an explicit and searching focus on issues of faculty diversity, equity, and inclusion in modern higher education.  

Our panel “Moving to Outcomes: Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives” saw academic leaders from Stony Brook University, Dartmouth University, Colorado College, and the Consortium for Faculty Diversity discussing specific tactics they’ve used, as well as the outcomes.

The panel provided concrete recommendations for building lasting diversity, a truly inclusive environment, and an equitable work experience for scholars. 

Among many topics not limited to diversity, equity, and inclusion, “HBCU Leaders in Conversation” offered a look into current challenges and successes of the US’s historically black colleges and universities. Attendees got to hear a lively discussion between Dr. Stashia Emanuel, Vice Provost for Academic Services at Kentucky State University, Dr. Patricia Williams-Lessane, Associate Vice President at Morgan State University, and Dr. James Palmer, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. The panel discussed specific outreach and faculty support approaches, current recruitment and retention efforts, and especially how the Interfolio Faculty Information System has directly enabled progress on their strategic plans. 

In “Streamlining Insights with Reportable Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Activities,” Bridget Mullaney, MD, PMP of the Facet Project Team in the Office of the Provost at Emory University shared a model Emory employs to successfully track faculty members’ DEI-relevant professional activities and enable both the scholar and the institution to tell that story. 


3. Achieving Efficiency with Integrity in Faculty Affairs Personnel Processes

This year’s Summit continued to showcase how higher education institutions use Interfolio to make faculty affairs processes more efficient and best use faculty, staff, and administrator time. Equally clear, however, was the commitment to maintain excellence in the personnel decisions or data storytelling regardless of the level of convenience.

In a session on change management (more below), Molli J. Herth, M.Ed, Program Manager for Faculty Affairs and Development in the Office of the Provost at George Mason University mentioned that certain features had already reduced the administrative burden of managing hundreds of cases across different workflow stages and types.

In the panel “Achieving Strategic Goals with a Faculty Information System,” panelists Allysceaeioun D Britt, PhD, MPH of Meharry Medical College, Ed Collom, PhD of California State University-Fullerton, and ​​Alyssa Kupka of DePaul University shared many ways that faculty affairs and administrative workflows at their universities are operating more successfully than ever before. 

“Process should dictate the system, not the other way around,” said Dr. Britt. “And Interfolio was able to do that.”

Across this and other Summit panels, we heard how:

  • Total time to complete certain reviews had decreased
  • Faculty had been “given back” time that they could use to focus on excellent teaching, research, curriculum development, mentoring, community engagement, and other core academic activities
  • Professional staff at the university are able to be a greater support than ever to faculty, and are freed up for their own professional growth, by a centralized system really built for this work
  • Provost and other administrative offices have been given the space to revisit and reconsider inherited processes
  • (Last, but far from least!) Those who already had the faculty-friendly platform in place experienced relative ease of adjustment—and capacity to react—when the COVID-19 pandemic struck

4. Integrations: Faculty Affairs, Interfolio, and the University Technology Ecosystem

Another aspect of this year’s Summit was a focus on how the Interfolio platform, which often reflects the needs of a provost’s or faculty affairs office, can most productively interact with other systems at the institution.

In “Harnessing APIs to Streamline Faculty Hiring with Seamless Integrations,” Georgetown University’s Merced Ada, Rebecca Cpin, Christopher Davis, Emily Fitzgerald, and Charlie Leonhardt broke down how they built an integration between Interfolio Faculty Search for recruitment and their HR system, Workday. 

For those focused on integrating with faculty evaluations, J. Reuben Wetherbee of the University of Pennsylvania gave a detailed presentation on three ways that he was able to leverage the Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure API to extend the reach (and the time-savings) of the module.

And in a panel focused on Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting, speakers from Scripps Research Institute, Bowling Green State University, and the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences shared how they’ve connected a wide variety of critical campus systems to exchange data with the Interfolio platform.

From faculty data originating in HR and ERP systems, to grants and other financial data, to courses, and even a projected IRB connection, the speakers at these different institutions stressed the value of bringing in data that another unit on campus has already vetted.

“The depth of reporting [available via Interfolio] has been really important as far as faculty academic career growth—because there’s a lot of support that we can give our faculty when we know more about what they’re doing, their productivity, and where we’re lacking in supporting them.”

Katrina Schreiber, Administrative Manager, Research & Academic Affairs, The Scripps Research Institute

5. Successful Change Management: Faculty Affairs Technology is for Real People

Finally, echoing a persistent theme central to the growth and expansion of Interfolio usage worldwide, nearly every client session shared to some extent how they had successfully managed the “human element” of adopting new faculty affairs technology. Namely, that a change in systems really means a change in what people do.

In “How to Successfully Lead Change Management and Faculty Adoption Initiatives,” New York University’s Mike McCaw and George Mason’s Molli J. Herth (mentioned above) generously shared the strategies their institutions had used to systematically bring all needed user groups onboard. 

Other speakers from various institutions shared many successful faculty affairs change management choices throughout the Summit, such as:

  • Internal workflows of data validation and sign-off from deans, before piping it into the central Interfolio system (“Contemporary Uses of Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting”)
  • Demonstrating security of system access to faculty members (“Achieving Strategic Goals with a Faculty Information System”)
  • In some cases, introducing the system with a hybrid model for a year before requiring it—in other cases, making it mandatory institution-wide from the jump (“HBCU Leaders in Conversation”)
  • A “train the trainer” model to distribute support for faculty members and others across campus units (“Documenting Personnel Processes and Increasing User Adoption”)

Next Year: August 2022 in Washington, DC!

We are thrilled—and grateful to every contributor and attendee—that the 2021 Summit turned out to be such a lively and welcome hub for faculty affairs dialogue and expertise.

We haven’t even gotten into all of the sessions here, such as those on the ethics of academic data management, the Interfolio product roadmap, the global social purpose of higher education, and others. 

But mark your calendars! After two entirely virtual installments in 2020 and 2021, we are proud to announce the 2022 Interfolio Summit will take place in person, August 3-5, in downtown Washington, DC. We look forward to sharing next year what we’ve all learned in between—and to continuing the conversation every day.

On-Demand: Five Ways Interfolio Supports Academic Recruitment & Hiring

Make the experience better for applicants and hiring committees

What do global universities, individual departments, and graduate program centers have in common?

Well, for one thing, they run their academic recruitment, hiring, and appointments through Interfolio to make an efficient, seamless process for all that are involved.

Watch this free on-demand webinar and moderated Q&A to explore how you add strategic value to your institution with Faculty Search—and, if you have impending deadlines, it is possible to implement and post a position within 14 days with your dedicated Interfolio project manager.


With Faculty Search, your institution will have the leading platform used and preferred by faculty (including 1 million job hunters)—and, the process will be modern and represent your institution well from the job posting through hiring.

Faculty Search:

  • Gives you access to a centralized applicant pool
  • Supports your equity and inclusion efforts
  • Reduces friction for candidates and administrators with efficiencies in workflow
  • Enables data-driven decision-making and insights
  • Bolsters your institution’s recruiting power, reducing the time-to-hire competitive talent

Our acclaimed Services team, supported by our robust Interfolio University courses, will ensure your success, with best practices learned from implementing hundreds of your peers.

“I consider Interfolio the Rolls Royce of customer service.”

Georgia Davidis, Faculty Dossier Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officer, Office of the Provost
Haverford College

Find out why almost 200 higher education departments, colleges, universities, and professional organizations use Interfolio to remain competitive in academic hiring and appointments, including:

  • Stanford University
  • Boston College
  • Baylor University
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Mohammed Bin Rashid University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • San Diego State University
  • Universidad Pompeu Fabra
  • Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
  • New York Historical Society
  • Emory University
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO
  • And many more!

You’ll learn:

  • What makes the Interfolio approach fundamentally different (and why so many of the world’s most influential institutions use it today)
  • Why higher education leaders choose us to enable their faculty-specific recruiting and hiring needs
  • What specific features and actions can shape your recruitment efforts and diversity on campus
  • How all stakeholders benefit from this modern method—from gathering applications to committees, to senior academic leadership, to professional staff
  • And last but not least—how Interfolio empowers you and the end users to get up and running quickly, efficiently, and with immediate data insights

“Covid required a pivot to a completely online process for application submission and evaluation for our two fellowship positions. Interfolio was the clear choice for our applicants and reviewers. We were quickly trained and had our apps up and ready to open on time. It was easy to track our applicants for each position, to take care of administrative tasks, and review applicant materials. The online training modules were helpful and readily available, while customer support quickly responded to any questions we had. A real life saver for a fast transmission to a wholly online review process!”

Wendy Skidmore, Fellowship Manager
Stanford University

Partnership with Interfolio will transform faculty career management, improving efficiency and collaboration

WHITTIER, CALIFORNIA — SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 — Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU), a premier evidence-based integrative healthcare university, today announces its adoption of all four modules of Interfolio’s Faculty Information System. With this digital approach to its faculty processes, SCU deepens its commitment and support of the faculty experience while also improving efficiency for the university at large.

“Our faculty are the heart of what makes us successful, and we knew we could better support them while improving academic management processes,” states Dr. Jonathon Egan, Assistant Provost, Academic Administration at SCU. “The Faculty Information System solves our challenges with faculty appraisals, reporting, and data, while at the same time increasing trust and collaboration with faculty.”

With this platform, SCU is able to manage faculty members’ career pathways and create a centralized faculty roster noting location, rank, and skills, a task which previously required manual compilation by academic affairs staff.

Faculty appraisals, portfolio reviews, and faculty promotion will become fully digital—making a previous cumbersome process more efficient for both the faculty members and administrators. Additionally, SCU will streamline reporting for accreditation and compliance through Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting. Last, faculty hiring will be facilitated through Faculty Search, to help SCU continue to attract the best possible faculty from the region, the nation, and around the world.

“With the adoption of all four modules, SCU is realizing the full advantages of faculty-centric and administratively-streamlined modern academic governance,” states Andrew Rosen, CEO of Interfolio. “Interfolio’s platform enables SCU to digitize difficult manual processes while better supporting and enhancing the user experience across the entire lifecycle of their faculty’s careers—further promoting what’s truly important to SCU: educating students as competent, caring, and successful integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals.”

ABOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES

Founded in 1911, Southern California University of Health Sciences’ (SCU) mission is to educate students to be competent, caring, and successful integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals. The University is committed to providing an academic community imbued with kindness, integrity, humor, and determination. SCU began as a single-purpose institution preparing chiropractors. Over time, the University added programs and evolved from a single-purpose professional school into a health sciences university with programs at the certificate, undergraduate, master, and doctoral level. The University has four core values inextricably linked to the vision of transforming and redefining health and healthcare education and, together, inform SCU’s approach to healthcare education. The values are: a commitment to integrative health, a commitment to evidence-based practice, a commitment to health equity, and a commitment to inclusivity.

ABOUT INTERFOLIO

Conceived by academics for academics, Interfolio is an education technology company headquartered in Washington, DC, USA and in Cambridge, England, UK. Founded in 1999, Interfolio operates the acclaimed Faculty Information System for colleges and universities, the Researchfish impact assessment platform for funders and research organizations, and the widely used Dossier service for individual scholars. Over 300 clients based in 15 countries choose Interfolio’s technology for hiring and recruitment, academic appointments and timelines, activity data reporting, faculty reviews and promotions, and research impact analysis. Interfolio provides scholar-first products for the full academic lifecycle—from job seeking to professional accomplishments, committee service, funding award compliance, career growth and advancement, administrative leadership, and beyond. For more information about Interfolio, please contact team@interfolio.com.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, many college and university administrators have recognized that they can no longer delay the digital transformation of their institutions. Not only did these administrators have to move instruction online, but they must now also make administrative processes mobile and digital — including faculty recruitment and hiring.

The advantages of using a modern, digital faculty recruitment platform were the focus of a recent webinar Interfolio hosted with guests from two partner institutions, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Long before the pandemic began, these two institutions had fortuitously made the switch to Interfolio Faculty Search, a digital platform that covers the entire academic recruitment process — from creating a job board to facilitating committee review and decision-making. 

During the webinar, the representatives from UT and KAUST highlighted three principal advantages of the platform. Their remarks also made clear that, even when in-person interviews and committee meetings again become possible, these advantages of Faculty Search will persist.

1. Faculty Search’s ease of use promotes adoption and consistency while reducing administrative burdens

Webinar guest Ebtisam Bakhsh, the Faculty Affairs Administrator at KAUST, said that KAUST faculty members quickly embraced Faculty Search because it was so easy to use: 

“Getting faculty to use a new system is not the easiest task. But when we initially rolled out Interfolio as a faculty recruitment tool, I had a faculty member come up to me and ask, ‘Oh, can I use this to post my postdoc positions?’ And that was really great to see that they were so comfortable and wanted to roll it out to wider objectives,” Bakhsh said.

Interfolio’s other webinar guest, Henry Tijerina III, a Digital Project Manager at UT, sees consistency as one of the main advantages of modernizing the hiring process. “Because UT uses Faculty Search for posting positions, we get a consistent title, description, and qualifications, and the position is tagged with the correct department, college, and school. UT is a giant institution, so it’s good to be able to have those required fields to standardize the data.” Of course, standardized data also supports data analysis and reporting.

Institutions are also able to save time, Bakhsh said, because of the platform’s Application Program Interfaces (APIs), which enable connectivity with other programs and sites. Bakhsh elaborated, “We use APIs to push open faculty positions to recruitment tools and websites. What really works well for us is that we only have to update in one place, and the changes are reflected on all sites instantly.”

Tijerina also described how the platform makes administrative work easier and more efficient. With their earlier paper system, he said, correlating all the diversity data was a labor-intensive process. Now, it only takes the push of a button to see Equal Employment Opportunity and diversity data.  

Bakhsh made a similar remark: “In our previous system, it would take us days to pull a report to answer questions like — did we have any applicants from China this year? — but now our super admins can do that easily, just within a few clicks.”

Get an overview of how peers are improving their faculty recruitment in our recent white paper, The Modern Faculty Recruitment Playbook.

2. Faculty Search supports diversity efforts

As the above remarks suggest, Faculty Search has reporting tools that enable quick analysis of diversity data. Faculty diversity, of course, is an important goal at many institutions, but a recent study shows very little progress on this front in higher education. One practice that will help address this gap between faculty diversity aspirations and outcomes is collecting and analyzing faculty recruitment diversity data to assess progress.

Faculty Search helps institutions do just that. For example, Tijerina noted that the platform enables UT to compare its current faculty diversity to the diversity of the search group to assess whether UT is successfully attracting a more diverse pool. With this information, UT then adjusts its national recruitment spending to better support its diversity goals.

At KAUST, departments create forms within Faculty Search that capture diversity data to help the institution measure its progress in increasing diversity.

Efforts like these — and other best practices — are a critical step in improving faculty diversity.

3. Faculty Search enables data-driven decision-making and insights

Of course, collecting and analyzing data helps with more than just diversity efforts. Collecting data also enables administrators to assess their overall faculty hiring process.

For example, the data that Faculty Search collects helps KAUST officials, including Bakhsh, determine whether their marketing efforts are succeeding in attracting the best candidates. 

Similarly, data collection and reporting capabilities within Faculty Search help UT evaluate their faculty recruitment efforts:

“Having everything in one system allows us to gain insights and see trends year over year. For example: How many positions are reposting? Are applications remaining steady or growing, or did they fall? What does our successful candidate look like? Where did they come from? How did they get to the job? These are all things we can pull out of the system really easily,” Tijerina said. This data analysis also helps UT focus their advertising expenditures and make effective marketing investments.

Faculty recruiting

How did two research universities increase efficiency, diversity, and accountability with streamlined faculty hiring?

Tijerina added that Faculty Search’s APIs enable data from other programs to be mixed into the analysis, creating a fuller overall picture of their faculty recruitment efforts. For example, UT can look at search data from the Algolia program that UT added to Faculty Search. With this Algolia data combined with the Faculty Search data, UT can see whether candidates are searching for positions that don’t yet exist. This information can suggest potential new opportunities that UT might want to create. 

Bonus advantage: Faculty Search makes a strong impression with prospective faculty

Although the webinar guests focused on the above three advantages of adopting Interfolio’s digital platform for faculty hiring, one additional advantage Tijerina emphasized is worth mentioning:

Faculty Search enables a customizable, branded job board and recruitment experience that puts your institution’s best foot forward to potential recruits. 

As Tijerina explained, UT’s old jobs page wasn’t very welcoming. In response, UT switched to Interfolio because they wanted a new web presence that “highlighted our faculty, our research stories, why should you work at UT, and really elevated the brand of UT.”

If you’re interested in elevating your own institution’s brand and modernizing your faculty recruitment process with a COVID-proof digital platform, you can read more about Faculty Search here and request a demo.

You can also listen to our webinar on How Two Institutions Modernized Faculty Hiring by going to this page.

Institutions of all sizes are interested in streamlining their faculty recruitment processes in order to save time, improve their equity practices, and attract high-quality candidates. A holistic faculty recruitment tool provides a centralized platform that encourages seamless collaboration and transparency across departments and hiring committees.

Factors to consider in faculty hiring

There are plenty of nuances in recruiting and hiring practices of faculty and staff. While certain pieces of information — the CV, cover letter and letters of recommendation — offer helpful insight into candidates’ skills and experiences, these documents aren’t enough on their own. Traditional hiring tools leave out other, multi-dimensional factors that impact the big picture. Some key attributes to consider in the higher education hiring process include:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Accomplishments
  • Diversity

Addressing diversity in applicants

One significant shortcoming of traditional hiring software is the difficulty in tracking relevant pieces of information regarding faculty demographics. Traditional faculty recruitment technology gives a snapshot into different candidates’ experience levels, but does not target characteristics that might not typically appear on their CVs.

As an example, many institutions overlook applicant diversity. It’s not that they are intentionally avoiding diverse staff and faculty applicants. In fact, it’s often quite the contrary. Many universities measure recruiting data related to diversity and find that there is a disparity in the percentage of diverse applicants applying for roles and the amount of candidates being called for interviews and receiving offers. They then seek out best practices for recruiting and working with diverse candidates. Some characteristics they might look out for in candidates include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender identity
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Age

Interfolio Faculty Search addresses various disparities in faculty hiring to provide equitable opportunities for all prospects and candidates. Our solution provides transparency in applicants’ talents and diversity. In addition, our built-in equal employment opportunity (EEO) forms and reports ensure near 100% compliance regarding diversity data during every step of the recruitment process. This provides an overall more insightful process for hiring professionals and a more equitable experience for diverse candidates seeking faculty and staff positions.

Standardizing candidate criteria

The hiring process requires input from multiple parties, from department heads and administrators to human resources professionals. With so many moving parts and invested parties, it’s essential that institutions empower their staff to collaborate and communicate with consistency. One such way to develop a more holistic approach to faculty recruitment is through the standardization of processes.

A decentralized approach to candidate recruiting and hiring makes it difficult to observe and track hiring data. By switching to a system in which hiring, onboarding, and interviewing materials are readily available to all faculty members, institutions are able to standardize their approaches. In turn, the recruitment process becomes more responsive and produces better results.

Interfolio Faculty Search empowers deans and administrators to standardize criteria, job postings, and messages to candidates to develop and foster an equitable recruiting process across the institution. They can ensure job posting language is consistent, all while tracking when and where jobs are being posted. With one tried-and-true approach to hiring, human resources professionals can make sure they are attracting the best talent. In addition, standardization solidifies the notion that candidates are given equal opportunity at the university.

Streamlining recruitment processes to save time

Staff can save time during recruiting by digitizing formerly manual processes. Most broadly, this refers to the collection, organization, and distribution of applications. Rather than posting each job individually on the institution’s career site,  several openings can be shared at once, all with standardized language. This reduces time spent on tedious, administrative tasks and allows hiring faculty to focus on more strategic tasks. For example, rather than utilizing the time they have allocated for recruitment to writing and uploading job descriptions, they can take a more active role in seeking out qualified candidates.

When you’re ready to streamline your hiring processes and improve equity in recruiting for faculty positions, you may be ready to integrate your system with Interfolio’s Faculty Search solutions. This centralized platform provides hiring managers with more insight throughout the recruitment process. If you’d like to find out more about how Interfolio can provide you with a more equitable experience for faculty members and applicants, check out our selection of resources.

In 2014, Dr. Jeffery Aper became Provost at Millikin University and led the school through a transitional period regarding its partnership with Interfolio’s solution for supporting faculty hiring processes. Transitional, in part, because since 2013, Millikin adopted Interfolio’s Faculty Search platform, then decided to build a homegrown system due to internal budget constraints, and then went back to Interfolio.

Dr. Aper agreed to sit down and tell us about his leadership role and his experiences using the system. Take a look at what Provost Aper had to say!

Tell us about Millikin’s relationship with Interfolio and how it has transitioned from on, off, and on again.

Millikin University first adopted Interfolio’s Faculty Search in 2013 to support management of their faculty and staff hiring processes. In 2015, the end of my first year, Millikin decided to drop Interfolio’s platform due to budgetary reasons. A team at Millikin had been working with our IT staff and developed a homegrown faculty hiring platform used for receiving application materials and storing them on a shared drive to support an internal process. However, the in-house system did not meet our needs. People couldn’t access it. It just didn’t work. It didn’t make us more efficient.  

During the period when we we tried using our in-house system, the comments we received included: “Why did we drop Interfolio?” “Can we go back to Interfolio?” And I had department chairs and deans imploring me to do what I could to get the university into the use of the Interfolio system.

So I pressed the case that as soon as possible we needed to re-up with Interfolio because the product had worked well for us in the past. Thankfully everyone on campus agreed, so we were able to re-adopt Interfolio and use it to run our hiring searches again.  

Were you familiar with Interfolio’s faculty hiring platform before taking the provost’s position at Millikin?

I had been familiar with Interfolio’s Faculty Search, but only at the individual level, having submitted letters of reference for candidates seeking positions at other institutions. It was not until arriving at Millikin that I experienced Interfolio from the institution’s perspective.  

What were your first impressions with Interfolio’s platform from the institution’s perspective?

I was very pleased. This was such a vastly better approach to hiring than the traditional method of keeping all kinds of paper files, trying to maintain the security of those files, and trying to make sure members of the search committee had access to the documents while trying to maintain the confidentiality of those materials. The solution gave us so many better options for managing those processes.

Have you used the system in workflows other than faculty hiring?

Yes, we use Faculty Search for faculty and staff hiring processes, and for faculty honors and awards given by the University. Using the solution for these internal applications has been very valuable.

I ran a search for a new dean two years ago. We used Interfolio extensively for receiving and warehousing materials and allowing committees to access materials in a confidential way. The system was a real value to us because it made it so much easier to keep track of the appropriate records, make sure those records were maintained in a secure way, and give the committee access.

Similarly for staff positions, we use Interfolio for even administrative assistant searches because it helped us be more efficient and effective in maintaining those records and making sure we’ve got all the documents assembled.

We were able to set up an internal application process for faculty awards, honors, and professional development opportunities. For example, we’ve got eight endowed professorships that rotate among faculty members who qualify for the awards. All of those involve the submission of a significant amount of background materials. We used to be handing boxes of paper to committees and the committee was supposed to keep it secure. We were trying to make sure confidential materials did not end up left on tables in conference rooms.  

Using Interfolio has been an immense improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of those review processes—allowing us to set up an online format to submit their materials for all of these competitive processes. Using Interfolio has benefited us significantly. I am definitely a fan.

What about Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data?

That’s information we will keep track of no matter what system we’re using, so it’s a benefit to have a system to assemble those kinds of data. Any time you’ve got an automated system collect a consistent record of your activities, instead of having an individual in the HR office compile a report, there’s a benefit.  Faculty and staff time is a precious commodity. Anything we can do to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of collecting, managing, and reporting data is beneficial for us.

What problems were you seeking to solve in deciding to select Interfolio’s Faculty Search?

I’ve overseen scores of faculty searches over the years as the commissioning officer. Having done that many, many times, the chronic challenges to make sure you have a very accurate systematic way of receiving materials, compiling and maintaining those materials, and making them available to committees—but also maintaining their confidentiality and securities—are constant headaches with paper systems. The Interfolio application, in many ways, solves the headaches in those processes, and to me that’s just golden.

Are faculty buying in to the system?  

In the last four years, we’ve used Interfolio as a basis for maintaining our records on searches. We’ve done at least 25 to 30 searches involving many committee members and have not received one complaint, and that’s quite a statement in itself.

Faculty members are not reticent about sharing their opinions about what works and what doesn’t work. I haven’t had a single faculty member say, “Well, I like using Interfolio… but we should have done this”;  “I wish we could use something different”; “I wish we could go back to the paper method.” Not once. And we’ve run a lot of searches.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us?

Faculty Search has worked very well for us. This is one of those things where you could go around campus and talk with faculty, staff, and administrators who’ve used the system, and I don’t think you would get a single negative comment—and that’s saying something.

***

Is there room for improvement in faculty recruitment at your institution? Interested to see a demo of the faculty-friendly Interfolio hiring platform? We’re happy to help. Contact us today with the form below.


Ready for your Faculty Information System?

Contact us today to understand how Interfolio’s scholar-centric technology addresses the needs of higher education and research funders. 

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The University of Florida will launch Interfolio’s faculty hiring module, Faculty Search, at the beginning of this academic year to support the university’s “Faculty 500” initiative to hire 500 new faculty members over two years—200 of those by this fall. Two leaders from UF’s Human Resources office, Melissa Curry, Director of Recruitment and Staffing, and Kathy McKee, Manager of Strategic Talent Group, joined us recently for a webinar addressing UF’s distinctive faculty hiring strategies and about the role Interfolio will play. 

Many leading institutions use Interfolio for faculty hiring alongside common HR and ERP systems—some even integrating them together. Curious how we could help you streamline faculty hiring? Let us know today.

Challenges involved in an institution-wide hiring initiative

The commitments involved in the Faculty 500 initiative posed significant logistical challenges for all involved in faculty hiring at UF—not least the HR office. Competition for top faculty members was fierce. No new administrative resources would be allocated, and UF’s HR office had a very short time period before hiring processes would begin. In addition, hiring faculty takes place in a decentralized environment, and within a culture of shared governance and search committees—all factors that tend to lengthen the hiring process.

Responding with a strategic recruitment model

In response to the challenging landscape, UF made a commitment to transition from their traditional faculty hiring approach to a more strategic recruitment model. Fundamental to the change was the realization that faculty hiring was simply a unique process, different from hiring staff, administrators, and other personnel. As Melissa and Kathy present in thoughtful detail in the webinar, the new approach would require new commitments, processes, and technologies. It took the form of a plan with five distinct elements, or stages. (Find Melissa and Kathy’s prepared presentation on those stages in the webinar recording.)

Q&A highlights

In addition to Melissa and Kathy’s great detailed presentation about their faculty recruitment strategy as a whole, we posed a few questions about how the institution’s transition to Interfolio fits in.

Please note: These responses have been edited slightly for clarity and length. 

Question 1:  Did you have any technology you were already using for faculty hiring?

For us, the issue with most applicant tracking systems is they are designed for companies and not designed for institutions of higher education that have a shared governance model. We even find that difference between faculty and public employers because the shared governance model is so different at institutions of higher education. Even though our regular applicant tracking system faculty could post online, which was definitely was easier than the paper process, there was an administrative burden because applicant tracking systems are developed for private companies, which generally are very centralized and do not have shared governance.

One of the things that attracted us to Interfolio was the platform was developed for institutions of higher education with faculty search, search committees, and shared governance in mind. We didn’t really find that anywhere else. The ease for the search committee, from an electronic process that looks and acts like the paper process they’re used to, was very attractive.

We had an electronic system but most committees were printing the submitted 200 CVs (which totaled hundreds of thousands of pages) so even though it was an electronic system applications were not easy to read online.

Question 2:  What aspects of the faculty hiring experience specifically merited adopting a better technology for it?

We didn’t have in mind that we needed a new system or an additional system. But what we were hearing was there were specific pain points. When Interfolio came to our attention, we started asking questions.

The ads postings actually look different for faculty positions versus staff positions. Allowing them greater flexibility in how they would appear and how they would be seen online was something Interfolio offered that our current system didn’t have. The whole interactivity: allowing blind review, and allowing search committees and evaluators to make comments on applicant packets (similar to what they might do on written materials)—these were the things our current system doesn’t allow, so those were very important.

Many of our departments were having this issue, which was raised by deans, of collecting reference letters. In the traditional module, you have people submitting for faculty positions, then the department requests from the applicant to have the referee submit their letters directly to the hiring department. Our existing applicant tracking system ended up shifting that traditional burden to the hiring departments, so they were sending notices out to the referees. Then, there could be communication glitches, which created these circles with respect to recommendation letters. With [Interfolio’s], the fact that applicants and referees are familiar with the dossier service and it’s integrated with Faculty Search, that was a great assist for us that came as a part of what Interfolio is.

Interfolio also presents an opportunity to use a tool that seems very straightforward, that on its face is similar to what they were doing traditionally in the academy, and not making them adopt different types of behavior because they’re using an electronic system.

Question 3:  What impact do you predict the new academic hiring experience will have on UF’s ability to meet its goals?

For us, the immediate goal that we think Interfolio is going to help with is hiring of an additional 300 new faculty members in the next 12 months. Some of the things we’re looking for from Interfolio are things like ease of use for search committee members. These faculty members are changing the world—what they do matters. We have some of the best and brightest faculty members in the world, and we want them to do that, and not be burdened with administrative tasks just because they want to participate in the search committee to hire a colleague. And we believe Interfolio will help them quickly participate and give meaningful feedback to hiring the best and the brightest, and then to go back to their business of changing the world.

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Starting today, we took the first step in an expansion of the Interfolio Faculty Search module to accommodate more complex administrative workflows around academic hiring. We’re starting with “position approval,” broadly understood: what has to happen before you accept any applications.

Today’s release

Taking our cue largely from our direct market research—including interviews with people directly involved in academic hiring at institutions located in California, Washington, New York, Louisiana, Texas, and elsewhere—we are seeking to address some known, widely reported difficulties around faculty hiring and academic recruitment in higher education.

In this first release, we added a set of functionality to support “position approval” workflows. Essentially, the development work released today makes the official approval process around future academic hires (i.e. the “paperwork”) more efficient and consistent, and better documented.

But, wait. Why is position approval oversight a big deal? Aren’t we basically talking about red tape?

Bureaucracy and equity: why effective oversight of new positions makes a difference

From talking to lots of experienced people directly involved in faculty hiring in higher education—some of them with a faculty background, some without—it’s become clear that we must consider these pre-recruitment “approval” processes from the perspective of what happens when there is not enough oversight.

Clearly, having a formal review process that runs a proposed new search or hire past multiple sets of eyes is a key way that colleges and universities ensure the integrity of their faculty hiring.

There may be business and legal compliance reasons why certain offices at the institution need to at least be notified of—if not sign off on—a new hire. But more generally, when opening new faculty searches is too much of a “Wild West” in terms of decentralization, a number of pitfalls are possible:

  • Oddly enough, only white male candidates keep getting hired!
  • Actual violation of anti-discrimination law, such as inappropriate qualifiers in written description.
  • The institution or academic unit can’t really afford this particular hire at this time.
  • At a higher level, if the right people don’t have consistent view into proposed new positions, the institution may continue to make an excessive investment in certain departments or disciplines, and neglect development of others.
  • Also, fraud.

It’s considerations like these—which we’ve heard from our product research, to conversations with clients more informally, and even in new sales conversations—that provide the context for our technical investment in a more useful feature for position approval workflows.

Future investments in academic hiring workflows

In the near future, we’re going to have a lot more to say about our plans to expand the potential for shared governance and administrative workflows in the Faculty Information System’s hiring module, Interfolio Faculty Search.

One thing we can say, now, is that we’re making sure to design these “process improvement” expansions (a priority, clearly) in a way that will also serve future data reporting well. Our academic hiring workflow investments will enrich the Faculty Information System’s capacity to provide client universities with new kinds of factual insight into their academic hiring patterns—insights they have not had available before.

This is one post in a series on contemporary strategies for increasing faculty diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education. For a fuller picture, take a look at our free best practices checklist.

At schools that have been successful in improving diverse representation of faculty members during the recruitment stage, where do diversity officers focus their attention?

Administrators with ownership for faculty diversity face a common challenge: how to actually view accurate institutional data that would reveal patterns in what  is working and what isn’t.

There are a few key data points that the most progressive colleges and universities analyze annually, comparing them to trends across recent years:

  • Applicant pool diversity
  • The diversity of interview pools and diversity of candidates receiving offers—and how those compare to applicant pool diversity
  • How the offer acceptance rate for candidates from underrepresented groups correlates with the diversity of new hires

Having access to uniform and complete data for all faculty searches in all departments allows senior academic affairs leaders who are responsible for advancing faculty diversity to surface trends spanning the institution, set the most effective strategies, and direct scarce resources to the avenues with the greatest potential to impact change.

How does your institution compare?

To see how your school’s current practices lines up with contemporary leading strategies for advancing faculty diversity and inclusive excellence, take a look at our free best practices checklist.