Recently we ran a free webinar with James T. (Jim) Oris, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Miami University in Ohio, about the university’s ongoing use of Interfolio Faculty180 for faculty activity reporting. We thought we would share some of his great observations about Miami’s process and experience.

In the webinar, Jim presents the successful selection and implementation process that Miami went through to adopt Interfolio Faculty180, as well as the benefits they estimate the system has already brought and will bring in the future, and discusses ongoing expansion of its adoption across campus. (Also, the webinar includes a brief live demo of the platform from Interfolio’s David Godow, Product Manager for the Faculty180 module.)

Articulating the need

First, the Miami team identified the actual challenges they were facing. Having no system for comprehensive and coordinated faculty activity data storage or access, even seemingly simple factual questions about the activity of scholars at the institution proved laborious to answer. They knew they needed a solution that would support the school’s academic program reviews, routine moments of faculty evaluation (such as annual reviews), grant applications, showcasing of faculty expertise in external-facing outlets, and more.

They envisioned a system that would support a wide variety of common “outputs,” such as:

  • CVs, biosketches, resumes
  • Individual web pages
  • Annual activity reports
  • Program reviews and departmental reports
  • Program accreditation reports
  • Program web sites
  • Divisional reviews and reports
  • University reviews and reports
  • University accreditation reports
  • Library repositories and resources
  • University directories
  • Expertise databases
  • Outreach and external relations to business and government

Deciding how to decide

As a major step, the Miami team defined the institution’s needs and objectives via a rigorous planning process—establishing a few principles to guide the selection, implementation, and use of whatever system they finally adopted.

Key among those:

  • Put faculty first by evaluating every decision for its impact on the faculty’s experience.  The success of the project was positively related to the degree faculty members benefited from the new solution.  During planning, implementation, and ongoing, Miami focused heavily on reducing the friction and redundancy of data collection and on increasing the usability of data collected to support both institutional and uses for individual faculty members.
  • Establish broad institutional representation by assuring all academic units and other affected areas (like the library and IT) were represented during planning, implementation, and post-launch.
  • Save time by easing the burden of data collection through integrations with other systems and databases (e.g., HR and SIS systems, bibliographic databases, grants systems).
  • Enter data once, use many times by establishing a central “faculty data hub” so information can be entered once and reused over and over to support the variety of output needs (e.g., annual review CVs, promotion/tenure dossiers, accreditation reporting, program review reports).
  • Reduce cost, increase efficiency through changes that will produce cost savings, cost avoidance, or productivity enhancements.  Based on internal surveys about existing workloads, Jim and the team estimated the institution would see:
    • An 83% improvement in productivity for activity-based reporting
    • A 33% reduction in the time needed to complete annual activity reports
    • 50% reduction in the number of people involved in departmental and divisional reports

Getting up and running

After defining system requirements and establishing a business case, the university selected Faculty180.  Thereafter, the major implementation milestones included:

  • Establishing an implementation team
  • Configuring input templates
  • Completing data input/output integrations
  • Creating communication and training plans
  • Establishing a super-user group
  • Piloting data entry with selected faculty
  • Activating with the remainder of the faculty
  • Providing training for faculty and staff

Lessons learned

Finally, after the implementation process was complete and Faculty180 was up and running at the institution, Jim says they took a few lessons away:

  • Work together by making sure owners of the process are heavily involved in all phases.  The major owner groups at Miami included faculty, representatives from academic units, and key members of support areas (e.g., library and IT staffs).
  • Show benefit to all owners by demonstrating tangible value for participants and supporters, and especially for faculty who are critical for entering data.
  • Get buy-in by making sure those relied upon for the success of the system are willing to change.  At Miami this included their focus on faculty members and administrators at all organization levels (departments, colleges, and the university).

Interested in this webinar or in Interfolio’s work? Watch it here, or contact us with a question.

On November 29, we’ve got a free webinar and Q&A featuring a successful faculty activity reporting client. If you work directly with institutional research, faculty affairs, or activity reporting—and you wish it were easier—you might be interested in this.

The webinar will tell the story of how Miami University, a public research university in Ohio, has brought their annual faculty activity reporting online using Interfolio Faculty180. We’ll get a live, prepared presentation by James T. (Jim) Oris, Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate School and University Distinguished Professor at Miami. Our product director for the faculty activity reporting module will give a brief tour of the technology, and we’ll reserve time for Q&A. Bring your questions!

Miami actually adopted the Faculty180 online platform when it was operated by Data180, prior to the company’s January 2017 acquisition by Interfolio. Since then, they’re still happy—and they’ve kept up the momentum, continuing to make faculty data management as a whole (input and output) easier and more accurate. And they’re continuing to roll it out to new users and administrative units on campus.

As Jim will talk about, they went through a process on campus where key stakeholders identified the most essential traits that they needed in an online faculty activity reporting platform. He’ll take us through aspects like:

  • Who was involved in the decision
  • The timeline from its beginning to today
  • How they evaluated different commercially available options

Not surprising (to us, at least): in the committee’s estimation, the faculty experience was practically the highest priority.

And what has the outcome been? You’ll have to come to the webinar for the full story, but, as Jim will report, Miami’s current estimate is that they have made annual faculty activity reporting processes 80% more productive with this online approach.

In addition, Jim represents Miami as a member of Interfolio’s Product Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC is a group of established leaders in faculty affairs and academic technology at some of our client institutions. They work with us in various ways throughout the year to directly inform our technology roadmap and influence the future of faculty technology.

If you’re interested in this free webinar and Q&A, you can register to attend here.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.


The impact of research has traditionally been measured by metrics, such as journal impact factors and the times cited; however, the evolution of technology and social media has fostered the growth of alternative metrics (called altmetrics) to provide new research metrics that complement traditional metrics.

While alternative measures are still in their early stages, they are becoming a significant part of the scholarly culture by measuring the attention given to scholarly activities in social media posts, news coverage, blog posts, and other online sources. These new metrics provide a repository of data that shows who has mentioned an article or a dataset, and what participants have said about it.

In a 2014 article in Ariadne (Issue 72), entitled Realising the Potential of Altmetrics within Institutions, authors Jean Liu and Euan Adie discuss the growing use of altmetrics and their potential to positively impact universities.

Following are five of the top ways altmetrics are impacting institutions of higher learning.

Altmetrics can be…

  1. Embedded in electronic CVs to support a faculty members’ funding applications and promotion and tenure evaluations.
  2. Clustered at institutional and subunit levels (e.g., academic disciplines) for evaluation and comparison.
  3. Collected by institutions to showcase faculty accomplishments to prospective students, prospective faculty, the community, other universities, and the press.
  4. Accumulated for individuals, allowing researcher-level metrics to be evaluated, as opposed to article-level and journal-level metrics. As a result, institutions can track the impacts of the work of individual faculty members.
  5. Used with filtering tools for discovering new scholarly content that support teaching and learning.

See the full article at


Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.


Databases used at colleges and universities are just as susceptible to attacks, by both outsiders and insiders, as large corporations. In fact, 80 percent of all database breaches originate from insiders. Because of the large number of students and administrators using technology, the typical institution faces significant challenges when it comes to data privacy and security.

Following are some best practices for securing data in your campus systems to reduce the possibility of attacks:

  • Keep your operating system up to date. Do not run older versions of operating systems if the software manufacturer is no longer supporting them. Using older versions could make your data more susceptible to a breach, especially because security patches would no longer be available. In addition, other necessary software applications, such as anti-virus software, may not be compatible with older operating systems.
  • Educate users on security. All users should be trained and made aware of how to avoid phishing attacks, such as creating strong passwords, opening questionable e-mail messages, and clicking suspicious links in e-mail messages and web browsers. Do not wait until a security breach occurs to educate users – by then, it is too late. Your campus IT department should create training materials and have required training programs that are systematic and timely.
  • Use a centralized approach for creating secure data environments. Typically, an institution’s IT department is responsible for managing open data environments, while at the same time keeping private information secure. Many colleges and universities try to decentralize IT policies and procedures, thinking this will make the responsibility of securing data easier to manage. However, decentralizing control can be challenging given that so many different databases are being used on campuses these days. Having a central secure data environment will help prevent data from being stolen and monetized.
  • Restrict access to campus databases. Instituting tight controls over data can help maximize your institution’s data security strategy. Not every user needs access to all data, so restricting which users have access to specific information will greatly reduce the risk of a security breach. Continuously monitoring and keeping systems up-to-date with personnel changes is also vital, as this will alert the IT department to any suspicious activity that may be taking place.
  • Automate system activities. Many security processes can be automated, including report generation and routine tasks that need to be performed on a regular basis. Automation saves IT personnel valuable time to work on other projects, while still maintaining campus databases around the clock.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.


Colleges and universities are helping faculty and administrators make their work lives easier and more productive by adopting online IT solutions for managing faculty data. These solutions allow information typically found in faculty CVs (e.g. credentials; teaching, research, and service activities) to be collected faster and easier, while providing unsurpassed flexibility in reporting to support internal and external stakeholders.

Following are some of the top benefits of data collection and data use provided by online faculty activity solutions:

Benefits of Data Collection

  • Faculty data can be collected in one location. Multiple information sources can be merged into one “faculty data hub.” Examples of data typically imported or entered include HR data, bibliographic citations, grants data, course evaluation results, and data entered by faculty and administrators.
  • Faculty members enter their data just once. Institutional data requests can be satisfied without making multiple (and redundant) data requests from faculty members, leaving them more time to focus on value-added activities, including teaching, research, and service.
  • Data can be collected for multiple-use output. Because online systems allow faculty data to be collected in parsed data fields (e.g. a journal article being broken into author first name, author last name, journal title, review type, etc.), schools have more flexibility in ways the data can be reported. This level of flexibility is not available to users when the same data is collected in word processing software or in a PDF file.

Benefits of Data Use

  • Data can be repurposed and reported for multiple users. Because of the nature of the data and the way it is collected, online IT solutions can create many types of output from the same data, including CVs, biosketches, accreditation reports, ad hoc reports, and custom reports.
  • Decision support can be enhanced. Because all, or nearly all, faculty data is in one repository, administrators can spend less time hunting and compiling data and more time analyzing and responding to the evidence. In addition, this environment can result in better decisions and better management of faculty resources.
  • Collaboration, networking and outreach are enhanced. Faculty data can be accessed using word search tools within the online faculty application and from outward facing systems (such as websites), to find colleagues with similar or complementary interests and skills. The search features also allow academics at other institutions, as well as government and business entities, to find the expertise they are looking for and to reach out to those individuals.
  • Workflows for faculty performance appraisals. Annual reviews, promotion, tenure, and sabbatical workflows have historically been manual, paper-based processes. With online IT solutions collecting faculty data in one online repository, evaluations can be conducted electronically, saving faculty members time and eliminating logistical and security issues for administrators.
  • Support for the institutional repositories. The data collected in online faculty reporting systems can be pushed to support other databases on campus, such as institutional reporting (usually generated by the institutional research unit on campus) and research and scholarly data repositories, such as DSpace and VIVO.

Because of the technological innovations in this software genre, the use of online IT solutions for managing faculty data have a great deal of promise for academic institutions.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.


Assessing the productivity and success of university faculty members is a difficult, inexact science. Many institutions have traditionally assessed employees’ work in three areas: teaching, research and service. But in an age where the lines between these three areas are often blurred, is there a better way to measure faculty achievement? That was the topic of a panel discussion, entitled “Supporting Student Learning Through Holistic Faculty Evaluation,” at a meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in January.

Colleen Flaherty, a writer for Inside Higher Ed, attended the conference and reported on the ideas presented during the panel session in an article titled “Reassessing Faculty Assessment.” Flaherty’s article relays innovative examples that some institutions have started using to assess faculty productivity.

Jon Kilpenen, dean of the college of arts and sciences and associate professor of geography at Valparaiso University, told session attendees his faculty senate had recently approved a plan that would give members credit for work outside of teaching and allow departments flexibility in handing out courseload and service assignments. This is in contrast to the former assessment model, which required all faculty members to teach a standard 24 credits per year.

“One of the big issues here is to relook at teaching, scholarship and service and the collapsing boundaries between the three,” Kilpenen said in the article. “In a holistic department, someone might pick up more service, and we want to make sure we account for that in the evaluation, as well.”

Flaherty also cites an example David Salomon, associate English professor at Russell Sage College, told the panel. His school recently reworked the the kinds of questions found in student evaluations of faculty teaching.

The evaluations ask students to agree or disagree with statements such as “You put effort into learning the material covered on this course” and “You were challenged to do your best work in this course.” Representatives of the school reworked the teaching evaluation in an effort to focus more on the student’s role in active learning.

The full article from Inside Higher Ed is available here:

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.