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.

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.

If you’re thinking of switching to a digital platform for managing faculty journeys and/or review, promotion, and tenure processes at your institution, the time to act is now.

With the next semester always just around the corner, institutions can benefit from making their academic technology decisions sooner rather than later. Many institutions’ main faculty review cycles begin in the fall, so it is wise to plan ahead now to have faculty comfortable with a new platform well before the deadlines.

To help institutions formulate their plan for seamlessly implementing new platforms, Interfolio experts shared change management tips during a recent webinar — Planning for New Faculty Technology: Change Management and Best Practices.

Of course, institutions could instead decide, halfway into the year, to introduce a major new platform and then scramble to implement it in a short amount of time. Sound familiar?

But we’re guessing that, after the recent year(s), most institutions would welcome a more deliberate and less frenetic roll-out of new technology.

So, as all of us look forward to future semesters, here are some tips and a timeline for implementing Interfolio’s Faculty Lifecycle and/or Review, Promotion & Tenure modules:

1. Follow a structured implementation process

Institutions should follow these four steps in implementing new platforms:

  1. Plan how to manage the change to the new platform. 
  2. Inform stakeholders of the planned changes and the advantages of the new platform, obtaining their buy-in.
  3. Train the trainers, who then train members of their department or school.
  4. Deploy the technology platform and establish a group to support faculty and administrators and to maximize the platform’s value and uses.

Each of these four steps, of course, involves additional considerations that the webinar covered in detail. But Interfolio Project Manager Josh Gianitsis emphasized one particular strategy for Step 2 that is critical if your institution is to have a successful roll-out:

2. Introduce stakeholders to the change early on 

The most important step in managing the change to new faculty technology, Josh explained, is introducing the various stakeholders to the planned change at the outset of implementing the change.

In doing so, the institution should explain how the new system will work and the positive impact it will have. Helping faculty and other stakeholders envision this positive future state will make it easier for them to accept the challenges of learning a new system.

3. Focus on winning over change agents and pragmatists

In any given population that is facing change, 20 percent of the people will embrace change (these are the change agents), 50 percent are pragmatists who will adopt a wait-and-see stance, and 30 percent will resist change.

“You want to target a lot of your communication and efforts on the change agents and pragmatists,” Josh advised. “Because at the end of that, you’re going to have 70% of your stakeholder population happy with the change. And that 70% voice can really break down the resistance of the last 30%, helping push that group to engage with the system and the new process.”

For other best practices relating to communicating with different stakeholders, including the key questions you should be prepared to answer, you can listen to the webinar here.

4. Approach training as an ongoing process

Although there is an initial phase of training for all new users of a platform, institutions should develop a program for ongoing training.

“Training is not a one and done,” Josh said. “You always want to think about who you need to train, how to train that specific group, and when you need to train them.”

For example, new staff that come on board after the technology has been implemented will have to be trained on the platform. Likewise, when the platform adds a new feature, it would be beneficial to provide additional training to the community of users.

In addition to the training support your institution offers, Interfolio provides a number of resources to support and train end users, including help desk support, on-demand videos and training webinars, and Interfolio University.

5. Create a governance team to maximize the value of your investment

Even after you’ve successfully implemented new platforms, you should establish a governance committee that reviews feedback on the technology, addresses any usability or training issues, and explores potential new uses of the platform.

Committee members could include staff from faculty affairs, a software administrator, and representatives from different schools or departments. The governance committee could also evaluate new product features and coordinate with Interfolio on product updates. 

A timeline for implementing Interfolio Lifecycle Management and Review, Promotion & Tenure

If institutions begin in January, they can successfully manage the implementation of at least two Interfolio modules during the Spring and Fall semesters.

If you’re interested in planning ahead and setting your institution up for a successful, carefully choreographed platform roll-out this year, contact us so we can begin planning and collaborating.

We also invite you to watch the full webinar, which includes additional tips for successfully managing technology change, a demonstration of Interfolio’s Lifecycle Management and Review, Promotion & Tenure modules, and discussion of how these modules can integrate with other systems. In addition, we present more suggestions about change management in our Managing Change When Implementing Faculty Technology white paper and in our Change Management Guide.

Or: Why we built the first digital faculty roster to provide transformational transparency into all scholarly tracks, ranks, milestones, and journeys

Exciting news! This week we launched our newest product in the Interfolio Faculty Information System: Lifecycle Management. It’s a culmination of over a year of research and development with academic leaders; as such, it’s the first new module built from the experiences, feedback, and contributions of our Faculty Information System community. 

What we’re releasing today will offer transformational transparency into vital information about the faculty body. What previously lived in disparate spreadsheets across campus is now a single, simple-to-navigate, searchable database of all of the commitments, workload, career milestones, and academic journeys of the entire faculty. Lifecycle Management translates all of the institution’s complex policies on academic employment models, position types, and advancement pathways into a digital and visual format, so university faculty and administrators can build trust, transparency, and clear communication about expectations and exceptions to academic advancement

When we speak to academic leaders—Provosts, Vice Provosts and Directors of Faculty Affairs—we often hear about the challenges of managing an increasingly complex academic workforce across a range of units on campus. Scholars in higher education today don’t fall into a single category: they might be tenure-track or tenured, but they are just as likely to be part- or full-time adjuncts, lecturers, clinical faculty, or any other pathway that comprise the diverse spectrum of academic contributions on campus. Yet all of these individuals have a distinct journey that represents their lifecycle at the institution, and all deserve to be represented as part of the faculty body—whether for a single semester or over an entire career. 

In the course of our research we observed an almost universal challenge around consolidating, managing, and reporting on various faculty ranks and advancement sequences in a way that would foster equity and transparency in academic careers. Again and again, we heard from academic leaders: where can we view the current status, rank and future pathways of the faculty body? How can we anticipate resourcing or plan for faculty promotions, retirements, sabbaticals, and other milestones to facilitate long term planning at the institution, unit, or department level? Where do we find details about the academic commitments that were made when a hiring offer was made—and make sure those commitments are followed up on? How do those in academic offices see, securely, the information that lives partly in HR, partly in a spreadsheet, and partly in the margins of notes made at the time of hire? Lifecycle Management answers these questions by providing a way to safely and securely surface vital information about academic career lifecycles to university leaders. 

As a technology company that prides itself on leading the field in faculty-first technology, it was vital that we continue to innovate our roadmap to deliver platform solutions to large challenges that we hear from our market. At the same time, we know that our current clients want to see investments that continue to expand the product suite to bring more value to their institutions. The majority of initiatives in 2019 were dedicated to the continued improvement of an institution’s experience of our existing platform—and the addition of Lifecycle Management will continue this path by adding a level of administrative transparency, access, and trust to the process of academic advancement and management on your campus. 

Please join us for a free webinar and Q&A about the new Interfolio Lifecycle Management product on Thursday, December 5, 2019.