How are you currently managing the essential faculty advancement and workflow processes for promotion and tenure? Many institutions are relying on paper-based systems, piecemeal digital solutions, or a stopgap option such as SharePoint, Google Drive, or Box.
If this sounds familiar, join our webinar to hear why you need to consider making a change now so that your institution can achieve its strategic goals and faculty excellence. Plus, our software is chosen by faculty members (and administrative staff) time and time again.
In this live webinar we’ll discuss the following:
How a system for transparent, equitable reviews demonstrates your investment and value of faculty
How Interfolio solves for your unique challenges with its 20 years of expertise working in higher education
What kinds of new information around faculty career development universities have gained by using Interfolio
Why an effective faculty evaluations technology has become a new requirement for modern universities of all sizes that consider diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives paramount to their success
How Interfolio Professional Services can mitigate and alleviate change management challenges
Why should you partner with Interfolio?
Join this live, virtual event to find out how Interfolio has helped administrators, deans, and faculty evaluation committees to save time, be more focused, and stay consistent in decisions. We’ll also explore why they chose Interfolio’s Review, Promotion & Tenure module instead of other vendors or a homegrown system.
Some Interfolio clients with Review, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) on campus include, among many others:
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Arizona
Johns Hopkins University
Texas A & M University-College Station
New York University
Tulane University of Louisiana
“One of the most important factors for success in transitioning from a paper-based RTP process to a digital format is supporting the culture change with a product that is intuitive and user-friendly for faculty candidates, committee members, administrators, and support staff. Because Interfolio is tailored to the needs of faculty and the RTP process and provides superior customer service, we will be able to manage that culture change more easily and realize the benefits of a digital RTP process.”
Natalie Bersig, Director of Faculty Affairs / California State University, Long Beach
Upcoming Webinar: Managing Faculty Promotion and Tenure Online at Smaller Colleges and Universities
Upcoming Webinar: Managing Faculty Promotion and Tenure Online at Smaller Colleges and Universities
How are you currently managing the essential faculty advancement and workflow processes for promotion and tenure? Many institutions are relying on paper-based systems or a stopgap digital solution with SharePoint, Google Drive, or Box.
If this sounds familiar, join our webinar to hear why you need to consider making a change now so that your institution can achieve its strategic goals and faculty excellence.
In this live webinar we’ll discuss the following:
Faculty are at the core of every initiative in higher education: They generate all the revenue, they are the largest component of cost in the form of academic payroll, they are ultimately responsible for student success, moving diversity and inclusion strategies forward, growing reputation and brand, but most notably influencing rank, and governance
How Interfolio solves for your unique challenges with its 20 years of expertise working in higher education
How Interfolio alleviates the administrative burden required to conduct faculty evaluation cases properly and equitably
What kinds of new information and transparency around faculty career development universities have gained by using Interfolio
Why an effective faculty evaluations technology has become a new requirement for modern universities of all sizes
Why should you choose Interfolio as a partner?
Join this live, virtual event to find out how Interfolio has helped administrators, deans, and faculty evaluation committees save time and collaborate efficiently at many of your peer institutions, some of which are listed below. We’ll also explore why they chose Interfolio’s Interfolio Review, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) module over other solutions or homegrown systems.
Today over 400 higher education institutions, research funders, and academic organizations based in 15 countries—and over 700,000 active scholars on the job market—use Interfolio’s technology. We understand the big initiatives and can partner with your institutions and teams of all sizes.
Interfolio clients with at least Review, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) on campus include:
Kentucky State University
Meharry Medical College
Elizabeth City State University
Jacksonville University (Florida)
California Institute of the Arts
“Institutions are presented with a lot of options for software. We did not find any other tool that is so faculty focused, and that has tools so well designed for an academic division, like Interfolio. It’s worked out better than we could have imagined to have a product designed with our needs in mind.”
Erin Walsh, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Administration, Bryn Mawr College
Driving Faculty Affairs Success: Notes from the 2021 Interfolio Summit
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
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.
Online Faculty Evaluation System Improves Review Process for Administrators, Faculty, and Committees Alike
It may be impossible to eliminate all stress from faculty annual and tenure reviews, but that doesn’t mean the review process should be an ordeal.
In fact, when you have the right online system for conducting faculty reviews, the evaluation process can be a pleasure for all parties concerned: faculty, committees, and administrators.
During a recent Interfolio webinar, we heard from guests who shared just how much of a difference the right faculty evaluation platform makes.
From Pained Expressions to Pleasant Convenience
At the University of North Carolina (UNC) Pembroke, the only research their scholars dreaded was reviewing the massive binders for tenure and promotion review.
“The binders were stored in a coffee room down the hall from me, and faculty would have to come up during business hours Monday through Friday and sit in this tiny little room outside my office and pore over these huge binders,” explained Scott Billingsley, the Associate Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNC Pembroke.
“I could just see the pain on their faces every time I walked through there,” he said.
In response to damages to paper records caused by a hurricane, UNC Pembroke switched in 2019 to using the online Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure module for annual reviews, promotions, tenure review, post-tenure review, and faculty awards.
Since then, faculty members, committee members, and administrators have been able to work on reviews anytime and anywhere with an Internet connection, including at home.
“Being able to connect to the review platform anywhere there’s Internet is great for everybody, especially all the reviewers on a committee,” said Aaron Vandermeer, the Interfolio Administrator for UNC Pembroke.
Thanks to the platform, Scott added, committee work is much more efficient and more productive, with committee members able to carry out review tasks from home.
The convenience of an online platform has also made for a lighter load and easier review process at East Stroudsburg University, which also adopted the Interfolio module in 2019.
“Historically, we would put together physical review binders that were extremely thick and hard to handle—we’re talking hundreds of files,” said William Bajor, Director of Graduate and Extended Studies at East Stroudsburg.
“Now, with Interfolio, we have digital portfolios that are a breeze. Faculty members can submit what they like, and uploading portfolio files is as easy as sending an email with an attachment. While reviewing files is as easy as reading your email,” William explained.
An Online Faculty Evaluation System Enables a Calmer Pace and Clarity
The switch to Interfolio’s online module also helped UNC Pembroke go from an aggressive review timeline to a leisurely paced review cycle.
“We had an impossible timeline, which didn’t provide all the different reviewing bodies enough time to read the portfolios,” Aaron explained. “Now, with Interfolio, our department chairs and peer evaluation committees can evaluate portfolios at the same time as one another, saving us four weeks in our timeline. So, it really helped space things out and give people more time and flexibility.”
Likewise, at East Stroudsburg University, their use of Interfolio’s Review, Promotion & Tenure module for all faculty reviews has made for a “less stressful review experience,” said Rob Smith, Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Assessment.
The module has especially helped East Stroudsburg achieve their goal of clearly communicating to faculty the steps and requirements of the review process.
As William Bajor explained, “The module is a reliable central hub that faculty can access to understand what’s needed for annual renewals, five-year reviews, applications for promotion and tenure, etc.”
This clarity is critical, William said, because “if faculty don’t know how they’re going to be assessed and valued, you run the risk of great talent leaving the institution.”
An Online Faculty Evaluation System is Easy to Administer and Enables Consistency
Interfolio has made reviews easier not only for faculty members and committees but also the administrators who oversee reviews on the Interfolio platform.
For both UNC Pembroke and East Stroudsburg University, launching and operating their new online approach proved straightforward.
“Once you get your review workflows established, administering the module is not much work, requiring only a quarter to a half of a full-time employee’s time,” said Aaron.
East Stroudsburg has had a similar experience: “You don’t need many individuals to launch the new system and get it working well,” William said.
Administrators can also make changes to the platform across any connected device. This feature came in handy for Rob Smith at East Stroudsburg when he was able to quickly fix an issue by accessing the platform via his phone.
In addition to the platform’s ease of use and convenience, the administrators appreciate how it has standardized review processes across various colleges and departments at their institutions.
“We have much greater consistency now across four different colleges within our university,” Aaron at UNC Pembroke explained.
For East Stroudsburg as well, Interfolio has “brought a very nice standardization to the campus that we did not have before,” Rob Smith said.
This standardization will enable both institutions to collect data that will help inform faculty development.
“As we collect more data with each year, we’re going to have a much better understanding of ways to help develop faculty members,” Aaron said.
Ready to Reduce the Stress of Reviews?
If you’re interested in helping your faculty, committee members, and administrators enjoy a more convenient, calm, clear, and consistent review experience, please contact us, and we can give you a demonstration of the Interfolio platform.
Southern California University of Health Sciences adopts Faculty Information System
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.
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 email@example.com.
A Timeline and Tips for Managing the Change to New Faculty Technology Platforms
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.
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:
Plan how to manage the change to the new platform.
Inform stakeholders of the planned changes and the advantages of the new platform, obtaining their buy-in.
Train the trainers, who then train members of their department or school.
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.
Full-time faculty members are consistently evaluated based on the progress they’ve made in their own professional development, as well as their performance as an instructor at a higher education institution. Faculty reviews and evaluations involve looking closely at different information surrounding individual educators, including:
Quality of teaching
Usefulness as an academic adviser
Professional service and academic productivity, including publication of academic papers and books
University and community service
Faculty evaluation is a critical component in maintaining accreditation and preparing for tenure evaluations. Accredited universities must ensure they are employing high-quality educators and that they are supporting equitable and efficient hiring and tenure review processes. As there are multiple parties involved in the faculty evaluation process, it is crucial to have evaluation systems that are accessible to all stakeholders. Many colleges and universities would argue that an online faculty evaluation system is the best, most accurate way to approach faculty reviews.
Stakeholders in faculty evaluation
A number of professionals are involved in faculty review. The following individuals play a significant role in the faculty evaluation process:
Faculty members: As the ones being evaluated, faculty members are involved in each step of the evaluation process, either directly or indirectly.
Department chairs: At the beginning of the faculty evaluation process, department chairs will review semester summaries of each educator’s teaching evaluations.
Dean of the college: After the department chair has given their evaluation of each faculty member’s performance, they will send this information to the dean of the university for review.
Administrators: An individual on the staff, typically a member of the Office of Academic Affairs, receives the results of the faculty evaluation from the dean. They will review this information and ensure that it is stored in a secure environment.
Most universities require department chairs to have at least one evaluation interview with each non-tenured faculty member in their department. This interview is comprised of discussions on teaching effectiveness, course syllabi, professional and academic development, and overall citizenship to the department and university as a whole. After this meeting, department chairs will send the results to the school’s dean, who will review the materials, then to an administrator who is in charge of making sure this information goes to the right place.
Transform evaluation with Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting
While some universities have succeeded without technological resources designed to centralize and streamline the faculty evaluation process, the increase in data and proliferation in campus technology systems has made it necessary for colleges and universities to integrate digital processes in the faculty evaluation and activity reporting processes.
Interfolio’s Review, Promotion and Tenure software is a comprehensive online platform that strives to improve faculty reporting and evaluation. It allows higher education institutions of all sizes to make their activity and evaluation information available to users operating on any type of device and in any location. In addition, Interfolio’s Review, Promotion and Tenure allows universities to develop reports on faculty data in customizable formats that can be used in different contexts, such as in gaining and maintaining accreditation.
Everything you need to know about academic tenure
Academic tenure refers to an educator’s employment status within a higher education institution. When a professor has gained tenure, he or she can only be terminated for a justifiable cause or under extreme circumstances, such as program discontinuation or severe financial restraints.
Earning tenure at a higher education institution is a great honor. It’s the reason why many educators have “tenure parties” to celebrate achieving this status in their career. And although it’s a privilege that many professors strive to gain in their career, recent research has shown that many higher education institutions are not rewarding academic labor with tenure. What’s more, some universities and colleges struggle to capture data about candidates who are being considered for tenure-track positions.
If your institution is trying to streamline its tenure process, it may consider using software that is specifically designed to support the promotion and tenure process.
The history of tenure
Higher education has a long-lasting history in the U.S., dating back to the founding of the nation’s first university, Harvard, in 1636. However, tenure was not a mainstream right offered to faculty members until the twentieth century.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is an organization that is responsible for creating standards for higher education institutions and making sure they are following through in serving faculty members who have earned tenure status. Though the AAUP has been working toward securing rights for educators since its founding in 1915, its collaboration with the Association of American Colleges and Universities in cementing standards in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure made the most substantial difference. Over the years, this statement has been endorsed by hundreds of higher education institutions and has made its way into a fair number of collective bargaining agreements and faculty handbooks.
The purpose of the 1940 Statement was to improve the level of support offered to high-quality faculty members. The AAUP itself defines tenure as “a means to certain ends, specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability.” For a university to fulfill its “obligations to its students and to society,” it must ensure educators’ freedom of teaching and economic security.
The benefits of tenure
As the AAUP and Association of American Colleges and Universities assert, tenure improves society as a whole. By ensuring its educators are receiving comprehensive rights, colleges and universities are attracting the most qualified, talented faculty to work at their institutions, therefore offering the most high-quality education. To understand the particulars of tenure, it may be useful to dive into the details surrounding the two specific rights associated with tenure: academic freedom and economic security.
Pursuit of academic freedom
Before tenure protected academic freedom, educators were restricted in what they could cover in class. They typically strayed from discussing controversial topics out of fear it may be negatively received. After the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure passed, however, professors received protection to cover broader academic topics. Not only does this form of academic freedom benefit individual teachers, it benefits society by providing students with a more holistic, multi-dimensional education, in which they can learn about and discuss topics that educators might otherwise have avoided.
When institutions grant tenure, instructors gain full freedom in both research and publication as long as they are meeting the core academic duties necessary in their roles. In addition, tenured educators are granted freedom in discussing their subject in the classroom, though they should ensure any controversial material covered directly relates to their subject.
Finally, colleges and universities cannot censor or discipline tenured faculty members on what they say or write. However, as the public may judge the institution as a whole for the beliefs and actions of a faculty member, educators should show respect for others and make sure others understand that they are speaking on behalf of their own beliefs, not those of the university.
Adequate economic security
One of the major benefits of achieving tenure from an institution of higher education is the job security that results from earning this status. While many staff members are hired and employed on an annual basis, tenured faculty maintain employment for an extended period of time, potentially until they retire. Once an educator earns academic tenure, he or she does not have to worry about being asked to return the following year, except under two possible circumstances.
One such situation is considered “termination for cause,” or the dismissal of an educator for a specific reason. Although this is rare, tenured professors have historically been asked to forfeit employment for some of the following reasons:
Violation of school policies
When a tenured teacher may potentially be terminated for a justified reason, the institution will inform the individual in writing of a hearing that will take place on his or her behalf. Teachers, administrators, and scholars from the institution in question may be called upon to attend and participate in the hearing. If the educator receives a notice of dismissal for a cause not related to moral turpitude, he or she should expect to receive their wages for at least one year from the date they are notified.
Another way tenured academics may be dismissed from their position is in the instance the institution experiences significant financial hardship that would make it difficult or impossible to pay a tenured faculty member’s salary. Additionally, if a university decides to cut a program, any associated tenured staff may lose their jobs unless they can transfer their skills to another program within the institution.
With the exception of these two uncommon circumstances, educators with academic tenure cannot be dismissed from their role for the remainder of their career.
Trends in academic tenure
The AAUP reported that about 73% of faculty roles are not tenure-track positions. Their information stressed the association’s concern about the decline of tenure and how this could affect employment in academia and academic freedom as a whole. The AAUP’s data indicated that tenure- and tenure-track roles are more common at four-year institutions, most specifically research-intensive universities; here, those with tenure or who plan on achieving tenure make up one-third of the total faculty. Meanwhile, tenure and tenure-track positions make up approximately 20% of all faculty jobs at two-year higher education institutions. The AAUP explained that this disparity exists because teaching assistants (who are students at four-year colleges) typically take on teaching responsibilities that two-year universities designate to part-time professors.
According to their study, higher education institutions hired 30,865 full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members and 21,511 full-time tenure-track instructors in 2016. They assert that the decline of tenure compromises academic freedom and economic stability, two crucial factors considered by top talent when seeking out careers in academia.
Qualifying for tenure
Knowing the benefits of achieving tenure, it should come as no surprise that most professors aspire for tenure-track positions. But once full-time staff members have worked with the institutions for a number of years, they do not automatically earn tenure. Higher education institutions have specific procedures on how they grant tenure to educators.
When institutions offer tenure to faculty members, they must state any exact terms and conditions in writing. Both the university and the faculty member should have immediate access to this documentation before the official meeting takes place.
The “probationary period” (when a full-time staff member works prior to being granted tenure) should not surpass seven years, according to the AAUP. While full-time service in all higher education institutions is typically considered in tenure appointments, educators may have their probationary period extended beyond the typical seven years. It is worth noting that during the probationary period faculty members should have the same academic freedom as tenured teachers. Institutions must provide educators with at least one year’s notice before the probationary period expires if they choose not to extend this teacher’s employment through tenure.
Common issues with the tenure process
There are a number of hidden costs of faculty promotion and tenure review. When institutions rely on a paper-based method of gathering information, they need to print several copies of files containing hundreds of pages. Not only does this lead to added expenses, it isn’t the most eco-friendly way of compiling data; you won’t want to kill a forest of trees with each review cycle. When universities rely on paper-based strategies, they need a storage system to archive their materials. Rooms filled with filing cabinets lead to a significant waste of square footage, which could be better used as office space.
Additionally, candidates and reviewers enduring inefficient tenure and review processes experience wasted time. This is even true of institutions implementing simple, digital systems. They might believe they’re being more productive by moving their paper materials onto their desktops. Though this is often a more effective way of managing documentation than paper-based strategies alone, there are still issues involved with using basic digital platforms. For instance, different administrators may keep candidates’ information in different places, so each time you need to review a tenure candidate’s file, you’ll need to search around for them, often asking other department heads and administrators to share the information with you. It works, but not as effectively as if all your information was compiled on a single interface.
Where paper-based and basic digital processes fall particularly short is in the security of confidential tenure materials. When paper files are kept in an area with poor security, they are at a high risk of being stolen or compromised. Even storing information in the form of digital files can pose problems, such as file corruption, misplacement, difficulty with permission settings, and even the danger of insecure files ending up in the wrong hands.
Transitioning to a digital tenure interface
When your higher education institution is ready to ditch the binders and switch to a comprehensive digital system, you might look into Interfolio’s Review, Promotion & Tenure technology. Rather than relying on manual, paper-based processes, your university can view and manage all documentation on a single web-based interface. This allows you to cut down on paper waste and removes space that might otherwise go toward clunky filing cabinets. In addition, a digital interface makes it easier than ever for multiple personnel to access files, a common occurrence in the review and tenure processes.
Interfolio’s system assists multiple participants throughout the tenure process. First, it helps faculty review their peers more efficiently, with user-friendly tools that are ideal for reviewing, making notes, receiving external peer evaluations, and sending messages. This software streamlines all administrative work associated with the tenure and review processes, with the ability to send the entire digital packet across committees, as well as the capability to add to it. Additionally, a comprehensive tenure software gives administrators the power to monitor the university’s commitment to diversity by tracking promotion and tenure results over time. Interfolio’s technology also helps administrators standardize the requirements for different types of reviews, thus supporting faculty and staff in creating an equitable system. Finally, Interfolio can improve candidates’ experience in the tenure process, giving them clear instructions on every step of the procedure and accessible tools that can build organized, professional digital packets with all the information they need.
To make your institution’s tenure and review processes more organized and less time-consuming and costly, consider implementing Interfolio’s Review, Promotion & Tenure software.
How to use promotion and tenure software to simplify the evaluation process
University department heads, administrators, and faculty alike go through evaluation processes, addressing major issues and deciding which educators should be promoted or considered for tenure. While most faculty members only have to go through this review once a year, department heads need to evaluate every one of their faculty members. What’s more, administrators are often responsible for making sure all faculty information is organized, updated, and accurate at all times. Without a proper system in place, it can be tricky to manage so much faculty data. Effective promotion and tenure software can solve many of these challenges.
With a comprehensive platform in place, faculty members and their reviewers can prepare for the review process with ease. For an educator who is anxious about whether or not they’ll be promoted or if they’ll qualify for tenure, saving them the burden of a confusing preparation process can make a world of difference. Find out how your institution can best use a faculty promotion and tenure software system to improve the effectiveness and ease of the evaluation process and learn how Interfolio’s comprehensive suite of faculty information reporting and management software can streamline this work.
The perks of going paperless
In the past, universities needed to keep hard copies of faculty information to have on record during reviews and evaluations. Once technology became a common practice, administrators and department chairs could store information onto their desktops, making it less cumbersome to pull up the data they needed. These processes work – for the most part, but basic manual and digital formats don’t adequately accommodate the nuances of faculty information management.
When institutions rely on manual processes, administrators spend even more time searching through papers to find the necessary information. Even in standard digital approaches, professionals need to keep their materials in separate files, which are scattered around their desktop. It might take a little less time to find important data with this system, but it still is a labor- and time-consuming process.
Rather than relying on tedious manual processes when going through the evaluation and review processes, institutions can save time and increase productivity when they switch to a centralized promotion and tenure software system. By using a comprehensive platform to store and manage faculty information, department heads and administrators can find all the information they need in one place; there’s no need to rifle through filing cabinets or scour the computer for the files.
How faculty achievements influence evaluation
When formulating a consistent review process, department chairs and administrators should consider the emphasis the institution places on certain professional development opportunities. Of course, much of the faculty member’s work and research should contribute to a professor’s eligibility for promotion or tenure. But what about the academic feats they’ve accomplished that don’t necessarily tie into the university’s successes?
A 2016 study by JMIR Medical Education sought to understand how and if academic blogging enhances a candidate’s likelihood of earning tenure or promotion. Of the 267 chairs of U.S. and Canadian medical departments surveyed, 87% of respondents considered educational achievements as an important component for promotion. However, only 23% of those surveyed saw the value of creating content for journal-based blogs. Although 72% of surveyed department chairs considered journal-based blogging more notable than society-based or personal blogging, a majority did not consider it to be relevant in the evaluation process.
With 23% of department chairs in favor of acknowledging this form of academic achievement and 77% not in favor of doing so, it’s imperative that institutions develop a system for consistent evaluation across all teams. If, for instance, the department chair of the Biochemistry program finds journal-based blogging to be a value-add but the head of the Psychology department does not, there may be a systematic imbalance in the promotion and tenure review processes. By using a comprehensive system, institutions can enhance fairness in faculty evaluation, with all department chairs using the same qualifications in their reviews.
Streamlining the evaluation process with promotion and tenure tools
When your university is ready to simplify the evaluation process from start to finish, consider looking into Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure. This platform allows institutions to consider the full scope of academic tenure and promotion, from the moments leading up to the evaluation to the final decision.
With Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure, institutions can improve all participants’ experiences in the review process. With it, faculty members can undergo peer evaluation with increased efficiency, with plenty of tools to make notes, send messages, review comments, and receive external peer reviews instantly. Staff can use this platform to streamline their administrative work by sending entire digital packets between committees and standardizing methods for each type of review. Administrators can leverage Interfolio’s tools to monitor the institution’s commitment to diversity in promotion and tenure outcomes. Interfolio provides faculty committees with a comprehensive system that matches the actual work they do throughout the academic year. Last but certainly not least, candidates can receive instructions on the review process and build out professional-looking digital packets of their materials using Interfolio’s high-quality promotion and tenure software system.
Tips for leading and serving on a search committee
One of the hallmarks of being a higher education professional is leading and serving on hiring committees. While this work is important to university life, how do you decide if you should serve on a hiring committee? What should your strategy be on selecting members to serve on a hiring committee when you are leading a search? These questions can be difficult to answer as they are nuances based on the position. However, I believe there are some things you should consider when leading and being asked to serve on a hiring committee. While this post does not capture the depth and nuance of hiring committees, below are my more topical tips and suggestions.
Be prepared for a significant time commitment
After serving on several hiring committees and having conversations with colleagues in the field, I have come to the conclusion that serving as the chair of a search committee is a significant time commitment. Not only are you responsible for selecting search committee members, you are also responsible for:
Serving as main contact for potential candidates with questions
Coordinating phone/Skype interview times for candidates and committee members
Coordinating travel for finalist interviews
Managing personalities of the search committee during candidate deliberations
With the above responsibilities in mind, it is critical to understand and embrace the significant time commitment before agreeing to serve as the leader of a search committee.
I have often been approached to lead and serve on committees unexpectedly. At the beginning of my career, I would often say yes on the spot. However, I was provided sage advice from mentors who explained the benefit of not saying yes right away. The advice given to me (which I pass along to you) is that when offered the opportunity to serve on a hiring committee, communicate to the requestor that you need time to review your schedule to ensure you will have ample time to commit to the search. Taking this approach will buy you a little time to evaluate the time commitment and value-add of serving on a hiring committee.
Establish a diverse hiring committee
Many higher education scholars have pointed out that who serves on search committees determines who is ultimately hired. In many examples, scholars point to the fact that higher education hires do not often reflect the diversity of the country—and this is due to search committees lacking diversity, specifically racial diversity. Thus, when thinking about establishing a search committee, it is important to ensure committee members come from various backgrounds, so your search develops a heterogeneous pool of candidates. Moreover, candidates from different backgrounds can use their networks to get the word out about the search.
Ensure positions are advertised widely
Part of the work of the search committee should be to advertise the position in a way that creates a diverse hiring pool. Search committees do not often get diverse candidates because they do not advertise positions in places where those candidates fellowship. For instance, does your human resource office use the university’s Instagram and Facebook pages to target their hiring advertisements to spaces where diverse candidates spend their time online? Is your search committee reaching out directly to scholars of color to apply for positions? I would argue that institutions search far and wide for athletes, and I believe the same approach should be taken when recruiting higher education professionals. While there are several places to find higher education jobs (which I’ve discussed in a previous Smart Scholar series post), it is critical to find candidates in the spaces they frequent most.
Ensure the search process is ethical
It is important to ensure that the search process is approached ethically, for example adhering to a search process committee where members maintain confidentiality throughout. This prevents candidates who have personal or professional relationships with the search committee members from gaining an advantage in the job search. Moreover, in situations where there are internal candidates applying for a position, this is even more important, as having an ethical process will prevent external candidates from seeking legal action against the institution for a discriminatory hiring process. In response to instances of discrimination and racism on campus, institutions have developed equity and inclusion offices. I would suggest if your institution has such an office, have them talk to the search committee about ensuring an equitable hiring process. If your institution does not have an equity and inclusion office, there are some best practices in the text Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees by Dr. Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner.
What have your experiences been on leading and serving on search committees? Feel free to tweet me @ramongoings with your suggestions!
Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.
Author Bio: Dr. Ramon B. Goings is an assistant professor of educational leadership at Loyola University Maryland. His research examines gifted/high-achieving Black male academic success PreK-PhD, diversifying the teacher and school leader workforce, and the student experience and contributions of historically Black colleges and universities to the higher education landscape. As a writing coach and editor, Dr. Goings enjoys supporting the scholarly development of doctoral students and professors in higher education. For more information about Dr. Goings, please visit his website www.ramongoings.com and follow him on Twitter (@ramongoings).
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