Academic tenure refers to a faculty member’s employment status within a higher education institution. When a professor has gained tenure, they can only be terminated for a justifiable cause or under extreme circumstances, such as program discontinuation or severe financial restraints.

Earning tenure is a great honor; many academics have “tenure parties” to celebrate this achievement. And although it’s a privilege that professors can strive for years to earn, recent research has shown that many higher education institutions are not rewarding academic labor with tenure.

Deciding who receives tenure is a complex process involving large amounts of professional data—and many stakeholders. And while most universities recognize the importance of tenure for attracting top research talent, there are certainly logistical and organizational complexities of tracking, reviewing, and awarding it.

The History of Tenure

While higher education in the U.S. dates back to the founding of the nation’s first university—Harvard—in 1636, tenure was not a mainstream right offered to faculty members until the twentieth century.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is responsible for creating standards that ensure higher education institutions are serving faculty members who have earned tenure status. Though the AAUP has worked toward securing rights for academics since its founding in 1915, it wasn’t until 1940, when it collaborated with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, that it cemented the standards of tenure in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

The purpose of the 1940 Statement was to improve the level of support offered to high-quality faculty members. For a university to fulfill its “obligations to its students and to society,” as the AAUP states, it must ensure academics are free to teach with the guarantee of economic security. Over the years, this statement has been endorsed by hundreds of higher education institutions and has made its way into many collective bargaining agreements and faculty handbooks.

The Benefits of Tenure

As the AAUP and Association of American Colleges and Universities assert, tenure improves society as a whole. By ensuring academics are receiving comprehensive rights, colleges and universities attract the most qualified, talented faculty to work at their institutions and, therefore, offer the highest quality education.

The AAUP attributes two specific rights to tenure: academic freedom and economic security.

Pursuit of Academic Freedom

Before tenure protected academic freedom, academics felt restricted in what they could cover in class. They typically avoided discussing controversial topics out of fear it could be negatively received. After the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure passed, however, tenured professors were empowered to cover broader academic topics. This benefits not only individual teachers but also society by providing students with a more holistic, multi-dimensional education.

When institutions grant tenure, instructors gain a level of freedom in both research and publication as long as they meet the core academic duties of their roles.

Adequate Economic Security

The other major benefit of achieving tenure is job security. While many staff and faculty 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 academic earns tenure—generally after a probationary period that can last up to seven years—they do not have to worry about being asked to return the following year, except under two possible circumstances.

One such situation is “termination for cause,” or the dismissal of a tenured faculty member for a specific reason. Although this is rare, tenured professors have been asked to forfeit employment for the following reasons:

  • Incompetence
  • Immoral conduct
  • Violation of school policies
  • Negligence

Tenured academics can also be dismissed from their position if the institution experiences significant financial hardship that would make it difficult or impossible to pay their 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, those with academic tenure cannot be dismissed from their role for the remainder of their career.

Trends in Academic Tenure

According to an AAUP survey report from 2022, 53.5% of institutions have replaced some tenure-eligible positions with contingent faculty positions—meaning there are now more part-time and full-time roles that don’t include any tenure-track commitments.

The report found that in 2019, only 10.5% of faculty positions were tenure-track, and nearly 63% were full-time or part-time contingent roles. AAUP expressed concern about this decline in tenure, which it asserts “continues to serve as the bulwark in the defense of academic freedom.”

Although the 2022 study showed tenured and tenure-track positions were declining, the AAUP also found that more institutions than ever before are focusing on equitable tenure opportunities. For example, 82% of institutions currently allow tenure-track faculty to pause their probation period for childcare responsibilities. And while certain groups continue to be underrepresented in tenured positions, nearly 60% of institutions either have DEI criteria in place for tenure standards or are actively considering them, and 39.4% of institutions have had their tenure criteria evaluated for implicit biases.

Qualifying for Tenure

Faculty who are hired on a tenure track first undergo a probationary period, working full time before being granted tenure. The AAUP recommends this period not surpass seven years, though ad hoc extensions may occur—especially in cases where faculty request time off for parental leave or elder care.

During the probationary period, faculty members should have the same academic freedom as tenured professors. And an institution must provide at least one year’s notice before the probationary period expires if it chooses not to extend an individual’s employment through tenure.

But even if full-time faculty have worked with an institution for many years, they do not automatically earn tenure—and the review process can be extensive.

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. They then need to store and archive these materials, often filling rooms that could have been used as office space with filing cabinets. Not only does a paper-based system cost time and resources, but it also isn’t the most eco-friendly way of compiling data; no one wants to clear a forest with each review cycle.

Additionally, candidates and reviewers are busy people—the longer they endure inefficient tenure and review processes, the less time they have to dedicate to their teaching or research.

Institutions implementing simple digital systems might believe they’re being more productive by moving their paper materials onto their desktops. Though this approach can be more effective than printouts, it may cause as many problems as it solves. For instance, administrators may keep candidates’ information in different places, so when someone needs to review a tenure candidate’s file, they need to search for it or ask other department heads and administrators to share the information. It works, but it is not as effective as keeping all the information in a single interface.

Where paper-based and basic digital processes fall particularly short is in securing confidential tenure materials. When paper files are kept in an area with poor security, they are at risk of being stolen or compromised. Even storing information as digital files in shared drives can pose problems such as file corruption, misplacement, difficulty with permission settings, and files ending up in the wrong hands.

Transitioning to a Digital Interface

To keep up with the increasing demands of the tenure review process, institutions need to ditch the binders and switch to a comprehensive digital system.

The Interfolio Faculty Information System allows universities to move past paper-based processes or patchwork digital solutions and manage all documentation in a single web-based interface. Users cut down on paper waste, get rid of the clunky filing cabinets, and move to a digital system that makes it easier than ever for multiple people to compile, organize, share, and access important files.

Interfolio’s system streamlines the tenure process from start to finish:

  • Faculty can review their peers more efficiently with user-friendly tools created specifically for the tenure review process. The interface allows reviewers to make notes, receive external evaluations, send messages, and send a candidate’s entire digital packet across committees.
  • Administrators can track upcoming events—including when it’s time to initiate a tenure review—and select the applicable faculty, automatically create a review case, and pull in a candidate’s vita for a seamless experience in one platform.
  • Administrators can also monitor the institution’s progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments by tracking promotion and tenure results over time.
  • Candidates gain peace of mind with a streamlined process and accessible tools that help them build organized, high-quality digital packets with all the information they need to achieve tenure, regardless of their discipline.

To find out what Interfolio can do for your institution, please schedule a demo today.

On-Demand Webinar: Rebuilding Higher Education in 2022: Insights from the Interfolio Faculty Survey

Interfolio partnered with Hanover Research to survey the top concerns of faculty nationwide. Leading faculty affairs professionals joined Interfolio CEO Andrew Rosen to talk about the trends and insights, including: 

  • How have faculty workloads changed in the last three years and where faculty would like to invest more time?
  • What are the perceived barriers to advancement and faculty’s confidence in their institutions’ process? 
  • What role does student success play in faculty career growth?
  • What are faculty perceptions about their institutions’ delivery on their diversity, equity, and inclusion promises?

As you and your teams continue to look ahead to the year, you need a new strategic vision for your institution. The pandemic and a sweeping social push for equity have redefined modern requirements and expectations for excellence. You are setting a new path and rebuilding the future of the university—of which faculty are at the center. 

Universities and colleagues looking to drive faculty impact for institutional success in 2022 will want you to have insights from this important conversation.

Our Panelists

Andrew Rosen

Laura Robbins
Associate Dean, Office of Faculty Information

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Charlton Mcllwain
Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development,

New York University

Rob Nelson
Executive Director for Academic Technology & Planning,

University of Pennsylvania

eBook: Why Now? Faculty Affairs Leaders on Digital Transformation

Additionally, download the free eBook to understand:

  • Why academic leaders nationwide are now switching to faculty-first digital solutions.
  • What to consider when looking for the right Faculty Information System.
  • Key factors influencing digital transformation in the higher education space.

On-Demand Webinar: Why Now? Academic Affairs Leaders on Digital Transformation

As you think ahead to 2022, how do your goals for faculty support and advancement relate to larger institutional goals? Do you have the digital systems in place for faculty to excel, with technology designed for them? Hear from experts in our recent webinar on why they made the transformation to purpose-built evaluation software.

Listen to the in-depth discussion on why now (or yesterday, really) is the time to invest wholeheartedly in both your faculty and institution with advanced digital systems to simplify the review, promotion, and tenure processes.

Featuring two academic affairs leaders: 

Albert Liddicoat

Vice President for University Personnel

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Patricia Price

Patricia Price

Associate Provost for Academic Administration and Faculty Development and Research

CUNY Baruch

We discussed:

  • First-hand experience and advice on adopting and implementing an institution-wide digital platform for faculty evaluations.
  • Why 300+ institutions have chosen to partner with us over other vendors or homegrown systems.
  • How the flexibility of Interfolio’s Review, Promotion & Tenure product can be adapted to meet your institution’s unique needs.

eBook: Strategic Success with Faculty Activity Reporting

eBook: Supporting Faculty Careers (During COVID-19 and Beyond)

Download the free eBook to understand:

  • What has worked best for colleges and universities that handle faculty affairs processes online
  • Why today may be the right time to rethink faculty development programs and resources
  • How the Interfolio platform is helping your peer universities adapt to changes in the faculty work experience

On-Demand Webinar: A Modern Online Solution for Academic Review and Promotion Workflows at Larger Institutions

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, watch our webinar, recorded in August 2021, 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 webinar we discuss the following:

  1. How a system for transparent, equitable reviews demonstrates your investment and value of faculty
  2. How Interfolio solves for your unique challenges with its 20 years of expertise working in higher education 
  3. What kinds of new information around faculty career development universities have gained by using Interfolio
  4. 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
  5. How Interfolio Professional Services can mitigate and alleviate change management challenges

Why should you partner with Interfolio?

Watch this recording 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 the Review, Promotion, and Tenure module on campus include, among many others:

Carnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of Arizona
Johns Hopkins UniversityDartmouth College
Texas A & M University-College StationNew York University
DePaul UniversityYale University
Tulane University of LouisianaOberlin College

“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

On-Demand 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, watch our on-demand 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 webinar recording we discuss the following:

  1. 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
  2. How Interfolio solves for your unique challenges with its 20 years of expertise working in higher education 
  3. How Interfolio alleviates the administrative burden required to conduct faculty evaluation cases properly and equitably
  4. What kinds of new information and transparency around faculty career development universities have gained by using Interfolio
  5. 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?

Watch this on-demand webinar 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 UniversityMeharry Medical College
Winthrop UniversityElizabeth City State University
Swarthmore CollegeGallaudet University
Haverford CollegeJacksonville University (Florida)
California Institute of the ArtsColby College

“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

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.

Data-driven Review, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT) processes are a powerful way to improve faculty diversity. That’s because collecting and analyzing diversity-related data at each step in the faculty career journey, as well as at the broader departmental and institutional level, allows measurement against established diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals and trend analysis. 

The data will help uncover whether or not you are succeeding in retaining faculty who belong to underrepresented demographic groups, and can dictate how and when to change your strategy when you are falling short.

The following are five ways data can help illuminate faculty employment patterns as you continuously and proactively work on your RPT diversity strategy:

1. Collect data on your institution’s efforts to hire and retain faculty from underrepresented groups.

Knowing your track record in hiring and retaining underrepresented group members provides a baseline for measurement of success towards diversity goals. It also may unearth departments, schools, or colleges that are falling short of DEI aims and information on where to invest resources, training, and additional attention.

2. Use your faculty information system to build out all official RPT processes and track all RPT activity. 

By running all your RPT activity data and decisions through your faculty information system, you will build a more objective frame of reference for diversity-related goals. It will let you catalogue and automate the intended faculty evaluation processes—and log what happens during each step of each case. Bringing academic workflows into a central system is essential to understand diversity in your promotion patterns.

3. Collect and review qualitative data.

Data that can be tagged within a repository to use as part of a diversity-related audit includes qualitative data from faculty who leave (through exit interviews) and those who stay (through annual reviews). By conducting exit interviews and reviews, you can find out critical information about how minority faculty members are feeling and the challenges and issues they are facing. With this information, you can work to focus on how to correct problems related to the cultural climate that affect retention.

4. Analyze demographic data related to faculty diversity.

Comparing faculty diversity demographic data (e.g., race, sex, ethnicity, language spoken, sexual orientation) against that of both the student body and local and national populations will illustrate whether your institution’s faculty is representative of the communities they serve. Whether and how well faculty diversity parallels the internal and external institutional demographics have been tied to the recruitment and retention of diverse professors and students alike.

5. Analyze and evaluate salary data.

Since salary disparities negatively impact the retention of underrepresented demographic groups, clearly understanding faculty salary information by demographic provides the basis to create more equitable salary structures to aid in the hiring and retention of diverse faculty. Proactive actions to eradicate inequities and work towards parity will make your institution more desirable to attract and retain minority faculty members.

Interested in how other universities today are tackling diversity and inclusion across the faculty lifecycle? Download at our free white paper Faculty Diversity in Review, Promotion, and Tenure and see what else you could be doing.

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.”


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

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.

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.