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
  • Grants
  • 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.

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:

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

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.

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.

This post continues our series, The Smart Scholar.

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).

This post continues our series, The Smart Scholar.

With 2019 in full swing, I know that many of you are preparing for classes and re-engaging in those “revise and resubmit” article notifications that came in during the holiday break. For many academics this is a busy time of year and before you know it, the end of the semester will be here. My suggestion? Don’t let a review sneak up on you. Below are three strategies that I have used that will help you prepare for your review.

Get organized from day one

As a first-year assistant professor, the best advice I received from mentors was to set up an organization system that would make writing my materials for my annual review and tenure and promotion review easier. Over the last three years after going through a few reviews, I have refined my organizational strategy and have established the following routines:

  • Scan and file all physical copies of documents (e.g., notes from students, teaching evaluation write-up, journal articles, etc.) electronically via a cloud storage application or a dedicated online profile (like Interfolio’s Dossier) to ensure you have multiple copies of documents.
  • In your cloud storage application create folders titled, “Teaching,” “Research,” and “Service.” In each relevant folder, store documents related to the parent folder, i.e. “Teaching,” in folders labeled by year.
  • Update curriculum vita monthly and keep every version of this document in an electronic folder.
Know your institution’s review policies and priorities

While getting organized is important to your success, equally important is knowing the policies and priorities of your institution. Some essential questions to consider are:

  • Do you know when your annual review is due?
  • Do you have a template to complete your review?
  • Do you have access to your institution’s policies and requirements for faculty reviews?

At many institutions running faculty reviews in a traditional way (i.e. without a dedicated online system), the university-wide and college/department specific faculty handbook is important—it will describe the policies and procedures for engaging in your annual and/or tenure and promotion review.

Along with knowing your institution’s policies, you should be familiar with the priorities of the institution. For instance, if your institution is research-intensive, then your review write-up should demonstrate how you have spent your time engaging in and producing research in venues that the institution and/or your department values. Similarly, if your institution is more teaching-intensive, you should be prepared to explain how your teaching has made significant contributions to your department and the institution.

Be prepared to address any gaps in your file

No one is perfect. Consequently, you may have a gap in your file that you were unable to address during the review time period. For instance, if preparing for your first annual review at an institution, you may have published little or no research so far during your time at the institution.  While you will be evaluated on your research activities, you should nevertheless explain in your narrative why your research productivity has been low during the period covered by the review. Moreover, you can then articulate your plan to increase your research productivity over the next review period. I find it important to address any shortcomings head on rather than omitting them from your narrative and having your evaluators (in many cases colleagues in your program or department) bring this up in your evaluation letter. Furthermore, addressing gaps in your review and outlining your plan to fix them is key—your next evaluation can speak to how you followed your outline from the past year and have met (and hopefully exceeded!) your goals.

Do you have strategies that have helped you prepare for your annual and/or tenure and promotion review? Feel free to tweet me @ramongoings to continue this conversation!

In addition to an online platform for universities to manage faculty reviews, 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).

In a recent webinar and Q&A, we spoke with Dr. Genyne Boston, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), about their use of Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure to manage promotion and tenure processes at the University. 

We wanted to share some of the great insights and practices Dr. Boston provided during the webinar—we are sure they will benefit all colleges and universities who may wish to improve the efficiency and quality of their academic career advancement processes. 

Shuffling papers and driving across the state

Dr. Boston gave us an idea of the challenges FAMU had faced while using paper-based, manual review processes for the institution’s 680 faculty members working in a collective-bargaining environment (and located on five campuses across Florida). We heard about the significant, and familiar, logistical headaches besetting FAMU in their attempts to manage the submission packets of 35 to 40 candidates—each typically consisting of two or three 4-inch binders.

Most notably, their challenges related to housing and maintaining these documents submitted by P&T candidates. In addition, travel posed an issue. Shared governance called for 20 to 25 departments to be represented on review committees, which required significant amounts of travel by committee members, some up to four hours away.

Arriving at Interfolio

Given this environment, FAMU’s selection of Interfolio was a “solution-driven” choice, where faculty and administrators sought to streamline P&T workflows with a digital solution to make the processes more efficient and less time-consuming for all participants.  

Dr. Boston shared that faculty members’ use of Interfolio’s Dossier to collect and curate materials—a necessity for telling their respective stories of accomplishments and evolution as scholars and educators—was foundational to success of the promotion and tenure review process at FAMU. As a result, the University’s faculty onboarding process now includes a training module for Dossier use. This, Dr. Boston noted, provides an example of how Interfolio’s platform augments a nurturing culture for faculty members at FAMU.

Some advice on training and configuration

In a key portion of the webinar, Dr. Boston discussed FAMU’s experiences and some lessons they’d learned while transitioning to Interfolio. She gave the following tips about their implementation and rollout experiences:

  1. Configuring the system—The platform is flexible, so take time to build and configure the system so it reflects the institutionally-specific processes and timetables.
  2. Managing multiple campuses—Make sure all stakeholders understand and support the new project by providing training for internal support teams and those participating in cross-campus integrations.
  3. Launching the system—Consider a gradual, phased rollout rather than moving too quickly.
  4. Creating ambassadors—Recruit internal champions and use a “train-the-trainer” approach to create a knowledgeable point person in every academic unit to support questions, especially those from new and tenure-track faculty.
  5. Training and support—Provide regular workshops and training sessions that are a part of the culture of the institution.

Outcomes for Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University

Dr. Boston also discussed the impact of the platform after being launched. Here are some of the results she shared: 

  1. Reduced average time for P&T review processes from four to three months.
  2. Eliminated direct costs for printing and shipping (hundreds of dollars per candidate; she gives some cost estimates in the webinar)
  3. Enhanced the ease of securing and housing candidates’ confidential materials—eliminating the need for locked storage rooms.
  4. Increased openness on campus to support electronic platforms to achieve efficiency, easier usage, more transparency. In sum, FAMU’s experience of digitizing its P&T created a gateway to further digitization in other areas.
  5. Increased practical support for shared governance. The new system gave the administration a mechanism to facilitate more consistent involvement in decisions by geographically separated campuses.

Future directions

Finally, we asked Dr. Boston a bit about any planned expansions of Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure at the University. A few possibilities she mentioned:

  1. Providing interim formative appraisals and mentoring for tenure-track faculty members.
  2. Evaluating faculty leave requests (sabbatical, travel grants, etc.).
  3. Providing a faculty credentialing process required by a regional accrediting agency and the University.

***

Interested in this webinar or in Interfolio’s work? Watch it here, take a look at our free promotion and tenure best practices checklist, or contact us with a question.

We know that around this time of the year, in addition to being faculty search season, it’s also a critical point in the tenure, promotion, and faculty review cycle—on both the faculty and the administrative ends. So this month’s free webinar and Q&A focuses on managing the workload around highly structured academic reviews, and increasing the equity and transparency of these processes across the institution.

For faculty affairs offices, committee chairs, and staff trying to accept and page through official dossiers from faculty candidates, this stage of the professional review cycle often demands a large amount of time carved out just to make sure all the right pieces are there, in the right format and the right order.

At many colleges and universities, many other sorts of administrative and academic needs are coming into the modern digital era via dedicated technologies appropriate to them. Interfolio says: what about faculty development?

Here are just a few of the logistical headaches we often hear about:

  • Initiating the faculty review process in a standard way for many candidates going through the same designated path (often involving staff doing the same office tasks separately for many different candidates)
  • Communicating to each candidate exactly what they have to submit and when it’s due—and documenting that communication
  • Confirming that the faculty member submitted everything that they were supposed to submit by a certain time
  • Distributing copies of the faculty candidate’s official packet to members of the committee
  • Ensuring only certain reviewers can access the candidate’s materials, and only during certain periods of time
  • Verifying that all required administrative steps were taken at each stage of the review
  • Keeping track of the progress of external evaluations sought from the candidate’s peers in the field (perhaps most applicable in tenure processes)
  • Moving the case from one stage of review to the next, securely and completely
  • Locating a record of what happened during past cases

So for faculty affairs leaders, committee chairs, faculty dossier managers, chief academic officers, or others who are interested, next week’s webinar will be a good opportunity to understand how Interfolio (informed by our clients) currently tackles academic workflow and faculty dossier needs.

Today, Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure accommodates a range of academic review scenarios that involve sequential examination of data and materials by a series of reviewers—whether for tenure, promotion, annual and periodic evaluations, sabbatical, or similar moments. The platform has evolved in close collaboration with experienced leaders across higher education, many of whom say they would like to see this key component of shared governance become (1) less laborious for everyone from year to year and (2) more systematically documented.

Register here to attend the free webinar.

Our series on faculty technology at liberal arts colleges, begun in April with the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, continues this month with two members of the Provost Office at Bryn Mawr College. They’ll speak about the benefits of using Interfolio for both faculty hiring and advancement processes.  Continue reading “WEBINAR | Bryn Mawr College + Interfolio | June 29”

Tenure is, surely, the most visible and consequential formal academic review that a college or university faculty member encounters. But academic institutions certainly have in place many other types of formal faculty review processes—so it’s critical that Interfolio be able to accommodate those as well. And we do. Continue reading “Beyond P&T: Using Interfolio for Annual and Periodic Faculty Reviews”

One key reason that colleges and universities find Interfolio’s faculty review software so valuable is that it accommodates virtually every practical action involved in an academic committee decision. This month’s product release—arising from an array of thoughtful client input—serves equity and transparency with a new tool to enforce committee accountability. Continue reading “Following the process: committee-facing requirements in Interfolio’s Promotion & Tenure”