Case Study: Millikin University
Faculty and staff hiring with the faculty-preferred platform at Millikin University
Millikin University first adopted Interfolio’s Faculty Search in 2013 to support management of their faculty hiring processes; however, as part of a 2015 institutional cost-cutting initiative, the University made the decision to use an internally-developed solution. A team at Millikin began developing a faculty hiring platform to receive application materials and store them on a shared drive, but challenges soon arose. “The short version of the story is our homegrown solution did not work well for us,” said Jeffery Aper, Provost of Millikin University. “Managing documents was very difficult. People couldn’t access it.
It just didn’t work.” Faculty and administrators voiced regret in the decision to drop Interfolio and sought to re-establish Interfolio Faculty Search on campus.
“Using Interfolio has been an immense improvement in the efficiency and effective.ness of those review processes…I am definitely a fan.” – Provost, Millikin University
Seeking Accurate, Systematic Solutions to Fundamental Issues
All faculty and administrative complaints about using the internal system stemmed from the chronic challenges of faculty search processes: making sure there was an accurate and systematic way of receiving materials, compiling and maintaining applicant materials, and making those materials available to the appropriate individuals and committees for evaluation. And underlying all was the need to ensure the privacy and security of documents.
“We were trying to make sure confidential materials did not end up left on tables in conference rooms,” said Dr. Aper. He pressed the case to bring back Interfolio, which had worked so well for Millikin in the past—and thankfully everyone on campus agreed. “Using Interfolio has been an immense improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of those review processes—allowing us to set up an online format to submit materials for all of these competitive processes. Using Interfolio has benefited us significantly. I am definitely a fan.”
Responding to the Issues, Extending the Scope
As intended, the Faculty Search module quickly solved the University’s faculty-hiring issues, and more. Millikin was able to expand use of Interfolio beyond faculty hiring to staff hiring and to managing faculty honors and awards processes, such as:
- Managing dean searches. Millikin received and warehoused mate.rials to allow administrators and committee members access to the materials. In addition, the University made sure the materials were maintained securely, but provided easy access for evaluators, and kept track of needed data for reporting purposes.
- Supporting staff searches. The University used Faculty Search to support hiring of administrative assistants, allowing administrators to efficiently and effectively maintain applicant and institutional records to make sure documents and information were properly managed.
- Running internal application processes for faculty awards and professional development opportunities. Millikin made selections for several endowed professorships that rotated among qualified faculty applicants and involved significant amounts of supporting materials. The University was able to eliminate its paper-based system that required substantial efforts to manage and secure the unwieldy application packets.
Managing EEO Reporting
Using Interfolio Faculty Search to support the efficient collection and reporting of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data was another benefit. Instead of having individuals in the HR office compile EEO reports, Millikin was able to use Interfolio to collect records and activities faster, easier, and with more consistency. Because faculty and staff time is an increasingly precious commodity for the campus, Interfolio’s straightforward functionality was especially appreciated by Millikin’s HR office.
On faculty buy-in:
“Faculty members are not reticent about sharing their opinions about what works and what doesn’t work. Interfolio’s Faculty Search has worked very well for us. This is one of those things where you could go around campus and talk with faculty, staff, and administrators who’ve used the system, and I don’t think you would get a single negative comment—and that’s saying something.”
On faculty hiring:
“This was such a vastly better approach to hiring than the traditional method of keeping all kinds of paper files, trying to maintain the security of those files, and trying to make sure members of the search committee had access to the documents while trying to maintain the confidentiality of those materials. The solution gave us so many better options for managing those processes.”
JEFFERY APER, PH.D. PROVOST MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1999, Interfolio is an education technology company based in Washington, DC that offers the first holistic Faculty Information System to support the full lifecycle of faculty work—from hiring to annual review, service, activity reporting, scholarly data collection and validation, and more. All Interfolio software applications focus on faculty, with workflow tools to support shared governance processes; activity reporting solutions that support accreditation, decision making, and data analytics; and consumer offerings that provide a portable, private space to support the collection, curation, and validation of academic materials. Working with over 275 clients, Interfolio leads with vision and innovation while remaining focused on advancing faculty and their institutions.