In higher education, faculty are essential to the success of every institution. Focusing on effective faculty data management is critical to facilitating that success.
To remain healthy and competitive, a university must understand who its faculty are, how they are contributing to the institution, and how best to support them throughout their career lifecycle. Improving faculty data management can empower institutions to better meet regulatory requirements and increase collaboration, transparency, and equity in faculty affairs.
What Is Faculty Data Management?
Faculty data management is the collection, organization, maintenance, and analysis of information related to members of faculty at higher education institutions. This includes a broad range of data such as faculty members’ qualifications, publications and scholarship, teaching, service and mentoring activities, and other professional achievements, as well as information related to administrative processes, from hiring to promotion and tenure.
The breadth of data demands a centralized, specialized data management solution—keeping records on paper or in Excel workbooks no longer meets the needs of a modern university. Faculty Information Systems (FIS) are built specifically for higher education and combine multiple streams of information into one database, with reporting tools that allow users to analyze information and make better-informed decisions. These systems can also streamline workflows around shared governance decisions, automatically populating faculty review cases with CVs and digital copies of academic work.
What Are the Benefits of Faculty Data Management?
Streamlined Administrative Processes
An effective faculty data management solution tracks faculty information and pulls all relevant data into one central database—the FIS. Leaders and administrators are then able to review faculty activities, workloads, and accomplishments more easily. Administrative processes that were once time-consuming and repetitive become streamlined when faculty and leaders no longer need to hunt down information. Data readiness not only saves valuable time and effort but also enables greater accountability and transparency in critical processes to meet compliance and accreditation standards.
Stronger Data, Smarter Decisions
Armed with reliable data, higher education leaders can make more informed decisions that contribute to the efficiency and competitiveness of the institution as a whole. An FIS enables institutions to validate their dataset, analyze information, measure effectiveness and performance, and identify areas of growth and development.
Increased Transparency and Integrity
Faculty data management can also protect the integrity of core institutional processes through improved documentation. When a university is able to track faculty activities with validated data, leadership can approach faculty affairs with more confidence. Faculty will be more engaged, and the institution will have stronger accountability in faculty hiring, promotion, and review activities.
Key Considerations for Implementing a Data Management Solution
While there are many potential benefits of launching an FIS to support your faculty data management efforts, implementation led by trusted partners is key to realizing those benefits. The chosen system must work for the institution and contribute to faculty success—and thoughtful change management and faculty buy-in are essential.
Below are a few key considerations for any institution adopting a new FIS:
- Identify institutional goals and evaluate whether a system provides tools that will strategically advance those goals.
- Understand how the FIS will integrate with existing platforms and processes at the institution.
- Plan ahead for training time and evaluation periods to ensure buy-in and successful implementation across faculty and staff.
- Take steps to ensure the privacy and data security of all faculty and system users.
- Recognize that human biases and systemic inequities can affect data. Be proactive and rigorous in using faculty data as a tool that can advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the institution.
Challenges (and Solutions) for Implementing Faculty Information Systems
As with any system, institutions can encounter roadblocks during implementation. Faculty adoption may be slow, technology systems may clash, and data security and privacy requirements can provide additional hurdles. It’s crucial to highlight the benefits for faculty, staff, and other stakeholders and work with a partner that offers high-quality customer support and services. Look for solutions that will help your institution build reliable data by pulling your faculty members’ publication records and enabling easy validation.
By joining forces with the right partner, institutions can comfortably navigate challenges and be set up for institutional success. For example, the Harvard Graduate School of Education used Interfolio’s FIS to not only address challenges but also re-energize faculty and maximize their impact.
Transform Your Faculty Data Management With Interfolio
At Interfolio, we understand that faculty are central. Their success defines not only the success of the institutions they enrich but also higher education at large.
The Interfolio Faculty Information System is preferred by hundreds of leading institutions thanks to best-in-class faculty data management that saves you time, builds data-driven strategic capacity, and supports faculty throughout their professional lifecycle.
At Interfolio, we offer support through every step of your journey with us. We provide dedicated implementation support and ongoing professional services to ensure the FIS works for you and your institution. We take the time to understand your institution’s specific needs and assign dedicated resources to make your experience as seamless—and transformative—as possible. From the day you sign on with Interfolio as a partner, our teams are here to help ensure your success.
To find out what the Interfolio system can do for your institution, please schedule a demo today.