Without the right resources from the institution, faculty can struggle to tell their story, lose valuable time dealing with data requests and administrative tasks, and become fatigued with technological systems in place. When paired with data showing that 78% of faculty have experienced an increase in workload over the past three years and one-third of faculty feel underappreciated, it’s a perfect storm that can quickly lead to faculty disengagement.
Streamlining Faculty Processes at East Carolina University
In our recent webinar, we were joined by Cara Gohn, Interfolio Coordinator with the Office for Faculty Excellence at East Carolina University (ECU), to discuss how the institution has designed faculty reporting and evaluation processes that benefit both faculty and administrators alike. With around 2,000 faculty members on staff, ECU implemented Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) to capture faculty data needed for institutional, departmental, and college-level reporting, as well as Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure (RPT) to support personnel processes for evaluations.
During the webinar, Gohn gave insight into how ECU tracks faculty activities, bringing in data sources from across campus using Interfolio. In addition, she shared how they connect this centralized data source to their annual faculty evaluations, streamlining the process for stakeholders. Gohn noted the importance of gaining buy-in for these processes across the institution and ensuring that everyone knows how to use the system. “Interfolio is the centralized source for faculty data,” said Gohn. “We want to make sure that faculty understand all of the capabilities of the platform and how their data in directly impacts them later—whether it be with a personnel action or they’re generating an annual report for evaluations.”
How ECU Helps Faculty Succeed Using Interfolio
Knowing how critical it is to provide information and training about why and how to utilize campus systems, Gohn and the team at ECU dive right in during orientation. As faculty begin the academic year, Gohn gets in front of them to share details about Interfolio—including exactly how they’re going to use it during the first year as well as throughout their career at ECU. “We understood that there’s got to be a support structure in place,” shared Gohn. “Not just with what we configure and what we implement in the system, but a support structure that exists—and is part of my job—so that our faculty can be successful in the system.”
As part of their efforts, there are three steps the team focuses on each year to ensure a level of support that will result in success for faculty: a strategic training schedule, tailored newsletters, and an up-to-date resources website.
Step 1: Strategic Training Schedule
During the summer, Gohn gets a training schedule teed up for the entire academic year. Looking at the various deadlines for faculty and candidate submissions throughout the year, she aligns with the calendar to offer training sessions at times that will be most beneficial. Sessions are online and recorded, ensuring candidates can easily drop in from wherever they are or view them later if they’re unable to attend.
Step 2: Tailored Newsletters
Gohn also spends time creating newsletters tailored to the academic calendar, ensuring topics covered throughout the year align with important happenings and deadlines. For example, since she knows September has heavy deadlines for tenure promotion candidates, that newsletter typically includes details about training sessions offered related to that and some tips or FAQs around that topic.
Step 3: Resources Website
Finally, the team maintains a comprehensive support website with a variety of resources to support faculty. In this one-stop shop, faculty can find training documents, training session recordings, help guides, and other resources to support their efforts in Interfolio. In addition, ECU has specific pages for each of the processes in RPT, providing a holistic website that faculty can visit to get all the policy-related information they need.
Utilizing Technology to Simplify Workflows
These preemptive efforts on the institutional side all help set the faculty—as well as the administration and the institution itself—up for success. “With RPT, we were able to give administrators a look into the reappointment, tenure, and promotion process that they never had before,” shared Gohn. “The templates behind the actual workflows allowed us to really make sure that everybody’s doing the same exact thing within the same deadline. Back when we were using binders,” she noted, “the different components of the pad were all over the place. You can give guidance all day long, but when you have a bunch of hands in the pot, the pads would get to the institutional administrators and the personnel office, and they wouldn’t be able to find certain documents.”
For a deeper dive into how ECU uses Interfolio to simplify faculty reporting and evaluations, be sure to check out our on-demand webinar. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Interfolio FIS can support efforts at your institution, contact us today for a demo.