Academic scholar holding tablet seated in university lecture hall

Your institution has the most valuable resource in the world: data.

But when it comes to academic data — what your faculty are researching, where they’re publishing, how they’re serving your institution and its communities — are you managing this resource as well as you could? Are you extracting as much value as possible? And using academic data to power multiple institutional aims?

If you’re wondering just how powerful and adaptable academic data is, take a look below at just a few of the institutional goals you can achieve with academic data management.

Academic Data Management Enables Collaboration

Given the growing importance of interdisciplinary research, it’s critical that your faculty can easily find internal collaborators.

At the University of Wyoming and California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), administrators are helping faculty do just that with Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR). A cloud-based software module, FAR enables institutions to capture trustworthy data about their faculty members’ academic work. Scholars (and administrators) can also search the FAR database by keyword for potential collaborators.

“FAR is a great way for our faculty to find colleagues they can collaborate with,” says Aneesa McDonald, Faculty Affairs Specialist at the University of Wyoming. 

Dr. Binod Tiwari, Associate Vice President for Research & Sponsored Projects at CSUF, echoed this remark: “We chose FAR to help faculty find cross-disciplinary partners on research projects and creative activities.”

Academic Data Helps Your Institution Tell Its Story

Institutional trustees, state legislators, faculty candidates, and other stakeholders want to know: 

  • What are your faculty’s latest accomplishments? 
  • How are they serving their communities? 
  • What expertise can your faculty offer to tackle tough questions?

When you have a searchable database of faculty activities, you have the answers to these questions at your fingertips. 

“We’re trying to capture all faculty activities that can tell our story – not only the story of the department or university but of individual faculty members, and FAR can help us capture and organize that data,” says Dr. Kristin K. Stang, Associate Vice-President of Faculty Affairs & Support at CSUF.

Academic Data Management Powers Reports

When your institution has an academic data management system with reporting capabilities, you can generate custom reports needed for accreditation reviews — or other purposes.

For example, at the University of Wyoming, when trustees recently asked about faculty members’ activities in the northern part of the state, FAR enabled a quick answer. 

“I can easily pull a report and say, ‘We had a faculty member there two weeks ago, and a month ago, we had 10 faculty members there who shared their knowledge about Yellowstone National Park’s ecosystem during the celebration of Yellowstone’s 150th birthday,” explains Ms. McDonald.

Academic Data Management Helps You Identify Experts

When journalists and research funders inquire about certain topics, your institution’s administrators and communications staff can search FAR’s data to identify relevant experts. 

“In California, we get a lot of inquiries about subjects that are impacting our communities, such as homelessness, wildfires, and climate change,” says Dr. Tiwari. “And with FAR, we have the ability to identify relevant faculty experts who can speak to the media or partner with groups working on these issues.”

A Precious Resource

Are You Effectively Managing Your Academic Data?

As the anecdotes in this article show, academic data is so valuable because, when it’s correctly captured and stored, it can be harnessed for many purposes: faculty collaborations, impactful stories, accreditation and reporting, and community engagement. 

If you’d like to assess how well you’re managing your academic data, consider reviewing our Best Practices Checklist: Faculty Information Management.
You can also learn more insights from the faculty affairs professionals featured in this article by listening to this 2022 Interfolio Summit session.