Institutions of higher education thrive when faculty can do their best work. Faculty members need time and institutional support to do their best work in research, teaching, and service. But, increasingly, faculty report bigger workloads and less time to spend on tasks and projects that really matter to them.
Still, data entry is an essential part of the job. Being able to demonstrate teaching outcomes or research accomplishments is key to career advancement—it allows faculty to tell the story of their success. Not only that, but robust data about faculty activities gives visibility to the institution about workloads across faculty members. Many institutions, such as Texas Christian University (TCU), are using this data to rebalance workloads and increase equity and inclusion.
Showcasing faculty accomplishments may seem unavoidably time-consuming, but there is another way. Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) helps thousands of faculty members not only keep track of their data but also use it for important career events—all while minimizing the headache of manual data entry.
What Is Faculty Activity Reporting?
Interfolio FAR is a cloud-based platform used by institutions to collect their faculty members’ contributions and achievements, including courses, research projects, grants, committees, awards, and publications. FAR allows institutions to maintain one searchable hub of faculty data, which can then be used for internal and external reporting, including for accredition, RPT processes, and more.
Benefits of FAR for Faculty
For faculty members, FAR puts data in their hands. The information they enter is theirs to edit or update at any time, giving them control of their professional story—and saving them time when they need to use that data to populate annual reviews, promotion and tenure cases, award nominations, and more. Up-to-date faculty profiles also serve as a reference point for administrators, who can go into the system for answers to their queries rather than reaching out again to faculty members.
At Scripps Research, faculty appreciate that Interfolio has created efficiencies within their workloads, as well as provided transparency into their review duties. “Our faculty found that the Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) module made things much easier for them,” explains Katrina Schreiber, Director of Academic Operations at Scripps Research. “Before, we didn’t have any way for them to go to one place … So their reaction to using FAR was, ‘Oh, this is an improvement to my workload because I can now go to this one place and validate my activity data,’ which is automatically pulled in by the Interfolio Data Service.”
When faculty take full advantage of this system, it not only ensures the full scope of their work is represented but also makes it easier to see what’s working and what isn’t—leading to data-informed decisions that benefit students, faculty, and the institution as a whole.
Improve Student Outcomes
Each class and curriculum is unique, and each lesson plan is meticulously built based on the faculty member’s expertise, goals, and desired outcomes for students. Any faculty activity reporting system must also incorporate teaching records, including courses taught, student evaluations, and more. By keeping track of their teaching data, faculty and institutions gain a holistic view of efforts to improve student outcomes.
Expand Research Opportunities
Faculty with up-to-date web profiles can showcase their research and publications to more easily find new collaborators, funders, and research opportunities. These profiles contain a wealth of important faculty data, and this data should be easy to authenticate and maintain. With FAR, institutions can empower faculty members to spend less time inputting details about their research and more time focusing on the research itself.
Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Faculty activity reporting, when done well, offers a comprehensive view of each faculty member, highlighting work that is often invisible and making it easier to identify inequitable workload patterns. Read more about how TCU uses FAR to ensure equitable faculty workloads and reviews.
Enhance Career Opportunities
Anyone who’s gone up for tenure can tell you that the process is neither short nor easy—and it requires sifting through at least five years of data. Even annual reviews can be a burden of information-gathering. Faculty can help streamline their time spent on tenure, promotion, and reviews by making sure their publications and professional experiences are accurate and up to date in their FAR profile. In our recent faculty survey in partnership with Hanover Research, the majority (61%) of respondents said that faculty information and workflow technology designed specifically for faculty would be highly helpful in their career success.
Benefits of FAR for the Institution
At the institutional level, understanding faculty’s efforts to improve student success and retention can lead to insights about mentoring, teaching, curriculum, and more. FAR data can also be used to:
- Amplify faculty expertise to attract talented students and prospective faculty, leading to increased rankings
- Connect research to improved community outcomes
- Ensure equitable allocation of work and consistent reviews and promotions
- Simplify committee review processes through a single source of truth
- Streamline grant writing and funding applications
FAR in Practice: East Carolina University
With Interfolio, East Carolina University (ECU) has designed faculty reporting and evaluation processes that benefit faculty and administrators alike. With around 2,000 faculty members on staff, ECU implemented FAR to capture faculty data needed for institutional, departmental, and college-level reporting.
ECU’s Office for Faculty Excellence makes it easier for their faculty to learn and use the system with a few key tools: a strategic training schedule, tailored newsletters, and an up-to-date resources website. For a deeper dive into how ECU uses Interfolio to simplify faculty reporting and evaluations, check out our on-demand webinar.
Supporting Faculty Across Disciplines
Not all disciplines are as straightforward as others when it comes to compiling and evaluating their work. For example, faculty members in the arts often experience a more inconvenient and burdensome process. One professor at Queens College, the City University of New York (CUNY), who has experienced this difference firsthand is Meghan E. Healey, Interim Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs and a Professor of Scenography in the College’s Department of Drama, Theater, and Dance.
“I’m a professional costume, scenic, and puppet designer,” said Healey. “I was first tenured under Queens College’s old system in 2015, when we would carry giant plastic tubs full of our materials to the dean’s office, and they would have to devote two whole classrooms to storing our tubs of materials.” In addition, Healey noted that arts had to fill out a form that was more tailored for research faculty.
In contrast, after the institution implemented Interfolio, Healey felt “much more welcomed into the process of submitting my materials and that my work was going to be formatted for external and internal review in a way that truly reflected my contributions to my discipline in the College.”
Just as scholar artists can more easily showcase their work with Interfolio, so can those faculty members whose contributions include service or community projects. In fact, this faculty-friendly technology enables faculty to report a variety of activities—not just research publications. “Interfolio creates an even playing field for all disciplines in how they showcase their achievements,” shared Healey.
How Interfolio Puts Faculty First With FAR
At Interfolio, we understand that faculty success equals institutional success. Faculty members need to tell the story of their experiences and accomplishments, and FAR can help make sure that story isn’t reduced to constant data entry. But it’s not enough to simply implement technology—faculty buy-in is vital. In our faculty survey with Hanover Research, 75% of respondents using Interfolio shared that the technology positively impacted their ability to showcase work and accomplishments.
With FAR, institutions can maintain a central hub of faculty activity data and produce reports for accreditation, annual reviews, institutional research, and more. Plus, faculty can quickly and easily generate accurate, up-to-date CVs and web profiles, showcasing their achievements with time-saving tools that are built with faculty in mind. It’s a win-win for institutional leadership, administrators, and faculty alike.