This post is part of a series on contemporary best practices for promotion and tenure reviews in higher education. For a fuller picture, take a look at our recently released free best practices checklist.
In an unexpected event, what will happen to your school’s faculty promotion and tenure records?
Most of us—fortunately—don’t walk around imagining worst case scenarios. But thinking about how you’ll protect your tenure and promotion files if the unexpected happens can prevent the review process from grinding to a halt and loss of critical information.
Here is a quick list of smart steps colleges and universities today take to minimize the losses of an unexpected disaster or breakdown.
Floods, fires, and other natural disasters can result in permanent loss of data if the information is stored only on your campus. Access to information can also be disrupted for extended periods of time if servers fail or if there’s only one person who really understands how to use your system and that person unexpectedly is out or leaves the institution.
Here are some key recommended principles to follow, within the modern academic technology ecosystem, to protect your promotion and tenure information, and the continuity of your faculty review processes:
- Make sure processes have no single point of failure. Digital systems for file management should be easy enough to understand and use that any appropriate user on campus can pick up the work.
- Use a system that provides anytime, anywhere access so work can continue if natural disasters, public health crises, or security issues interfere with people’s ability to get to campus.
- Make sure data is copied in real time to a second database that can be promoted quickly if the first database fails.
- Store information in data centers meeting best practice standards: located in low-risk floodplains, protected by automatic fire detection and suppression equipment, and equipped with generators able to provide backup power to the entire system.
- Several times a day, backup data to a geographically separate data center that meets the same key standards.
Assess your school’s practices
Interested in improving security around faculty candidate materials, or a number of other aspects of promotion and tenure review at your institution? Use this free best practices checklist to see how your processes compare to what the most progressive colleges and universities are doing.