As higher education grapples with increased faculty workloads and looks to improve faculty diversity, several institutions are discovering how a faculty information system (FIS) can help address these and other faculty affairs challenges.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn), Tulane University, and The University of North Texas Health Science Center are just three institutions using the Interfolio Faculty Information System to address faculty workloads and diversity – as well as achieve other important aims.
A Key Faculty Affairs Concern: Faculty Work-Life Balance
The first step in resetting faculty’s workload is to develop a clear, detailed picture of where faculty are spending their time. With that information, an institution can craft targeted policies designed to reduce the workload burden.
“At UM-Dearborn, we needed to get a system in place that would allow us to see what all the faculty are doing – and Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) was the right tool for us,” says Dr. Mitch Sollenberger, Associate Provost at UM-Dearborn. “Having the aggregated data from that system will inform our efforts to improve faculty work-life balance.”
Moreover, implementing FAR as part of their FIS is more cost-effective than hiring information technology staff to build a homegrown system, Dr. Sollenberger observed.
Faculty Affairs Staff Use Data to Target Ad Spending
Both Tulane University and UM-Dearborn use Interfolio Faculty Search module within their FIS to gather data on how applicants find their faculty job postings. That information, in turn, guides advertising choices.
“Prior to adopting Interfolio, we tried to diversify our applicant pool by investing a lot of money in different places, and we didn’t know what was successful,” explains Dr. Sollenberger. “With Faculty Search, being able to ask the candidates where they found the ads was a game-changer because it enabled us to focus our advertising spending on the sites that attract the most candidates.”
Tulane University Assistant Provost for Finance and Operations and Chief of Staff Kady Weingart echoed this sentiment: “[Interfolio] Faculty Search was really important for our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.”
A Modern FIS Supports Grant Management
In addition to using Interfolio Faculty Search, Tulane University is using Interfolio FAR to track its faculty’s grants.
“At Tulane, we’re launching a grant management lifecycle project, using FAR to track grants faculty applied for and grants that received funding,” says Weingart.
FIS Supports Faculty Recognition and Development
With the right FIS, institutions can more easily recognize faculty accomplishments and identify areas where development is needed.
“We have important faculty data in one centralized location thanks to Interfolio Dossier and Interfolio Data Service [a unique component of FAR], which enables us to easily pull in faculty publications data,” says Peg Demers, the Chief of Staff and Executive Director, Academic Planning and Operations, at The University of North Texas Health Science Center. “That data allows us to recognize all that faculty do and identify gaps where we can develop our faculty’s skills.”
Other FIS Strengths
Using the Interfolio FIS to Power Institutional Success
The uses of a FIS highlighted in this article are just a few of the many applications a comprehensive, scholar-friendly FIS enables. To learn about other potential benefits of the Interfolio FIS—and how it can empower faculty and strengthen your institution—get your free copy of our popular White Paper: The Faculty Information System.
You can also learn more insights from the faculty affairs professionals featured in this article by listening to this 2022 Interfolio Summit session.