With 189 full-time instructional faculty (plus 18 non-instructional), East Stroudsburg University had hit the limit of manual management of review, promotion, and tenure processes on campus. Simply orchestrating secure access for reviewers to all faculty materials was headache enough. What’s more, the paper-based presentations often did not do faculty and their work justice—especially if a binder got mixed up or lost pages.

After running an RFP, ESU selected Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure to create a more equitable and supportive academic evaluation process. Key to swift adoption of the platform was careful planning by committed leadership. Early post-implementation wins for ESU have included a renewed trust between administration and faculty, as well as progress on a key strategic goal: transparent, frequent communication to faculty about the academic review process for Middle States accreditation.

Themes discussed:

  • Clear RPT Processes Strengthened Relationship Between Administration and Faculty
  • Smart, Thoughtful Implementation Plan
  • Middle States Documentation Goals Met

Strengthened Relationships Between Administration & Faculty

Prior to digitizing their review processes, ESU administrators and faculty had recognized the existing system didn’t showcase faculty work as well as they wished. There were concerns around issues of integrity and equity—for example, how could ESU compare 6 volumes to 1 volume? ESU brought faculty and administrators across the institution, including union delegates, together to design a better review system.

What started as monthly meetings between parties not used to easy alignment became a group united behind a mission to create more efficient, more transparent review processes and equitable evaluations across all departments.

Smart, Thoughtful Implementation Plan

A core committee primarily of faculty, along with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning & Assessment and other administrators, created an adoption plan that leveraged faculty’s positive past experiences with Interfolio. A number of ESU faculty were pleased to learn that data they had entered into their lifelong Interfolio Dossier years ago was still available to them.

This trust in the “faculty first” Interfolio system, along with its evident ease of use, made possible a cautious but willing cohort of faculty beta testers. Interfolio supported ESU with webinars and trainings for faculty throughout adoption of the system. Especially when the core planning committee saw professors new to the platform successfully “set an account up in less than 60 seconds” via Zoom training, they “breathed a sigh of relief” knowing word on campus would spread: Interfolio was easy for faculty.

Resisting the temptation to “turn on a switch” and get all faculty in Interfolio right away, the committee took a “parallel path” approach. While taking volunteers to pioneer the digital system, ESU kept up the old paper-based method alongside it—giving beta testers confidence that they would not lose anything in the move to Interfolio.

This thoughtful approach by the ESU committee balanced the clear need for change with necessary reassurance for faculty that the change would not sacrifice thoroughness or security of established processes.

Middle States Documentation Goals Met

While ESU is still in the process of rolling out Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure to all full-time faculty (and then considering implementation for part-time and temporary faculty), the institution has already benefited. Working with Interfolio brought faculty and administration together to create a more equitable review system. “We have a midpoint review with the Middle States,” says Joanne Z. Bruno, Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Chief Academic Officer at East Stroudsburg University, “and we’ve been documenting activities done with Interfolio and how those activities lead to a more equitable review process for our faculty. This is significant progress towards a key strategic goal for East Stroudsburg.”

This investment in faculty success is something that ESU expects the Middle States accrediting body to look upon favorably in their upcoming midpoint review.

“Leadership, including the President, was overwhelmed by reams of material that the faculty presented—frequently 4-5” binders in plastic sheet protectors without pagination. We are proud that we worked with our union to fix this manual, burdensome process for everyone.”

Joanne Z. Bruno, J.D., Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Chief Academic Officer, East Stroudsburg University

“We really want to support faculty in sharing how teaching, scholarship, and service may interrelate. This Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure platform has helped us to move in this direction.”

Joanne Z. Bruno, J.D., Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Chief Academic Officer, East Stroudsburg University

About Interfolio

Conceived by academics for academics, Interfolio is an education technology company headquartered in Washington, DC, USA and in Cambridge, England, UK. Founded in 1999, Interfolio operates the acclaimed Faculty Information System, the Researchfish impact assessment platform, and the widely used Dossier service. Over 400 clients based in 15 countries choose Interfolio’s technology for hiring and recruitment, academic appointments and timelines, activity data reporting, faculty reviews and promotions, and research impact analysis. For more information about Interfolio, please contact us below.

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