University College London

Recognising ongoing research as a central component of the academic role, the School of Management at University College London (UCL) was looking for a way to responsibly manage academic workloads in order to preserve research time. Building off their positive experience with Interfolio Faculty Search (FS) since 2015, UCL added Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) to create a system of record for tracking the allocation of professoriate time. Upon implementation, Interfolio FAR immediately resolved problems of course scheduling/assignment and institutional support for scholarship. Moving forward, UCL plans to leverage Interfolio longer-term as a platform upon which annual workload planning can be transparently and equitably managed.

Themes discussed:

  • Enhanced Ability to Attract Top Academic Talent: Interfolio Faculty Search Trusted by Faculty Applicants
  • Equitable Workload Allocation Across Research, Teaching, and Service: Interfolio Faculty Activity Reporting as System of Record for Faculty Activity
  • Quick Return on Investment  & COVID Continuity: Interfolio Implementation Team’s Effective Project Planning

Enhanced Ability to Attract Top Academic Talent

As a top internationally ranked business school, UCL’s School of Management wanted to invest in recruiting the best professors possible. Desirable academic candidates were often already familiar with Interfolio as a reputable and secure platform to manage their application processes. By adopting Interfolio Faculty Search, UCL was able to lower any potential barriers to application fatigue and make the search process much more streamlined for their applicants.  

Equitable Workload Allocation Across Research, Teaching, and Service

After recruiting the top academics to join their school, UCL wanted to make sure their professors were getting enough time for research. By creating a single source of data on academic activity reporting, UCL was able to transparently plan workloads and see where there were opportunities to carve out more research time. First, Interfolio as a data hub eliminated the perennial issue of multiple versions of a course schedule and streamlined course assignment. Second, Interfolio made it clearer where professors were spending their time, which allowed UCL to strategically make staff changes or administrative investments to support them. These two elements freed up academics’ time for research—keeping UCL at the forefront of management science.

Quick Return on Investment & COVID Continuity

Regular weekly meetings, an onsite configuration workshop, and open lines of communication for problem solving with the Interfolio team led to a fast implementation period, taking half the time of a standard implementation. As the team sought to bring data in efficiently and accurately, Interfolio leveraged UCL’s existing records of academic scholarship, which had already been validated by faculty for REF reporting purposes and transferred data into Interfolio directly from their REF database. In addition, to help UCL plan for future workload allocation exercises, Interfolio created templates for UCL’s teaching allocation process by uploading spreadsheets provided by UCL. Once implemented, Interfolio’s cloud-based platform enabled professors to access their information remotely during COVID which provided continuity of academic processes during uncertain times. Longer term, Interfolio FAR is an investment that a world-class business school needs to manage a global team of academics.

Faculty applicants are using a system they know from other institutions, so it makes the application experience faster and easier for them.

Dr. Nina Seppala, Deputy Director (Academic Affairs) | UCL School of Management

It was very useful to have a product that people were able to access from anywhere (office, home, and elsewhere). The benefit goes beyond COVID. Academics have sabbaticals and visiting research roles, and it’s useful to have a global product in terms of accessibility.

Dr. Nina Seppala, Deputy Director (Academic Affairs) | UCL School of Management

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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