University of Delaware

Managing faculty data

Faculty180 software aims to simplify various planning and reporting activities

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3:04 p.m., Dec. 3, 2014--Just two years ago, all supportive documentation for faculty promotion and tenure (P&T) at the University of Delaware was submitted via binders of paperwork. Each binder had to be physically acquired, distributed, collected and recollected as signatures were captured and each candidate moved along in the process. 

“It became very easy to get buried in lots of paperwork,” said Matt Kinservik, vice provost for faculty affairs who oversees the University’s P&T process. “This year is the first time we’re doing P&T online and while it is vastly improved, we have still experienced some bumps.”

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A new data management and reporting software system on the horizon aims to change all of that. Faculty180, developed by software firm Data180, seeks to completely migrate the University’s manual, paper-based evaluation processes into Faculty180’s cloud-based environment and create a portal for the large amount of faculty data dispersed among the electronic silos of various legacy systems.

“The greatest attribute of this system is that control lies in the hands of faculty,” explained John Sawyer, associate provost for institutional research and effectiveness and implementation project leader for Faculty180. 

“Currently data on faculty accomplishments and activities is incomplete or spread across various locations, sometimes in duplication, making information very difficult and time consuming to access. That can possibly result in missed opportunities for faculty and the University,” he said. “Now all of that data will quickly be within reach and at a single point of entry and retrieval.” 

Using Faculty180, all aggregate faculty data will become easily searchable, pulling together existing information, which will reduce duplication of effort. Benefits of Faculty180 include:

  • Management of faculty data, such as CV and bibliographic information, scholarship, service, awards and affiliations, will reduce redundancies across different legacy systems platforms;
  • Paper-dependent processes, such as P&T and contract renewals will be streamlined;
  • Data analytics will support performance evaluations and easy reporting tools that can be customized for specific needs, such as grants and accreditation; and
  • Networking tools are available to encourage academic partnerships and collaboration, as faculty can find other faculty who also are doing the kind of work in which they are interested.

“Eventually the system could replace the University’s current faculty performance appraisal process and fully automate workflows for the contract renewal and P&T processes,” noted Kinservik.  

Executing the plan will gradually take place over the course of about a year, beginning in January 2015. “It will take time to load the system and for users to get used to it prior to full implementation,” Sawyer noted.

Soon the University will begin testing the system and developing special reporting templates to meet the needs of each college. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend one of two information sessions on Dec. 10, during which they can review the system and ask questions of Data180 representatives.

Information sessions

Two separate information sessions on Wednesday, Dec. 10, are planned to introduce academic administrative staff and faculty to Faculty180. Experts from Data180 will be on campus to demonstrate the product, answer questions and address concerns.

Session 1 for Academic Administrators

Dec. 10, from 1-2 p.m., in Gore 104

Session 2 for Faculty

Dec. 10, from 4-5 p.m., in Gore 103

Who is Data180?

“Founded by academics for academics, Data180 exists to make a real difference for educational institutions. Our roots and ongoing passion for the world of education not only inspire our products; they permeate our culture. And it’s no wonder given the founders of Data180 have spent more than 50 years in higher education as faculty members and administrators.” -- From the Data180 website

Article by Jawanza Ali Keita

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