Universities embrace faculty activity reporting (FAR) software for its many reporting capabilities, easing everything from compiling faculty accomplishments and measuring impacts to accreditation reporting and faculty reviews. But what about you, the folks who have to enter that information into the system? FAR software companies know that there should be something in it for the faculty whose activities and accomplishments comprise the system. Here are seven ways that faculty activity reporting benefits faculty.
At universities without a robust faculty activity reporting system, faculty spend a substantial amount of time providing almost the same information in slightly different format again and again for various needs.(In fact our research shows that faculty received these requests eight to twelve times a year.) With faculty activity reporting software in place, needed data is already available to administrators and the Institutional Research team, so they can pull the report needed to answer stakeholders without asking faculty—again—for information.
All of Your Accomplishments in One Place
No more digging, googling or trying to remember what you did with pertinent information. It’s in one reliable database, available anytime you need it. So you’ll never again spend that panicky hour or two tearing apart your offices at home and on campus looking for the One Important Thing you can’t find for your reappointment review report or promotion and tenure dossier.
Time-saving Data Imports
In the early days of faculty activity reporting, faculty had to manually enter in all of their data. But software has evolved and that’s no longer the case. If your campus uses the right FAR software, the relevant data from your human resources and course systems will already be in the system. And you’ll be able to import citations from sources such as Crossref, Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science and ORCID. Expect to import between 50 percent and 85 percent of your activity information from existing sources, depending on your university’s approach to data imports.
Automatic Web Profile Updates
The best faculty activity reporting software can automatically feed the faculty web profiles on your university’s website. If your university takes advantage of that capability, you’ll be able to share your most recent activities and accomplishments with potential collaborators and students in real time. No more requests to marketing or IT to update your profile with a milestone accomplishment—it’s in your profile as soon as your university’s website syncs with the database.
Credit for More of What You Do
Databases made specifically for faculty activity reporting have dropdown menus that eliminate the need for keying in common selections. And those dropdowns have a hidden benefit. You’ll see the many categories and types of activities the system can accommodate. And while you might take for granted some of the things you regularly do, if there’s a place for them in the system, chances are, you should report them. In other words, you can report on a larger range of your activities, ensuring you get credit where it’s due.
In addition, the best FAR software accommodates non-paper files such as video, ensuring that faculty in performing and visual arts can fully represent their accomplishments in the system.
Perspective on Your Activities
Seeing all of the possible activities in dropdown menus can raise questions for faculty: Am I expected to do all of this? Chances are, the answer is no. The options are simply there for the faculty for whom they’re applicable. Still, it’s an opportunity to raise questions with a mentor regarding expectations and whether your accomplishments are on track to earn you tenure or a promotion.
Your CV, Your Way
The best faculty activity reporting software puts editing tools in your hands so you can make the most of the data you store in the system. Expect to be able to create and customize your CV for various purposes (annual review, promotion and tenure, grant proposals and more) directly within the software. The best solutions let you export those documents, too, so you don’t “lose” anything in the system.
Faculty activity reporting software makers have learned a lot from the app experience we all appreciate. It’s become easier to use and allows faculty to benefit from the data they enter into the system. Forget the old-school databases you used to dread. You can now expect less data entry and many more benefits for inputting your accomplishments into a faculty activity reporting system. As a faculty member, how have you used FAR to make your job easier? Share your experience in the comments section below.