With the difficulties of manually collecting, calculating and reporting on faculty activity data in support of Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation, many business schools decide to implement faculty activity reporting software. But given the lengthy accreditation and reporting cycle, it’s easy to let that initial urgency fade, which can delay time to value of the software and turn the next AACSB reporting deadline into another fire drill. Fortunately, by setting deadlines and prioritizing a single-focus project, implementing faculty activity reporting for AACSB accreditation can actually be a remarkably streamlined process. In gathering client insight and feedback from countless AACSB implementations, Digital Measures’ Onboarding Team began using a strategy that positions business schools to implement AACSB reporting in as little as 12 weeks. We call it the “1, 3, 5, 7 Mindset,” and it requires a laser focus, strong project team and a commitment to meeting deadlines. Here’s how an accelerated AACSB implementation works.
The 1, 3, 5, 7 Mindset
An accelerated AACSB implementation begins and ends with following these key concepts:
- 1: dedication to a single goal—in this case, AACSB reporting
- 3: fluency in three central AACSB reports, 15-1, 15-2 and 2-1
- 5: collecting five years’ worth of faculty activity data
- 7: auditing seven core areas that store data relevant to AACSB tables
1: Prioritize Ruthlessly
Rather than diving head first into the whole spectrum of capabilities a faculty activity reporting software can offer right away, this accelerated implementation approach focuses exclusively on AACSB data and reports.
“Historically we’ve kicked off implementations by first asking business institutions to review every single one of Activity Insight’s data collection screens for potential customization,” said Brett Bernsteen, one of Digital Measures Senior Onboarding Consultants. “Activity Insight has a lot to offer, but we’ve often found that valuable time gets consumed configuring areas of the system that don’t directly contribute to AACSB tables. Concentrating solely on the areas which are already optimized for AACSB reporting can cut out peripheral noise and drive down the time required for up-front customization.”
3: Know Your Tables
It’s no secret that AACSB’s three core tables, 15-1, 15-2 and 2-1, have a lot of moving parts and intricate calculations which can be difficult to digest. A few key Activity Insight features can help institutions demystify their tables early on. “A solid literacy of Activity Insight’s AACSB detailed report templates is such an underrated asset, so actively reviewing the central components of Activity Insight that feed into your AACSB tables during the administrator training process builds implementation momentum,” Bernsteen noted. “We’re actively educating administrators on the mechanics of AACSB’s tables during our Certification curriculum.” With knowledge comes power, and a solid handle on the intricacies of these reports can position institutions to more effectively populate, troubleshoot and validate their outputs.
5: Define Your Data Collection Scope
Importing basic faculty information such as qualifications, sufficiency, percentage of time dedicated to mission and other data points from existing campus systems reduces the time it takes to build the data you need for AACSB reporting. So does limiting the scope of information—for now. “Institutions often ask us how much time they should allow for faculty to entire their entire CV into Activity Insight, but we don’t recommend that for an AACSB implementation,” Bernsteen noted. Instead, the Onboarding Team works with clients to scope out their data collection initiatives with a more narrow focus in mind. “While it’s not a hard and fast rule, we’ve found that institutions are generally served well by starting with five years’ worth of data collection, and gradually expanding that scope as a more long-term goal.” Of course, taking advantage of Digital Measures’ direct citation repository integrations, including Crossref, PubMed and Scopus, can further reduce data entry time.
7: Test, Audit and Validate
It’s no secret that implementing a digital AACSB reporting solution requires some tactical faculty coaching. “In speaking with our system administrators, we found that faculty didn’t have great visibility into what they were responsible for entering across seven key activity areas (including publications, presentations, teaching, etc.) that can make or break AACSB tables, and we weren’t providing them with an easy way to audit the data entered by faculty,” Bernsteen explained. In response, Digital Measures recently worked alongside several business institutions to develop an “AACSB Required Fields Audit” report, which now comes standard as part of a new AACSB implementation package. “The Required Fields Audit has been a game changer,” Bernsteen noted. “It’s created so many additional inroads for fine-tuning tables and identifying potential deficiencies—and perhaps more importantly, it illuminates for faculty how their data entry efforts directly influence the accreditation process, which has been difficult to articulate in the past.”
Pro-tips for Accelerating Success
- Single-focus is key: one goal makes accelerated implementation attainable. In fact, because the system is preconfigured for AACSB, it’s an ideal fit for this approach.
Bernsteen’s advice: Stick to the goal. Once the project is complete, your Engagement Consultant will help you identify and achieve additional goals.
- Find campus allies: Loading personnel information and teaching data make up roughly two thirds of your AACSB implementation. Connecting with the people on campus who can give you access to those is critical.
Bernsteen’s advice: on Day 1 (or even before you begin), find out who on campus holds the keys to campus host systems that house this data. Start a dialog and share your time constraints—what you’re asking of them may take longer than you expect!
- Make your goal clear to faculty: An accelerated implementation requires steadfast prioritization. Share your fast-track priorities with faculty, and make it clear that additional goals will follow.
Bernsteen’s advice: Make sure faculty understand that you’re focusing on AACSB reporting first, so their data entry obligations will evolve gradually. Emphasize that they won’t need to enter everything immediately.
- Accelerated implementation isn’t for everyone: If you envision working toward multiple goals at the same time or in quick succession, a fast-track approach probably isn’t appropriate for your project. An accelerated implementation is single-focused.
Bernsteen’s advice: If you’re looking to achieve wider goals, or include other units on campus, a standard implementation approach and timetable will give you the best results.
Accelerated Implementation Speeds Time to Value
“Our goal for accelerated implementation is to drive down time to value so your system is delivering on its promise as quickly as possible,” Bernsteen said. Reinforcing this “1, 3, 5, 7 Mindset” when embarking on an AACSB reporting initiative can help deliver the most bang for your buck in speeding up time to value. Interested in fast-tracking your implementation of faculty activity reporting software? We’re here to help.