Faculty data is mission critical for universities working to achieve strategic goals, maintain accreditation and share their stories of impact on students, the community and the world. But what’s the value of faculty activity reporting to faculty themselves? Daily tasks add up to a lifetime of accomplishment, and capturing and recording those accomplishments has value to the individual and the institution. In fact, a complete and accurate record can reveal the ways in which faculty have fulfilled the goals that inspired them to a vocation in higher education, and reinvigorate the pursuit of goals not yet attained. Here’s how faculty can use their own data to engage more deeply with their life’s work:
Surface All of Your Accomplishments
Faculty are deeply committed to their work. But in the daily round of teaching, research and service to the university, they may not recognize how much they actually do. When faculty activity screens prompt them to report everything from high-impact teaching practices to presentations, publications and ongoing research, faculty often find that work they take for granted deserves recognition—and should therefore be entered into the system.
Raise Important Questions
The data entry fields of faculty activity software can start valuable conversations. When faculty wonder, “Am I expected to do all of these things?” or “How do I report X activity? I don’t see a field for it on the screen,” it’s great opportunity to discuss expectations with a colleague or mentor. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on, and commit to achieving, the goals that first prompted faculty to choose a career in higher education.
Build a New Collegiality
Though daily work often happens in isolation, faculty share a common purpose, and generally wish to support one another, their department and the institution as a whole. Spending time to enter each personal activity may not seem like a collegial activity, but it is. When it comes to accreditation, or how a department’s or unit’s success is measured, each person’s activities make a profound difference. With funding and enrollment in the balance, ensuring individual accomplishments are counted toward the whole is a service to fellow faculty and the university.
Invest Time to Save Time
It takes time to enter faculty activities. The best faculty activity databases minimize data entry by integrating with other campus systems, such as Banner and PeopleSoft, and by importing data directly from publication citation repositories like Crossref, Scopus, Web of Science and others. Still, faculty must do some data entry. That can seem like a burden until you consider the many times—eight to 12 times per year—faculty won’t be asked for the same information again and again because it’s now available for reporting without additional work from faculty.
Achieve the Most Meaningful Goals
Universities typically implement a faculty database to more efficiently and accurately understand the impact of faculty activities so they can report to a variety of stakeholders. But the data can do so much more, measuring success toward strategic goals, which could also be called ideals. And it’s anything but frivolous to strive for ideals like student success, greater diversity, community engagement or achieving higher levels of scholarship and research. Data brings insight, allowing faculty and the institution to better understand the impact of current efforts and determine the best methods for moving closer to the goal.
Faculty activity reporting software presents faculty and administration opportunities for greater insight and growth. To help faculty find the value, take a look at our e-book: How to Get Buy-In for Faculty Activity Reporting Software.