Webinar Recap: Assessing the Impact of Faculty Contributions, A Story from NDSU

We have an insightful group of clients at Digital Measures and we love sharing their successes. Yesterday, Dr. Shontarius Aikens, AACSB Accreditation Manager, and Dr. Tim Peterson, Professor of Management, of North Dakota State University (NDSU) joined us for a webinar. 

Our discussion focused on how NDSU is managing and measuring the impact of their faculty contributions and how this aligns with the mission of both the College of Business and university as a whole. Peterson, who also served as Associate Dean of the College of Business, stated “We need to show all of our stakeholders that we are making a positive impact in business and in society. We have a way to capture impact information and also provide it to the leadership of the college so they can make the right decisions.” 

Read on for three key takeaways and insight from our speakers. Did you miss the webinar? Or want to watch it again? Here’s the recording.

1) Start with Key Guiding Questions

A university should answer these fundamental questions to help shape their vision for how they will define impact. Consider asking yourself: “What is our unique university mission,” “Is impact measured by intellectual contributions or a combination of other factors” and “What is the appropriate time period for measuring impact.” It’s also important to factor in your university’s balance between teaching, research and service.

According to Peterson, a connection with NDSU’s mission was key, “As a land-grant university we have a unique mission at the university-level and we should be able to demonstrate that some of the work that we do inside the College of Business meets that land-grant mission.” He continued, “We came to the realization that the activity could happen at any time during our faculty member’s careers. We needed to capture this information and store it so that we can then make an informed decision later on about whether or not we want to use it as part of our impact around a certain area.”

2) Document How You Will Define Impact

Before attempting to measure or manage impact, consider the multiple components that will define it. Save yourself time by determining what you want to document and what will support your accreditation guidelines or other reporting needs. Consider the variety of different activities that the faculty invests its time in and determine how each activity contributes to your overall impact story. Peterson explained, “We started with the AACSB definition of impact and pulled out the three statements that we thought spoke directly to what we were trying to do. He continued, “Teaching accounts for 50% of what we do, followed by 30% research/outreach and 20% service.”

3) Determine How to Collect and Report Impact Results

Once you have established your vision for communicating impact—and what you will capture in order to demonstrate it—have a repository in place to store and report the information you need. NDSU worked with Digital Measures to customize Activity Insight to reflect their vision of impact. This included creating specific data collection fields, as well as adding the ability to flag impact activities and attach supporting documentation. Shontarius Aikens, who led this effort, further explained, “We are able to put rich qualitative data in the comments section that describes each particular item…so that deans, associate deans and directors of accreditation can have a quick understanding of how each activity item has been identified for impact. We also have the capability to reference specific documents and artifacts pertaining to each record so we have evidence there when our review team comes in.”

Watch our webinar to see actual examples of how NDSU collects impact information as well as the specific custom reports built for them.

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