Webinar Recap: How University of Kansas Approaches Program Review

Universities create a plethora of activity information and it can be leveraged to meet many needs. On Tuesday, Amanda Kulp, Program Manager in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of Kansas (KU) partnered with us to host the webinar, “On Board: How University of Kansas (KU) is Approaching the Kansas Board of Regents New Program Review Guidelines” for Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE) members.

Our discussion focused on how KU worked with Digital Measures to customize Activity Insight for specific reporting in response to the program review guidelines mandated by the Kansas Board of Regents. Kulp shared “The new set of guidelines…provided a really great opportunity to match Activity Insight, our faculty activity reporting system (internally called PRO for “Professional Record Online”), to that need and provide data to our faculty. That’s our focus today: how we are using the system to draw down campus-wide data and give it to faculty in a standard format so that they can prepare self-studies as part of their program review or external review process.”

Read on for three key takeaways and insight. Did you miss the webinar? Or want to watch it again? Here’s the recording. (Note: This webinar is only accessible to AAUDE members, if you are not a member we’ve also provided a copy of the presentation here.)

Background

Founded in 1866, KU prides itself on having produced 26 Rhode scholars (more than all other Kansas schools combined). As a whole, the university consistently earns high rankings for its academic programs. KU spans five campuses with a combined 13 schools throughout the state, including its core campus in Lawrence. With over 2,600 faculty and 28,000 students enrolled throughout its system, the university confers more than 6,500 degrees at all levels annually.

1) Choosing a Faculty Activity Reporting Solution

While their initial need was focused on comprehensive reporting for internal processes, KU uncovered that their faculty activity reporting solution could also be leveraged to produce reports that comply with the program review guidelines from the Kansas Board of Regents. In choosing a solution to work with, the ability to implement campus-wide as well as customize data entry and reporting outputs by department were important. Kulp noted, “We wanted to make sure there was a single database that stretched across the entire campus that would help us facilitate aggregated reporting and global searches… Sometimes you have different tools across different schools and the two never meet.” She added “[Activity Insight] is really flexible in that we have common elements campus-wide as well as custom pieces that are built for faculty in different academic disciplines.”

2) Getting Started with Activity Insight

Prior to the new set of program review guidelines released by the Kansas Board of Regents in 2014, KU had already been working in PRO to input data for 1,500 faculty across 9 schools and 1 college. Over the course of 5 years, KU completed a comprehensive load of full faculty CVs and and all faculty are using PRO.

While KU relied on a data entry team to complete their initial data input, they now leverage data feeds and extracts and also rely on faculty to maintain their own records. In their particular instance, KU brings faculty appointment information, courses, patents and internal grants into their PRO system (Activity Insight) and extracts this data to populate their warehouse and faculty web profiles. “We take data extracts at different points in the year…for major events like appointment changes, promotion and tenure, retirements and separations, we get that data and update the system.” said Kulp. Megan Sullivan, Solution Specialist at Digital Measures, further explained two data importing options “KU is using CSV file imports but data can also be imported by connecting with source systems like HR systems through our web services API.”

3) Building Custom Reports to Meet the Guidelines from Kansas Board of Regents

To abide by the Kansas Board of Regents guidelines, KU must complete program self-studies every eight years. First, a task force defined 23 questions for departments to adopt. By creating a standard set of questions for self-study, KU was able to guarantee a consistent set of outputs. To help faculty respond to these self-study questions, we provide all the data in PRO (Activity Insight) to leverage for written responses.” said Kulp. She continued, “They use this in combination with other kinds of data that we supply. For example, we also have data from other sources that we will put up side-by-side with data from PRO. If you pair the two datasets, it really provides faculty with a comprehensive picture of what their productivity looks like…this gives them a chance to see the whole story…and allows them to complete self-studies with a full spread of data.”

Along with the ability to respond to things like program review, KU is also able take advantage of the comprehensive faculty information in PRO for other needs that require aggregate reporting across the institution. Kulp explained, “Our system at KU is entirely transparent. Everything that is in PRO, the faculty can see and use. So, anytime a dean or department chair wants to run a particular report, whether it be for accreditation or annual reporting—they have access to go in and run the report on their own.” “Faculty also use PRO to update their web profiles as well as produce annual reports, promotion and tenure documents, biosketches, to store syllabi and other artifacts, etc.” she added.

Watch the webinar to see how the University of Kansas has worked with Digital Measures to develop custom reports to meet their reporting needs.

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