Automating Faculty Processes Through a Workflow Solution
Automating faculty processes through a workflow solution is a wonderful thing. Imagine a workday where you are not managing any paper, phone calls requesting status information are reduced to a minimum, processes move quicker, and first-time quality prevents issues from occurring later in the process. This is achievable when using a faculty information system! At Mountain Pass Solutions, we have numerous stories of how automation has positively impacted the day-to-day activities of faculty affairs.
Many of our customers inquire about automating a specific workflow or two. This is a great way to start! However, once they use the system, they see the benefits and look to automate additional workflows. Starting with a few select workflow processes is a good place to start and striving to automate them all is a wise goal. When you do, you will have a dashboard (which can function as your To-Do list) with all your processes and data in one place. You’ve not only made the job easier, but you’ve also set yourself up for simple resolution of future requests (activity reporting, DEI analysis, quick faculty counts from your roster, etc.).
At Mountain Pass, our customers have created all sorts of successful workflows through our SmartPath product. Most customers focus on the basics: appointment, onboarding, promotion, and tenure, but they’ve also used the tool to automate other workflows like post-tenure review, annual review, credentialing, teaching, and OEO (Office of Equal Opportunity) candidate demographics. Through its configurability, our workflow engine can automate just about anything. If you are investing in a technology solution, why not utilize all of its capabilities and further create a return on investment?
In a later blog post, I will discuss in more detail the importance of fully understanding what a vendor means by ‘configurability’ and identifying the nuance in this topic. In this post, I wanted to focus on automating three specific functions in a faculty affairs workflow: digital packets, review committees, and external evaluators.
Digital Packets – Packets, casebooks, dossiers, etc., preparation is time-consuming and tedious. A seemingly simple requirement ends up being difficult to deliver as everyone has different needs. We have found that in any workflow our customers average over 6 different versions of the packet. Many times, the versioning involves rearranging the same information or including/excluding certain information. When automating workflows, make sure your software solution lets you easily manage this versioning.
Review Committees – Easy access to materials, controls around committee members, and the ability to collaborate and vote are what automation can help with. On average, our customers have over 4 different committees involved in faculty affairs workflows.
External Evaluators – This function requires a lot of management – identifying evaluators, ensuring they meet criteria, soliciting the evaluation, collecting it, and then weaving the evaluation results into a workflow is one of the hardest jobs a faculty affairs department has. A workflow solution will automate all of this. One of our clients collects over 1,000 evaluations per year for just one workflow!
Our Buying Guide was written to help you evaluate a potential faculty information system purchase. If you have not downloaded it, please do. It’s informed from our team’s combined experience working in faculty affairs and with faculty affairs departments.
Deb Komorowski is the Vice President, Client Relations for Mountain Pass Solutions.
With over 40 years of experience leading workflow optimizations and human resources departments in higher education, Deb brings extensive knowledge in faculty position management to the Mountain Pass team. Using her expertise, Deb leads the charge to improve workflow efficiencies to save institutions time and money.