Purchasing a Faculty Management Solution is a big decision for many colleges and universities. A Faculty Management Solution (FMS) can provide your institution with a comprehensive solution to collect, store and report on faculty data. When evaluating potential FMS’s, make sure you explore the following 7 considerations:
A good starting point is to find out if the FMS you are considering collects ALL the faculty information your institution needs. Some FMS’s have applications to collect and report on tenure-track faculty data, but part-time faculty data is left out of the equation. Having data for all types of faculty will enable your institution to make informed decisions, and provide accurate reporting to show compliance with accreditors’ standards.
Integrate with existing software on your campus
Currently, parts of your faculty data probably exist in many different systems and perhaps in paper form across different departments. A FMS should be able to provide all those who are involved in faculty management a single sign-on platform that integrates all the data for all your faculty in an intuitive interface. Your FMS should have connectors so that all your systems “speak” to each other.
You wouldn’t give your personal information to someone you didn’t trust, right? Your faculty data is no different. Make sure the FMS provider can present you with evidence of their security, integrity, and availability standards. IT representatives from your institution and the FMS provider should be included in the conversation.
The FMS you select should allow you to generate reports to help your institution make informed data-driven decisions. Accreditation compliance, course assignments, evaluation and promotion and professional development completion are just a few reports that you need. Some FMS’s have a variety of standard report templates, however, you should inquire about the solutions’ tools to generate custom reports to meet your institution’s unique needs.
Many software solutions have different levels of user access. Access roles might include read-only users, IT user, faculty users, administrative users, to name a few. Be sure to ask if these roles are available and if they are customizable. Having the ability to assign different user roles will allow you to ensure everyone at your institution is able to access the data and reports that are pertinent to their roles at your institution.
Training and Support
Training and support are essential in ensuring the adoption of the FMS at your institution. Be sure to ask what kind of training and continued support are included in your purchase. The FMS should have a team of technical staff who can train your institution on best practices for solution use as well as assist with setup, implementation, and customizations.
Many software companies sell their product in a subscription form. The price can vary by type and size of the institution. Be sure to ask what deliverables the software license includes, and what will cost extra i.e customizations, consulting, and implementation. The price may also vary by year, so be sure to ask if the price in subsequent years will increase, remain the same, or be discounted.
APL nextED is a single sign-on solution for managing all tenure and non-tenure faculty information. APL’s comprehensive platform goes beyond the traditional faculty management systems to provide institutions with an entire suite of academic operation resources in one place. APL’s platform brings together all of your academic information and processes in one central hub and equips all stakeholders involved in the faculty lifecycle with a solution to manage and report on recruiting, appointment, evaluation, promotion, and professional development data.