Discover the Secrets of Faculty “Buy-In”

March 16, 2022 Watermark Insights

Want your faculty to embrace your new online reporting system? Try these tips.

A small college might be able to get by with a paper-based system for reporting faculty scholarship, presentations, and publications, even using different data points and different ways of pulling that data together. But when a school starts to grow and hire more faculty, the need for a more efficient reporting process becomes apparent. However, moving from paper to an electronic system might be something the incumbent faculty resist.

This resistance was something that the College of Health & Human Services at the University of North Carolina Wilmington avoided through careful strategies for introducing Faculty Success. In a recent webinar, Robert Bucciere, Systems Training and Reporting Specialist, and Justine Reel, PhD, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, shared their tips for making a smooth transition to a new platform.

Start Small

Run a pilot with a small group of faculty. Along the way, that small group will become invested in the platform and help form the foundation for a new culture of online reporting. These participants will be an invaluable resource for feedback as you optimize the system for your organization. With the system more tailored to their needs, the faculty is more likely to "buy in."

Meet With Key Stakeholders First

Meet one-on-one with the faculty who will use the system first. These meetings will encourage buy-in and give you a window into their needs. For example, you may be focusing on how the new system can gather information on faculty publications and presentations, but your key stakeholders may be more interested in gathering data to use in annual reviews, service, awards, and teaching. "That's the great thing about Faculty Success," said Bucciere. "We [originally] wanted to look at scholarly work, but now we're capturing a lot more data and better meeting our needs as a college."

Develop a User Guide

Create a simple, user-friendly guide that is specific to your college. UNC’s team determined an effective format of 10 pages with screenshots and internal hyperlinks for navigating the document. The guide should help users determine what information to put into the system and what to leave out, and should be continuously updated to reflect the evolving needs of the users.

Provide Ongoing Training and Support

Provide training for new and existing users regularly. Zoom works very well for hands-on support sessions because participants can show their screens and have the instructor guide them in real time. "Having that ongoing group and individual support throughout the academic year, where they can reach out and get a question answered quickly, is so important," said Bucciere. "They don't have to wait until the deadline is looming. And that way, the information is going into the system correctly, and you're keeping it as clean as possible."

Sustain the Culture

Once a culture of online reporting has taken root, focus on sustainability. Maintaining ongoing support for users is critical, so keep communicating with each school and send out monthly reminders to faculty to keep up with data entry. "Try to get as much data in there as you can," said Bucciere, "because the more data you have in, the more useful it's going to be. And the more useful it is, the more faculty buy-in there will be."

Learn more best practices for obtaining "buy-in" for reporting college faculty activity by watching a replay of our webinar, College's Faculty Activity Reporting Transformation: "Buy-In" and Lessons Learned.

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