September 03, 2015
‘Activity Insight’ now available to faculty
University faculty wear many hats: educator, researcher and community service provider, to name a few. Keeping track of all those activities will get easier this fall with a new online tracking system.
The new system, called Activity Insight, is a widely used, cost-effective activity reporting platform that is intuitive and easy to use, according to Jim Garvey, interim vice chancellor for research.
“It should make keeping all levels of administration up to date on faculty accomplishments and provide faculty with an easy way to generate annual activity reports, CVs, biographies and other summaries of success,” Garvey said.
With Activity Insight, the university now has a solid system in place for quantifying scholarly activity and accomplishments.
“Each year, faculty plug their annual achievements into a template, and this is compiled by the department, college, and, historically, the Office of Vice Chancellor for Research,” Garvey said. “As those of us who have been doing this for decades know, this is an arduous and time-consuming process. Worse yet, it has been difficult for the university over the past few years to identify the human resources necessary to compile all of our annual data.”
Garvey said faculty members deserve credit for the many books, journal articles, exhibitions, presentations, documentaries, performances and other activities they perform in the course of their jobs.
“All the other wonderful products that our faculty and students generate are the bedrock of a university,” Garvey said. “Although SIU has ways to track external funding, teaching performance, faculty workload and other metrics of faculty activity, we did not have a way to accurately assess all of our activity in a standardized, easily accessed fashion.”
The university partnered with Digital Measures to centralize faculty activity reporting data in a single location, Garvey said, and faculty members will benefit from the solution’s robust data access and user-friendly interface. More than 500,000 faculty members nationwide record their accomplishments using this software.
The new platform provides reliable data access and security settings that ensure that faculty information is accessible by only authorized individuals at SIU, Garvey said. It allows faculty to record their teaching, research and service activities as they happen and to import data from other systems to reduce repetitive data entry. It also maintains data for multiple uses, such as compiling reports for program review and accreditation and relaying information to external collaborators.
Faculty members also can attach supporting files, such as grant funding letters, PowerPoint presentations, full-texts of publications and other important materials. They can also use it to identify collaborators for research and publications, prepare grant-related reports quickly and build a curriculum vitae that highlights the faculty member’s education and experience.
The software makes it easy to ensure the CV is always up to date with the latest teaching, research and service activities. It will also help faculty prepare promotion and tenure materials quickly and with the most current information, and to prepare activities documentation for accreditation packages, publicity, websites and other purposes.
Garvey said he has been using the Digital Measures platform to report his own activities.
“I have been pleased with the flexibility of the system and am happy to join the many other institutions using this system to track their productivity,” he said. “It is my sincere hope that my colleagues feel similarly.
“Ultimately, our goal is to identify common themes in creative activity and research at SIU and bring faculty together in unique ways to create interdisciplinary opportunities for our students and seek new sources of funding to keep our research engine running.”
Access to the platform is available for tenured and tenured-track faculty through the SalukiNet portal. Once faculty members access the portal, no additional login information is required, provided they have been previously registered in Activity Insight. Most existing faculty were automatically registered into the system in spring 2015.
New faculty who have not yet registered will need to contact the Activity Insight administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your full name, DAWG tag number, and college and department affiliation.
Questions about Activity Insight can be directed to the system administrator at email@example.com. There is an informational webpage for Activity Insight at: http://ospa.siu.edu/resources/reports/activity-insight.html.