Beginning in fall 2022, the VPF Division began a focused effort to streamline and simplify several of our processes. We’re grateful for the many hours that our colleagues across the Division, as well as our campus partners, have dedicated to carefully rethinking the way that we do things and implementing changes. We’d like to especially thank the Academic Personnel Office for tackling some particularly complex and longstanding issues and OFEW for their analysis of search timelines.
Our division’s initiative has strong alignment with the EVCP Hermalin’s priorities, and the VPF Division has worked with the Reducing Bureaucratic Burden Taskforce to utilize the feedback they have gathered and the recommendations from their academic personnel subgroup to help shape our ongoing efforts.
Below, we have listed the changes that have been made so far as well as those that are in progress. In the spirit of continuous improvement and transparency, we plan to keep up these efforts and post additional updates to this page as projects are completed and new ideas emerge.
Changes made as of September 2023:
- A new form for non-threshold merit reviews and five-year reviews through Professor, Step IX is now available on BMAP, for use by department chairs and deans of professional schools. This replaces the “departmental recommendation letter.” A similar form is forthcoming for those in the Teaching Professor series.
- A new form for requesting faculty FTE changes and adding 0% appointments is now available on BMAP. Memos for this purpose will no longer be required.
- The number of external letters required for many types of academic personnel cases has been reduced
- The VPF has updated and increased delegated authority to deans for a variety of academic personnel actions. Details on these delegations were sent directly to the deans.
- APO has updated the leave forms to remove the Adobe digital signature requirement. Forms may now be submitted with a wet signature or signed digitally with the user’s program of choice.
- APO has hired a Manager of Academic Labor and Employee Relations who started in June 2023. This is an additional staff member that will add employee and labor relations expertise to the APO team as well as relieving other APO staff of these duties.
- Text has been added to the achievements section in APBears clarifying that, if faculty have already included the material in their CV or self-statement, they do not need to enter it separately into APBears.
- Tentative decisions for academic reviews will no longer be issued. This enables us to issue a final decision more quickly, and units can request reconsideration if needed. The VPF will continue to issue preliminary assessments for tenure decisions.
- The Campus Ad Hoc Review Committee (CAHRC) waiver process has been streamlined.
- The requirement for an annual endowed chair budget has been eliminated.
- The VPF changed the annual on-cycle FTE request template to reduce workload and increase the focus on justification.
- The VPF moved up the on-cycle FTE timeline to support units’ ability to plan their searches. Notification of search authorizations were sent out as promised on May 17, 2023, and letters will be sent out over the summer instead of fall.
The senior faculty financial analyst has worked on streamlining the sharing of FTE information with the Budget Committee.
- APO has streamlined internal procedures in consultation with the Budget Committee.
OFEW has added several new clarifying and streamlining features to AP Recruit, including the ability to copy a recruitment, an application submission button, and a “veils” feature that allows departments, as they wish, to have more control over what applicant materials reviewers see at different points in the recruitment process.
The non-senate faculty recruitment process has been streamlined by removing APO items from the search plan checklist, shortening the minimum posting time to 15 days, and removing deans and department chairs from the approval workflow. OFEW has removed the requirement that non-senate searches with fewer than 10 applicants stay open for 30 days.
The senate faculty recruitment process has been streamlined by communicating annual senate search recommendations earlier so that they will be available to units as they draft their search plans (see above), adding selection process requirements to the senate search plan checklist, adding the budget analyst to the search approval process, and removing the requirement that OFEW reviews/approves senate search deadline extensions.
- The Retirement Center has streamlined access to retirement information and resources through improvements to our website design, the creation of robust FAQ and troubleshooting webpages, monthly and weekly digital communications, weekly drop-in virtual office hours, and bi-weekly in-person office hours.
- Based on survey feedback received from deans who have recently completed the 5th-year dean review process, the instructions for the dean’s self-statement have been revised to narrow the scope and shorten the expected length of the statement.
Changes in progress:
- Eliminating the need for an attestation if receiving more than 2.5/9ths in summer salary from federal funding sources.
- Changing Prior Approval Request verbiage in OATS to align with APM 025 and allow Category I approvals for up to five years.
Ideas under consideration:
- Exploration of the feasibility of having teaching evaluations automatically uploaded to APBears.
- Decrease in the number of memos for actions requiring VPF approval (move to forms).
- Other ideas are also being actively explored.