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IU faculty to begin using Activity Insight tool for annual reporting

Apr. 13, 2016

IU faculty across all campuses are encouraged to begin using a new tool called Activity Insight to create a more efficient annual-reporting process.

lowden, massey and thomas

From left, Rob Lowden, IU associate vice president, enterprise systems; Anne Massey, dean’s research professor of information systems at IU’s Kelley School of Business and associate vice president in the office of the executive vice president for university academic affairs; and Jim Thomas, director of enterprise business systems, enterprise software. | PHOTO BY ALAN MAURO, UITS

Since 2008, faculty members have used a custom-built web application called Faculty Annual Reporting to file annual reports. The yearly reporting process is used by deans and department chairs to measure faculty accomplishments, including research and creative activities, service and engagement, and teaching, in order to set salary.

The new tool is scheduled to be in place at IU before the fall 2016 semester, with faculty using it for annual reporting as the calendar year comes to a close. While faculty members will be able to use either the current Faculty Annual Reporting tool or the new Activity Insight tool for now, the Faculty Annual Reporting tool will eventually be retired and use of Activity Insight will become mandatory.

The shift to the new tool is meant to give IU faculty members a more intuitive product that improves user friendliness and reduces the amount of manual data entry required for annual reporting, but also provides added benefits of professional value. That includes being able to create a curriculum vitae and update faculty webpages, as well as identifying potential collaborative opportunities and generating bio-sketches for grant proposals.

In addition, due to agreements various academic publishers have with Digital Measures, the company that makes Activity Insight, data about faculty publications can be automatically populated, easing the manual workload of IU professors and instructors.

"We chose Activity Insight as our new tool for two key reasons: ease of use and usefulness. Activity insight is very intuitive and should require little or no training to get a faculty member up and running," said Anne Massey, dean’s research professor of information systems at IU’s Kelley School of Business and associate vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs. "When we were looking at the vendor options, Digital Measures and Activity Insight could provide support across research, creative activity, teaching and service in all its flavors. We were hopeful that this solution was able to meet the varied needs of all our campuses and the varied emphases that are placed on different faculty at different points in their career across the board." 

Massey led the project from a faculty perspective, while the technologial side was coordinated by Rob Lowden, IU associate vice president of enterprise systems, and Jim Thomas, director of enterprise business systems and enterprise software.

The practical uses of Activity Insight is what led IU to choose the tool, joining other Committee on Institutional Cooperation member schools in implementing the Digital Measures product. The committee is a group of research institutions from Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago.

The new program aligns with priorities outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a vibrant community of scholars.

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