Top 5 Project: Faculty Issues, Recommendations, and Decisions

The issues and recommendations presented in this document are:

Issue 1: Data Quality

Data quality issues stem from the lack of commonly agreed on data entry rules. Departments, schools, colleges, and campuses do not enter data in consistent ways, nor does the payroll system require them to do so. As a result, data entry practices have evolved differently for different units. From the data processing perspective, the payroll systems are very flexible, but lack some of the needed data validation and auditing processes.

Examples: Inconsistent data plays a significant role in the following issues:

  • Multiple Rates for Some Faculty Members - Some faculty members have multiple appointments, which result in different rates being stored in the payroll system (HEPPS). For example a faculty member, who is also an academic administrator, has at least two appointments and may be paid from one or more appointments. HEPPS cannot accommodate more than seven distributions for an appointment. When an appointment exceeds that limit, another appointment has to be created for the additional distributions.

  • Reporting - It is difficult to determine the correct rate.

  • Faculty FTE Calculation - There is no commonly agreed on, institutional way to calculate full-time equivalent (FTE). Multiple appointments and the limitation of seven distributions per appointment create problems when trying to calculate FTE. Because FTE information is not available and there is not a standard formula for deriving the information, it is possible for a faculty FTE calculation to yield a result greater than 100%.

Faculty members with multiple appointments and additional distributions appear in reports multiple times and with multiple rates.

Underlying issue: There are two underlying issues: Data quality and inadequacies in the existing payroll system.

Recommendations:

Short-term: Maintain the status quo.

Mid-term:

  • Develop cross-UW data input rules.

  • Modify existing systems to incorporate data input rules and/or educate the approximately 300 payroll coordinators about data input rules.

  • Audit to those rules.

Long-term: The long-term solution is new UW-wide payroll and HR systems that have clear data entry rules.

Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group Decision: In the January 18, 2008 meeting, the Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group suggested that we solicit input regarding the impact that changing data input rules might have on Faculty Effort Certification (FEC). The meeting to discuss the impact took place on January 31, 2008. The outcome of the meeting was an agreement to review any proposed changes to the data input rules with stakeholders from the FEC project.

Issue 2: Lack of Agreement on Job Classification Codes and their Aggregation

There is no University-wide agreement on reporting categories and the job classification codes associated with those categories. Departments, schools, colleges, and campuses make up their own groupings. HEPPS does have categories with associated job classification codes, but people in the departments are not necessarily aware of them.

Examples: One category is perm research faculty.

Impact: Cross-university reports with consistent, agreed on reporting categories and job classification codes are not available.

Underlying issue: Lack of agreement on reporting categories and associated job classification codes.

Recommendation:

Short-term: Adopt the reporting categories and job classification codes that go with those categories developed by the Faculty Task Team.

Mid-term: NA

Long-term: NA

Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group Decision: In the January 18, 2008 meeting, the Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group suggested that we determine the relevance of the uncategorized job class codes. In a February 7, 2008 meeting, the Faculty Task Team determined which job class codes should be reported. Click here to view the reporting categories and job classification codes.

Issue 3: Lack of Agreement on Data Definitions

There are no institutional definitions for terms related to counting faculty.

Examples: We need accepted, institutional definitions for terms such as: appointment, faculty, job class code, census date, organization code, regular equivalent earnings, appointment begin date, appointment end date, appointment status, and actual distribution.

Impact: Itís difficult to produce institutional reports without institutional definitions.

Underlying issue: Lack of institutional definitions.

Recommendations:

Short-term: Determine additional stakeholders who need to validate definitions.

Mid-term: NA

Long-term: The Faculty Task Team has developed definitions. After validation by appropriate stakeholders, the definitions will be stored in a central location as the institutional definitions.

Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group Decision: In the January 18, 2008 meeting, the Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group suggested that we solicit input about this issue from Gerry Philipsen, Secretary of the Faculty Senate. The meeting took place on March 11, 2008. The outcome of the meeting was to keep the Office of University Committees involved in the process of creating institutional definitions.

Issue 4: Lack of Centrally Located, Available Data

Some data is not collected and some data is collected, but not available centrally.

Examples: Comprehensive appointment history, endowed appointment, information about promotions, and degrees held by faculty members are examples of information that may not have been collected centrally in the past, but will be available in the Academic HR database.

Impact: Deans and Chancellors canít do trend analysis or easily look up a faculty memberís history.

Underlying issue: There is no HR system. The payroll system has been used as an HR system, but it canít meet the needs of an HR system.

Recommendations:

Short-term: NA

Mid-term: The mid-term solution rests with Academic HR. They are making more data available by collecting and storing information in an Academic HR database. Previously, this information was available only in paper form. As part of this mid-term solution, data is being moved to the Enterprise Data Warehouse after it has been validated in the Academic HR database.

Long-term: The long term solution is to collect, store, and report this information from the UW Enterprise Data Warehouse. This issue moves to the Strategic Roadmap.

Issue 5: Current Administrative System Limitations

Mass administrative system changes can have unintended consequences, especially when the relationships among the payroll, budgeting, and financial systems are not well understood. Current systems cannot support business processes that the University must perform as part of its normal operations.

Examples:

  • Mass reappointment and leave changes can impact the data. Mass changes that are made in the payroll system can only be understood by the programmers - changes upon changes and workarounds.

  • The payroll, budget, and financial systems have many relationships and impact each other. They communicate with each other, but only at certain points in the financial processes.

  • Faculty reappointment process which makes nine-month people inactive during the summer.

  • Budgeting system only budgets salary increases for faculty paid with State funds, approximately one-third of the faculty. The payroll system does a mass change for these increases. Salary increases for the other two-thirds of the faculty, who are paid with non-State funds, must be done manually. Then, these changes must translate correctly to the financial system as they are posted a unitís budget.

Impact: The faculty reappointment process creates inactive appointments for faculty who have active appointments. As a result, it is difficult to determine who works at UW in the summer, count faculty, or run reports in the summer.

Because of unknown implications of mass changes and manual processes there is an inability to make changes and plenty of room for errors.

Underlying issues: The underlying issues are deficiencies, incompatibilities and a lack of integration in existing systems and business processes, as well as the lack of an HR system.

Recommendations:

Short-term: Communicate the system and business process deficiencies to the Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group. Find workarounds when possible.

Mid-term: NA

Long-term: This issue moves to the Strategic Roadmap.

Issue 6: Inconsistency in Counting Faculty

Although faculty members may have multiple appointments, it is quite difficult to identify the primary appointment. Academic HR stores primary appointment information, but it is in printed format. The payroll system does not store primary appointment. Schools sometimes are reluctant to designate a primary appointment. The result is that multiple counting occurs.

Examples: Cross-unit faculty (e.g. Global Health, Bioengineering) and faculty with both academic and administrative appointments, faculty with multiple appointments at different ranks, such as Senior Fellow, Acting Assistant Professor.

Impact: Since the payroll system cannot determine a primary appointment, an individual faculty member can be reported multiple times. Relying on home department cannot be used to solve the multiple reporting problems because there is no common definition of home department that is consistently applied.

Underlying issue: Should faculty members be counted once or multiple times? Is there a need to count both ways?

Recommendations:

Short-term: Communicate to the units that primary appointment information will soon be available from Academic HR. Suggest that they use this information for reporting and as a basis for checking and correcting their primary appointment information. Use the Global Health model for determining primary and joint appointments in departments that belong to more than one college or cross-unit entities. In the Global Health model, a professor has a primary appointment in either Global Health/Medicine or Global Health/Public Health and a joint appointment in the other school. For example, if the primary appointment is Global Health/Public Health, the professor has a joint appointment in Global Health/Medicine.

Mid-term: Create and document a set of best practices for designating primary appointment. Communicate the best practices to the units and request that they adopt them. Initially, the units may create exceptions as needed; however, as the mid-term solution transitions to the long-term solution, everyone will need to follow the same set of rules.

Long-term: Develop a consistent method for counting faculty. Options for consideration:

  • Require that each faculty member have a primary appointment.

  • Create a new way to count faculty that also takes into account the implications for funding, student headcount, and enrollment.

  • Count faculty members both ways: headcount and distributed count.

  • Move this issue to the Strategic Roadmap to align the business and system needs.

Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group Decision: In the January 18, 2008 meeting, the Deans’ and Chancellors’ Advisory Group suggested that we solicit input from Provost Wise to determine her view on this subject as it relates to establishing the College of the Environment. The discussion with Provost Wise has not yet occurred.

Please email questions and comments to dmc-support@u.washington.edu