The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, coordinates a committee of 20 faculty members from a variety of academic areas who meet monthly to review Research Professor Nominations, as well as Graduate Programs and Certificates. The committee is called the Executive Advisory Council (EAC). In the past, the Executive Assistant's role was to staff the EAC meetings, receive and review the nomination packets that are submitted (hard copy), make copies of all documentation for faculty attendees and hand deliver the dossiers and program nominations via hard copy to all faculty on the committee. The agenda items for the meetings often required so much discussion between faculty members that, at times, items had to be tabled pending further information or future discussion.
The Executive Assistant and the Vice Chancellor for Research/Dean of the Graduate School discussed how the procedures for submission, review and approval could be streamlined, freeing up the Executive Assistant to complete other, higher level tasks, and giving committee members an opportunity to review and exchange ideas prior to the meeting. Out of this discussion came the EAC Database, an online system whereby departments can review policies and procedures pertinent to their nominations and/or proposals, submit agenda items, and obtain meeting schedules and deadline information. Faculty members are assigned a special secure login, so that each member can go online, review back-up documentation, and enter comments that can be read by other members of the committee. The database also has a back office, managed by the Executive Assistant, which allows for meeting updates, agenda management, and uploads of documentation pertinent to the upcoming meeting. . The database also serves as an archive of approvals, summaries and follow-up letters that can be posted after each meeting.
The public site for the database is located at http://eac.colorado.edu/eac/submit_agenda_item.php .
How Does This Impact the University?
Prior to the development of the database, several reams of paper were used to create the large packets that were delivered to faculty members. The database has reduced expenses for both paper usage and staff support time. Additionally, the database is environmentally friendly as all faculty members can read the back-up documentation on line. Faculty members can now post their reviews and converse prior to the meetings, which reserves meeting time for high level discussion and allows for completion of a vote on each agenda item. Meeting times have been reduced from two hours to one hour! Finally, the database impacted how the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Dean of the Graduate School do business. The EAC database, being the first of its kind, led the way for other databases to be developed. Now the office has a database for the Distinguished Research Lecturer Review, the Beverly Sears Student Grant Contest, and the SEED Grant Proposal Review. All of these reviews were previously handled in a similar fashion as the EAC meetings.
The EAC Database was implemented in the Fall of 2010. I am happy to report that, after three years of use, the database has had no glitches and works like a dream! Although our database manager, Jeff Lewis, is no longer working with this office, the database has become a self-sustaining tool for the Executive Assistant.
Any department interested in seeing how the database works can meet with the Executive Assistant, Lisa Kippur, who is happy to explain and demonstrate its use. It uses a very elementary coding procedure that has saved the office a lot of money and staff time and has allowed faculty members an online opportunity to share great connections with the Council members.